TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time
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 ...

Posted April 5, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
High School Students Touring a College Campus

College visits are a crucial part of every high school student’s college choice process. These visits provide students with valuable information about each of the colleges that will be on their application lists. But before you visit, here are five things to know about visiting college campuses: 1. The answers to the right questions can heavily influence a student’s decision. A college visit is a fact-gathering mission. Students often ask questions during the college tour but the right questions can heavily influence a student’s decision. These questions won’t always be covered on the tour and many colleges might be hesitant ...

Posted April 3, 2018, 8 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments
Young writer working on a laptop and with an notebook.

Even in this age of science and technology, there are high school students who dream of writing The Great American Novel. Or, perhaps they imagine themselves as great essayists in The New Yorker, or starting the hot new blog, or cranking out a screenplay, or blowing the lid off city government with an investigative journalism piece. Whatever their aspirations, it’s important for high school students interested in writing to practice their craft with the best writers and mentors. One way to do that is by attending a pre-college summer program that focuses on creative writing. While these writing programs are ...

Posted March 24, 2018, 8 a.m. by Stephen Gray Wallace | View Comments
Teenagers sitting around a campfire at camp.

Theodore Roosevelt reportedly said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” While Teddy was likely speaking of deciding issues far weightier than what to do with high school students during the summer months, with the advent of spring, it’s a topic of discussion around more than a few family dinner tables. My answer? The best thing to do is send high school students to summer camp! While there are many reasons, I will focus on ...

Posted March 20, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Woman shh-ing to keep one of the 5 secrets colleges don't want you to know.

The college application process is overwhelming for most parents and students. There is so much information to gather and decipher, along with decisions to make and options to consider. As you delve deeper into the college prep, it seems colleges have the upper hand. They set the price, make the decision to accept or reject your student, and ultimately make or break your student’s future. But as you become more knowledgeable about the process and start doing your research, you will find that ultimately you and your student are in control. Together you choose the college, decide what you will ...

Posted March 16, 2018, 8 a.m. by TeenLife | View Comments
Olivia Collymore participated in a summer writing class through Wellesley College’s Pre-College Exploratory Workshop.

Olivia Collymore participated in a summer writing class through Wellesley College’s Pre-College Exploratory Workshop. Though I did not know much about Wellesley College, it was a college that I associated with producing women who were strong and independent. When I read about Wellesley's Pre-College Exploratory Workshops, I jumped on the chance, as a high-school senior, to explore life on the campus. Upon arrival, I immediately noticed the amazing architecture around the buildings. The way the concrete sculptures fell on the building gave the campus an overwhelming feeling of elegance. By the time I was moved into my dorm room it ...

Posted March 14, 2018, 8 a.m. by Marie Schwartz | View Comments
Group of teens in matching shirts participating in summer program

What is it about summer that invites experimentation and risk among high school students? Is it the freedom? The long days (and warm nights)? The bouts of boredom? The prospect of that haunting question in the fall, “What did you do this summer?” Some of you will have a job or internship that helps you pay the bills and/or acquire valuable employment skills. Others will be practicing at getting better at a sport. What if this summer you channeled some of your energy into an experience that led to new interests, new friends, new places and new chances to discover ...

Posted March 13, 2018, 8 a.m. by Andrew Potter | View Comments
Students give a thumbs up to career exploration summer programs.

If you have been paying attention, you may have heard that sometime down the road, a robot is going to take your job. If you believe some of the rhetoric, sometime in the future most of us will wander aimlessly across a barren planet in search of work only to realize that the “Terminator” movies were actually documentaries sent back from the future. While the next 20 years will be defined by disruption on a historic scale that will redefine the world of work, it will also create a period of incredible opportunity for students who can innovate, think critically, ...

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