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My kids are fortunate to attend a rigorous private high school. ..... We are lucky to have what I assume is good college counseling .... For instance, the counselor mentioned that she wouldn't let a kid apply as a math or science major unless they had done an internship in high school
The only reason she did private HS is because she really, really wanted an all-female HS experience.
You're daughter is only a 9th grader so you have plenty of time to learn and help guide the process. Don't obsess about it too much, IMO, because that can stress out the kids, which we see often here. Right now, the best thing your daughter can do is focus on her academics and develop involvement in extra-curricular activities that interest her and align with any passions she might have. For you, I'd say the homework would be to pinpoint what you can afford and what you may or may not qualify for in terms of need based aid at a range of colleges and universities.
She specifically said, "I would never have let her apply in Physics without an Internship."