Our experience was similar to polarbear's. Kid #1 was a NMF, applied to 9 schools, six in the highly selective category, was tapped by her high school to apply for additional scholarships, etc. That coupled with IB made her senior year incredibly stressful. She did not apply for the US Presidential because she was done at that point. Yes, she did get a six figure scholarship to a school that she really wanted but even she now says that she took on way too much.

Kid #2 is now a senior. After watching her sister, she only applied to four schools, none required an essay beyond the one on the common app and none were in the highly selective category. She got into all four schools and received scholarships at all of them. The one school that has tuition comparable to her sister's school gave #2 more money than what her sister got.

If your son is burned out on the college app/scholarship process, I would listen to him and let him take a pass on this one.