After a lot of experimentation and teen-testing, I found that a creating a LinkedIn profile is the most elegant, efficient, and effective solution for your child to capture and order important milestones throughout their high school career.
You may already have your own LinkedIn account, or likely have heard of the professional networking behemoth. If you don't have an account, maybe now is a good time to create one alongside your child.
My recommendation comes after reviewing the Common Application in detail and noticing the vast similarities between the two formats (the Common Application is the universal, online college application that is accepted by hundreds of colleges).
When I tried this myself, I pulled up www.linkedin.com, and within 15 minutes, I had created a robust profile for an imaginary student that I named -- Chris Prepwell.
To be clear, LinkedIn is not really for kids. It's for adults looking to advance their professional careers. I say, "Who cares?" It's perfect for students.
Entering basic information was simple and intuitive. Uploading media like photos, videos, certificates, poems, documents, etc. was a breeze.
"Chris Prepwell" is a fictional student that I made up. I simply added a bunch of things in the profile to give you an idea of what is possible. If you want to view Chris's full profile, you'll need to have a LinkedIn account. It only takes about 45 seconds to register.
You can see that I entered something for most every category:
This is EXACTLY the information the Common Application asks for. Why not start now so that when crunch-time comes senior year - you're practically done?
What about Privacy?
There are many privacy options. For one, this profile can easily be for your eyes only (or only people that you select). You do NOT have to make any of the information public. You do NOT have to include a photo. You do NOT have to provide an actual name (Chris Prepwell is a fake name). The profile is simply an organizing tool to track your child's progress through high school. I made Chris's profile "public" so it's easier for everyone to view.
If your son or daughter is enrolled in PrepWell Academy for sophomores next month, they can hold off on creating this account. I will help each of them create their own profile during class. It's that important.
Set your child up for success
This is a terrific summer project that will help your child get organized. It's also a very good way to discover "gaps" in a child's experience that they may want to fill.
If you aren't familiar with LinkedIn, it's the world's largest professional networking website. It's essentially the "facebook" for working professionals (here's an example of my LinkedIn profile).
If you found this information helpful, enroll in PrepWell Academy to receive weekly content like this.
Author: PrepWell Academy's Founder, Phil Black, has spent a lifetime cracking the code on the world's most competitive programs: Yale University, Harvard Business School, Navy SEALs, Goldman Sachs, Entrepreneurship, Shark Tank, etc.
Inside PrepWell Academy, Black teaches students everything they need to know about the college admissions process in a series of expertly-timed, 3-5-minute, weekly training videos starting in 9th grade and continuing through 12th grade [Note: this program can only be joined in 9th or 10th grade]. My specialties include military service academies, ROTC scholarships, Ivy League, and student-athletes.