It occured to me that preparing for college is a lot like preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner...
Some years, you're really on top of things - you take advantage of all the sales, buy all the ingredients ahead of time, prepare some of the dishes in advance, set the table the day before, remember to baste the turkey between making the cranberry relish and taking the buns out of the second oven and everything just sort of falls into place.
Other years, you're hosting a slightly bigger crowd so you collaborate a bit - ask your sister to bring the green bean casserole and your mom to make her famous pumpkin pike. Many hands make light work and you even get some help with the dishes afterwards!
And then there are times life happens when you made other plans!
You wake up with that Thursday in November looming over your head and you're completely unprepared to deal with everything that has to happen for that meal to magically appear on your fine china. So you do what every overworked, under appreciated red-blooded American woman does - you make reservations. You pass the pain and suffering onto someone else so everybody - including you - can enjoy the day.
College planning is like planning for Thanksgiving Dinner - every month for four years!
It takes incredible organizational skills and stamina to pull it off. And the experience can differ with each student. Some kids are interested, motivated and easy to coach. Others could care less and you wonder how and when they'll ever make it on their own. Regardless, just like Thanksgiving Dinner, college has a specific timeline and you're going to have to deal with it one way or another.
So take heart and figure out a game plan that can work for you and your college-bound student. Don't be afraid to tap all the resources available to you to get it done. And don't wait... it's happening whether you're ready or not.