TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time
Posted May 15, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
YOUng woman with red nails making a college list.

Each spring, high school juniors begin the nitty-gritty tasks involved in creating the perfect college application list. And each spring, parents start asking one another: “Where is your son applying to college? Is your daughter staying close to home? What colleges are on her list?” The perfect college list means students are flooded with offers from colleges. The wrong list means disappointment and discouragement. The list should be so strong that every student is confident of being accepted, and parents are confident of strong offers of merit aid. A perfect college application list will be well thought out with colleges ...

Posted May 10, 2018, 3:52 p.m. by Amy Goldin | View Comments
Woman walking several dogs on a leash in a beach town.

Doughnut shop cashier, waitress, ice cream scooper, calligrapher, messenger, carpenter. What do these have in common? They’re all jobs that were held by world-famous performers before they became world famous. Jobs they held to pay for rent, food and life’s other expenses while trying to get the jobs they really wanted. Jobs with hours that gave them the freedom to attend a daily stream of auditions, callbacks, classes and lessons, while waiting to hear those precious words: “You got the part!” Those are probably the words you’re hoping to hear too, preferably over and over again. You’ve trained and auditioned ...

Posted May 10, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Teenage girls acting silly with mustaches and taking a selfie

It’s tempting to just skate through the rest of the year after you’ve submitted your college applications and been accepted to college. But as tempting as it may be, seniors should finish the remainder of the year strong. Finishing strong will help them carry that momentum into college and the first semester of college is critical when establishing a strong GPA. In addition to keeping the momentum going, there are other reasons for seniors to have a focused and strong finish for senior year. Senioritis will strike! It happens to every student. After almost four years of focused academic activity, ...

Posted May 7, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Mortar board on pile of coins meant to pay for college.

As offers of college admission and financial-aid awards arrive, students (and parents) are faced with some difficult decisions. Do you accept an offer from a dream college that you simply can’t afford? Do you convince your student to be reasonable and attend a second- or third-choice college based on the financial aid awards? For many families, these are difficult decisions that can only be made by carefully comparing awards and making the best financial choice. Where do you begin? Gather all the financial-aid award packages and compare them side by side. This may not be so simple since every college ...

Posted May 3, 2018, 8 a.m. by Bill Higgins | View Comments
young woman in blue uniform playing lacrosse on a field

Shining stars are bright and easy to see in a night sky. So, too, are the teenage athletes who excel on fields of play and at elite summer camps. But what about the other players in the game? Maybe you’re not a blue-chip prospect suited for a five-star summer showcase. Maybe you’re trying to improve your skills and display your potential. Or maybe you’re just getting ready to try out for the team. How do you know what kind of summer sports camp to consider? Camps come in all shapes and sizes and for all abilities. Nearly 8 million students ...

Posted May 1, 2018, 8 a.m. by Emily Frisella | View Comments
Young woman in graduation robes holding college diploma on a college or university campus.

As you begin to research colleges and universities and narrow down your list of schools you plan to apply to, you may find yourself considering mostly universities, liberal arts colleges, or a mix of both. Universities and liberal arts colleges can both provide you with an incredible education, but they each offer a different type of undergraduate experience. Universities serve both undergraduate and graduate students, and are made up of multiple colleges, each with its own academic specialty. This means that if you’re applying to a university, you’ll have to designate which college or school you’re applying to. For example, ...

Posted April 26, 2018, 8 a.m. by Barbra Weidlein | View Comments
Male sound engineer working on a sound board as part of his music career.

Although many musicians perform, most don’t rely only on performance to meet their financial and career needs. Making it in classical ensemble or musical theater, as a singer/songwriter, or with a band can be a slow and uneven journey – even when it works! And not every musician wants to perform. So what else can you do with your life if you really want to major in music? Here are some options. 1. Music Technology If you’re passionate about music and consider yourself a computer nerd, music technology may be a good fit. Many music schools offer majors in recording, ...

Posted April 23, 2018, 8 a.m. by Christina June | View Comments
Young women traveling in London on a gap year.

Taking a gap year or semester – time away from straight academics between high school and college – is the norm in many countries but is still rare in the United States. This is certainly the case in the school where I serve as a school counselor. I asked a student why she thought this was true and she gave me two reasons. The first: parents. Many are nervous about their children going out into the world, away from an academic setting for the first time. The second: students’ own fears of missing out. The idea of not starting college ...

Posted April 14, 2018, 8 a.m. by Bill O'Neill | View Comments
Young woman studying outside on a college campus in the summer.

A classroom might seem like the last place you’d want to spend those precious few weeks of summer vacation, but if it’s a college-level classroom, there might be all kinds of benefits. “Taking college courses during the summer can be a great way to start to get a feel for the academic expectations of a college classroom and can enhance the rigor of your high school curriculum,” says Mike Lynch, director of undergraduate admission at Emerson College in Boston who meets lots of high school students at Emerson’s summer programs. “Doing well in a college course can help admission officers ...

Posted April 12, 2018, 8 a.m. by Emily Frisella | View Comments
Young woman writing a college waitlist letter at a laptop computer.

So you’ve been waitlisted—how to write a deferral letter to admissions officers After months of hard work and another few months of waiting, you’ve finally received your college admissions decisions. You’ve celebrated your acceptances, and now you’re weighing your options and deciding which college or university you will attend. But if you’ve been waitlisted or deferred by one of your top choices, you may be feeling confused. You haven’t been accepted or rejected, so what happens next? How do you get off a college waitlist? Remember that a deferral means that the college or university in question believes you are ...

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