TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time
Posted July 21, 2017, 8 a.m. by Bill O'Neill | View Comments
 How High School Students Can Dodge Summer Brain Drain

Toss everything you need into a bag for a summer day at the beach or pool: a towel; some sunblock; and a nice, thick book about American history. Wait, what was that last one? Heavy-duty reading material might not make the top of a high school student’s list for a chill-out day under the sun, but it should. Research shows the importance of keeping the brain engaged during a long vacation – and of course, it might help with college admissions. “There’s 30 years of research on the idea of summer learning loss, tracking it over time. It’s been consistently ...

Posted July 19, 2017, 4 p.m. by Nicolaus Jannasch | View Comments
10 Essentials To Take on A Gap Year (and one not to)

Are you considering a gap year? A little time away from school (for most students, the first time since kindergarten!) is a great opportunity to get outside the United States, meet different people and learn about completely different cultures. You’ll also learn a lot about yourself and have time to think about who you want to become! You can wander the globe during your gap year, join a structured gap year program, take part in a summer program for high school students, or live with a foreign family in a homestay. No matter which course you choose, you will change ...

Posted June 29, 2017, 8 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments
35-summer-programs-teens

Come summer, high school students can develop that hang-out-on-the couch glazed look that says, “All I have to look forward to is a summer job, test prep and summer reading.” It doesn’t have to be that way. There are thousands of summer programs for teenagers, featuring all kinds of activities and subjects, from engineering to dance to community service to overseas travel. These high school summer programs aren’t anything like the old-fashioned idea of “summer school.” Instead, they let students explore a campus, discover a new part of the world, try out a college major or dive deep into a ...

Posted June 27, 2017, 9:53 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
high-school-teen-summer-volunteer

It’s tempting for high school students to spend summer hanging out with friends, sleeping past noon, and attempting to do absolutely nothing. And while it’s true that down time for growing teens is absolutely necessary, too much is neither a healthy option nor the wisest choice if college is in their future. Encouraging high school students to get out and have some worthy, productive summer experiences is super important – for parents and for them – especially for those students hoping to score a scholarship or two. And even if teens are working, attending a teen summer program, or taking ...

Posted June 20, 2017, 2:56 p.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments
adjust-boarding-school

Heading off to boarding school is exciting – and nerve-wracking. And having made the commitment, your student now has the entire summer to think – and worry – about it. Understand that high school students are nervous about any new social situation. While you might consider boarding school life a great opportunity and adventure, your student might be imagining a strange new world with its own cliques and secret codes. What can you do to help your student make the transition to boarding school? For starters, make listening a top priority this summer. Don’t patronize or undervalue your student’s concerns. ...

Posted June 20, 2017, 2:19 p.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
act-act-test-prep

Even as they start to enjoy summer, high school juniors and seniors know they are facing standardized testing in the fall. For seniors, it’s the last chance to get their best scores on the SAT or ACT before college applications are submitted. For juniors, the fall SAT or ACT can be a good indicator of areas that need improvement and require more preparation. Taking advantage of the summer to prepare for these tests makes smart academic sense and teaches students how to get over test anxiety. Standardized test prep doesn’t need to be torturous. Your student will retain more if ...

Posted June 15, 2017, 2:17 p.m. by Mary Grauerholz | View Comments
high-school-college-skills

Although high school students long for the freedom of college, the less-structured environment actually can feel unsettling or, at the worst, out of control. Having a schedule with too much free time is one of the most anxiety-producing parts of college life, says Ben Locke, associate director of the counseling service at Pennsylvania State University and executive director of the Center for Collegiate Mental Health, a research network of more than 280 college counseling centers. High school should be the time to help children learn how to be responsible for themselves and to budget their own time; however, high school ...

Posted June 13, 2017, noon by Nicolaus Jannasch | View Comments
volunteer-overseas

Have you been looking at overseas volunteer opportunities for teens? Many high school students do community service activities in foreign countries because it allows them to see a new part of the world, experience some independence, and help others, all at the same time. Why Do Community Service? For starters, it feels good. Being able to do something that makes a real difference in someone else’s life and the world is incredibly rewarding. Volunteering also gives you a chance to explore an interest, practice your language skills or travel in an area of the world that intrigues you. Taking part ...

Posted June 13, 2017, 9:50 a.m. by Bill O'Neill | View Comments
STEM-environment

For Lowell George, every day is Earth Day. She found a way to merge her interest in science with her love for the outdoors – and turned it into a solid job. She’s among the students who discover that participating in a STEM summer program or majoring in science, technology, engineering or math can lead to a career in sustaining and improving the environment. “My dad would take my sister and me hiking from when I was age 3,” said George, who grew up in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., a small village 30 miles north of New York City. “Later I ...

Posted June 1, 2017, 2:01 p.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments
boarding-high-school

As a parent, you think it’s a great idea for your high school student to apply to boarding school. Your high school student is, well, not so sure. How do you get buy-in from your child to consider boarding school and to take charge of the application process? And once the application process starts, what should a parent’s role be? For starters, entice, don’t cajole. That’s the advice of Ross Blankenship, founder of Top Test Prep and StudyHall.com and a graduate of Northfield Mount Hermon School, a boarding school in Mount Hermon, Mass. He’s also the author of “Admit You,” ...

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