TeenLife Blog Supporting teen success, one post at a time
Posted March 27, 2015, 8 a.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
The Gap Year: Things to Consider

Back in the 80s, parents’ worst nightmare was that their flaky Gen-X teens would defer entry into college, stating that they first needed to “find themselves.” After a year of goat herding in the Himalayas, being one with nature, and going on nightly vision quests, the best some parents could hope for is that their sons and daughters would eventually return, ready to hit the books, embrace Alex P. Keatonesque values, and eventually end up as Wall Street wolves. While absurd, this introduction offers a kernel of truth – In the absence of proper nomenclature, a desire to step off ...

Posted March 26, 2015, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
The Truth About College Rejection Letters

Those awful college rejections—a student’s worst nightmare. And yet, are they truly that awful? Is there any way to spin them into a positive? Parents and students have dealt with all types of rejection throughout the school years; but there is none greater than the disappointment of losing your dream of attending your dream college because you are rejected. The truth is, rejection letters aren’t what they seem to be; even though it may feel like it at the time, In the grand scheme of things, do those rejections matter much at all? Sometimes when faced with disappointment, it helps ...

Posted March 25, 2015, 9 a.m. by Randi Mazzella | View Comments
Keeping Teens Safe on College Visits

Overnight visits are one of the best ways for teens to determine whether a college is the right fit for them. Many teens participate in school sanctioned overnight visits with current students, offered by the college admissions office. Others may choose to stay with friends, siblings, or old classmates that currently attend the school they are thinking about applying to. But while there are many positives about high school students staying overnight at a college, there also may be risks. Research from the Center for Adolescent Research and Education (CARE) and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) show that more than ...

Posted March 24, 2015, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Should You Accept an Offer Without Visiting the College?

Spring is here (maybe not if you live in the Northeast) and it’s time for juniors to start visiting colleges. It’s also time for seniors to revisit the colleges that have offered them admission. Most experts believe the college visit is crucial to making an informed college decision. Based on my personal experience with both my children, I would have to agree. Why is the college visit important? As a parent of two kids who attended college, I learned a very valuable lesson: never pick a college sight unseen. The rules that apply to any major purchase are even more ...

Posted March 23, 2015, 9 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
What Are Need-Blind Colleges and Do They Really Exist?

In today’s highly competitive college admissions market, colleges and students are looking for ways to manipulate the odds. For some students, financial aid is a necessity if they are to attend college. For other students, financial aid is not a consideration. As you can imagine, those students are looked at in a different light than those who need financial assistance. In order to understand why these two groups of applicants are reviewed differently, you should understand the definition of a need-blind college. What does it mean when a college claims to be need-blind? Need-blind admissions is the concept that colleges ...

Posted March 20, 2015, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Top 10 Activities for Spring Break

Spring break is upon us, even though the weather isn’t looking much like spring. Instead of spending it lounging on the couch, why not be productive? If you have college aspirations, you should use your time off wisely. Juniors especially can’t afford to waste precious time with senior year on the horizon and so many tasks to complete. Here are my top 10 activities for spring break: 1. Search for scholarships No matter what grade you are in, spending time on scholarship searches should be your top priority during spring break. Set aside just a few hours every day to ...

Posted March 19, 2015, 9 a.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
The Life-Altering Impact of Student Loan Debt

Particular adjectives frequently accompany sound bites and headlines on the topic of student loan debt—“crippling,” “burdensome,” and “overwhelming,” just to name a few. Student loan debt is a “crisis,” people are drowning in it, and it is seen as a threat to the economy at large. It is hard not to come away with an appropriate level of concern regarding student loan debt, yet, in admissions cycle after admissions cycle, swarms of college applicants continue to make decisions that set themselves up to be just as financially crippled, burdened, and overwhelmed in adulthood as the headlines forewarned. The first question ...

Posted March 18, 2015, 8 a.m. by Randi Mazzella | View Comments
EXCLUSIVE: Our Interview with New York Times Columnist Frank Bruni (Part Two)

Frank Bruni, Op-Ed Columnist for the New York Times, has written a book titled, Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania. He took some time to share his insights and some highlights from the book with TeenLife. In Part I of our interview, Mr. Bruni discussed the application process. In Part II of our interview, Mr. Bruni discusses college admission decisions and succeeding at whatever college a teen ultimately chooses to attend. RM: In Part I of our interview, you briefly spoke about how Ivy League admissions can be fickle. But many ...

Posted March 17, 2015, 8 a.m. by Randi Mazzella | View Comments
EXCLUSIVE: Our Interview with New York Times Columnist Frank Bruni (Part One)

Spring is here and along with warmer weather, the season brings college decisions. Finding out whether teens have been accepted or rejected can be filled with a range of emotions for teens and for their parents. In hopes of helping teens and their parents remain calm and rational during this stressful time, Frank Bruni, Op-Ed Columnist for the New York Times who writes frequently about higher education, has written a new book titled, Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania. He took some time to share his insights and some highlights from ...

Posted March 16, 2015, 9 a.m. by Tracy Morgan | View Comments
Why Your Teen Might Not Want to Talk to You

One of the hardest aspects of having teenagers is their unwillingness to communicate, or share their thoughts and emotions. Feeling that we are out of the loop, or not privy to vital information, drives most of us parents nuts, but perhaps we need to take a step back and understand why our teens just don’t want to talk to us. They Are Becoming Independent of Us As parents, we don’t like this one bit. Many of us feel bereft when our once chatty child no longer wants to talk to us. However, it is normal for teens to want to ...

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