I'm mom to a 12th grader who knew what she wanted to do by age 4. All I had to do was help facillitate opportunities like summer programs, enrichment courses, lab research opportunities, etc. Her college apps were written with a major focus on her passion which flowed throughout her applications. She's launched.
Now I need to focus on my 9th grade son, who has not yet identified areas of major interest. I'm unsure how to help him find something for this coming summer. Early on, he was a math, physics and engineering oriented kid. Won Lego competitions, was so interested in taking a CTY engineering course that he did Algebra I on the internet as it was a prerequisite. Was a top scorer on CTY Visual Spatial Ability test. I think though that part of his early math/physics focus was due to his dyslexia - reading was (and still is) a real challenge for him. Neverthless his verbal skills are very high. He has done CTY camps in math and science, a jazz music program several summers (plays trombone but is frankly mediocre) and has gone to Concordia for French for HS credit and to Oxbridge for history and astronomy. He has loved academic camps but is embrassed to admit to his peers what he's spent his summers doing.
For the past few years, he has been most interested in whatever subject has the teacher he likes best- this year it's English and Biology (although generally science and history come out on top). We live overseas but are US citizens, thus an experience abroad is nothing new for him. He is more of an academic type than a jock, but he does sports and has fun with them. He has done some Nike tennis camps. No interest in theatre as a performer but loves to watch plays. No interest in art production but loves to see it in museums. Wants to be fluent in several languages but gets his lowest grades in French (may be dyslexia rearing its head). Is very interested in different cultures and makes friends easily. Is in an IB school, planning to do the full IB Diploma beginning in 11th grade, and is getting all A's so far except for French (B or B+) which may require future summer bolstering to get through IB Diploma exams, but I think not until after 10th or 11th grade. In an IB school, there is no point in accelerating any courses (e.g. racing through math, for example) as the student must do the prescribed program in 11th and 12th grades. School does not offer debate - does offer Model U.N. He does best with a structured summer. The world is wide open geographically as overseas benefits include tickets home or elsewhere for the summer. We do not want him to stay where we are as it gets over 110 degrees and there is nothing for kids to do here in the summer.
I'm totally at a loss. When I ask him what he wants to do, he has no idea. If I could give him a list of ideas, he could identify the ones that intrigue him. He is very ambitious - is the kind of kid who wants to be among top in his class and has asked what what would look good from a college admissions perspective. I've told him what would look good would be if he pursued his interests with passion and committment, but he is more of a respond-to-the- interest of the moment kind of kid so far. Therein lies the challenge!
I apologize this is vague but would be most grateful for any advice!