TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time
Posted June 12, 2018, 8 a.m. by Shannon Vasconcelos | View Comments
Pile of coins with a miniature graduation cap on top.

College is expensive. Yes, really expensive. Even families who don’t qualify for financial aid can often struggle to pull together the funds to pay a $10,000, $20,000 or $30,000 bill in one fell swoop. Borrowing college loans has, therefore, become much more common, with nearly three-quarters of college students graduating with some type of debt, according to The Federal Reserve. And that’s just students. The amount of debt taken on by parents to finance their children’s college education is much harder to pinpoint, due to the variety of types of financing available to parents, but the numbers are certainly substantial. ...

Posted June 7, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Mother and daughter at college orientation party talking with female professor.

New student orientation is one event at college neither you nor your student should miss. Parents learn valuable information at college orientation and students make much-needed connections with other students. Orientation will help your student ease into college life and help you cope as they make the move from home to independent living. It is an exciting time for the entire family when a child goes off to college. It’s not only a transition from one phase of education to the next, but the beginning of your child’s first years away from home. This also means, in many cases, the ...

Posted June 5, 2018, 11:30 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Teenage barista serving coffee at a cafe.

Summer is approaching and it’s a good time for parents of college-bound students to make the most of the free time. Your student will certainly be busy, especially if this is the summer before senior year. But there are a few things you should make sure to complete dur ing the summer that will help your student progress along the college admissions path. Start preparing your student for independence. Use the summer to teach some basic life skills. It’s never too early to start preparing for independence. College is the first step toward adult independence. Students will have to make ...

Posted May 29, 2018, 10 a.m. by Sarah Good | View Comments
pencils and answer sheets for college admissions tests like the ACT and SAT

It’s time to start thinking about the big college admissions test. So which one will it be: the SAT or the ACT? Let us help you figure it out. What are the differences in the format? Both the ACT and SAT include four multiple-choice sections presented in the same order every time. The SAT includes reading, writing and language, math with a calculator, and math without a calculator. The ACT includes English, math, reading, and science. Both include an optional essay. With essay, the SAT lasts 3 hours and 50 minutes, and the ACT takes 3 hours and 35 minutes. ...

Posted May 29, 2018, 9:33 a.m. by Jason Patel | View Comments
Older woman mentoring younger woman sitting at a computer.

Take a minute to Google a few commencement keynote speakers. In their speeches, they tend to always mention someone who inspired them to greatness. That someone is often a mentor. A mentor can be anyone whom you admire and trust to help you become a better version of yourself, or who can help you understand the intricacies of, say, a particular profession. A mentor is vested in you and making sure you learn or experience what you need to reach your goals. A mentor is a helpmate, a teacher and a champion all rolled into one. A mentor is ideally ...

Posted May 22, 2018, 10:38 a.m. by Sara Nolan | View Comments
Teenager's legs in striped stockings showing amidst a field of flowers in summer.

As a college essay writing coach, I have some counterintuitive college essay writing advice for you: Don’t put a hardcore focus on writing your college essay during the summer. First, do yourself a favor, and have an actual summer – like you see in the movies. Not just an extension of school and school stress: That’s fake summer. Make a list of all the things you associated with summer as a child, and let yourself relive some of them, even being bored. Why? Because reprieve is good for stamina, creativity and focus and you’ll need all of those come fall. ...

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 ...

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