The reason that I think this conversation is a valid one here (as it is not in most online communities) is that we are all the parents of the kinds of kids who are inherently "Ivy League Material" in some way by virtue of their HG-ness.

If you start from a position where that is not the case, then there are only two real reactions to this kind of question (meaning, "How do I make my first-grader Harvard material and insure his/her eventual admission?").

1. TigerParenting. These are the parents that never even question whether the goal is reasonable or achievable, nevermind worth doing. They figure that it's merely a matter of figuring out HOW to make it so, and doing whatever is required to see it through.

2. You're insane. Your child is a little kid, and you've got a screw loose to be worried about college planning other than to be saving as much $$ as you can.

I think that this community being what it is, there is a legitimate middle ground that involves neither 1 nor 2, but it is predicated on the fact that any child of a poster here is probably legitimately destined to be competitive at a range of Elite colleges, pretty much regardless of what we as parents do in the interim.

With that said, understand that my remarks have much more to do with questioning the assumptions in response 1 than they do with judging people who opt for a goal-oriented approach. I also question the possible worth of looking more than 4-5 years away in attempting to out-play one's fellow parents at this game. Unless you have limitless resources and the ethical sensibilities of a sociopath, outplaying that particular field probably can't actually be done. Please see Tiger Mother for details. While she was writing tongue-in-cheek, um-- she was still actually DOING all of those nutty things to?/with? her kids. I couldn't bear to prune and snip and mash on my DD's character and interests to the degree necessary. I'm not a human Bonsai master, basically, and I do think that is largely what it takes to go the conventional, low-risk route to a guaranteed Ivy admission.

I also think that choosing your child's college is probably not entirely wise, and even less so when they are not yet in middle school. There is no college which is "perfect" for every student in every field of study, and much of the data needed isn't available until a child is 2-5 years from matriculation.

I don't think that it's a crazy question for parents of young PG kids to be thinking about, though. smile

Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.