TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time
Posted March 20, 2014, 11 a.m. by Kristen Licciardi | View Comments
Athletic Recruiting

Getting into college is not as simple as it used to be. To stand out in a field of star students, college applicants are expected to shine in the classroom and beyond. Not surprisingly, athletics are taking a more prominent role on the well-rounded student resume. ESPN’s recent study on youth and competitive sports notes that overall, high schools are expanding athletic opportunities for students. Club teams are proliferating, too, separately from school programs. In certain sports like soccer, teens are increasingly foregoing high school teams altogether to play exclusively for clubs—a development that is impacting high school athletic programs ...

Posted March 20, 2014, 11 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Driven to Distraction

Beyond the popular refrain, “Don’t drink and drive,” parents should include many more appeals to their sons and daughters as they grab the car keys and head out the door—“don’t dial and drive,” “don’t text and drive,” “don’t reach for the phone and drive,” and “don’t eat and drive.” Dialing, texting, and eating put young drivers at risk. According to an article published in the January 2014 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, a novice driver who calls a number on a cell phone while driving increases the risk of an accident by more than 800 percent. Reaching ...

Posted March 19, 2014, 2 p.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Teens Need More Sleep

I was just speaking to a twenty-something graphic designer about setting up a meeting and was taken aback when he replied, “I am not a morning person. Could we meet after 10:30 am?” He readily admitted that he while he has been out of college and graduate school for a few years, he is still on the “work until the wee hours of the night and sleep in late” schedule. No 9:00 to 5:00 corporate schedule for this young business owner. Our conversation segued into how backwards it seems for high school to start before elementary school when younger kids ...

Posted March 19, 2014, 11 a.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
Does Being a College "Legacy" Matter?

In the past several years, higher education researchers have yielded some interesting findings on the advantage held by so-called "legacy" applicants who have familial ties to a given school. If you happen to be interested in attending your parent’s alma mater, you will likely find their work highly encouraging. If not, it’s still important to be aware as you enter the admissions process that not every decision to accept or reject is driven by merit. A few key facts that may surprise you: 1. Applicants to highly selective colleges experience a 45 percentage-point increase in their probability of admission, on ...

Posted March 18, 2014, 4:27 p.m. by Stephen Friedfeld | View Comments
What (Not) to Write About in Your College Essay

The college application essay –- what should you write about? More importantly, what should you not write about? Did you just break up with someone you were dating? Colleges don’t want to know about it. Are you a waiter who spit in a rude customer’s food? There’s no need to tell colleges about that either. Is George Washington the greatest president in your opinion? Please don’t choose this topic. Take a look at the examples above. Why are these potentially bad topics? There’s a risk when you talk about boyfriends and girlfriends in your college essay. Are admissions officers really ...

Posted March 18, 2014, 2 p.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Social Media in College

Colleges are embracing social media: Recognizing it as a marketing tool, a student communication tool, a teaching tool, and even a career path. Colleges and universities recognize that the world is racing toward this type of communication and they are addressing it. Indiana University of Pennsylvania lists on its website nearly 200 links to campus-related social media sites and feeds, including the school's YouTube channel and Foursquare account. There's the Facebook page for the chemistry department, the equestrian team and the honors college, the LinkedIn account for Greek organizations and other groups, as well as Twitter feeds catering to interests ...

Posted March 17, 2014, 3:41 p.m. by Customer Service | View Comments
More Sleep Benefits Teens

Most teenagers equate their high school years with constant exhaustion. This correlation makes sense—teenagers’ intense homework and extracurricular schedule, combined with an 8 a.m. (or earlier) school start time hardly ever results in eight hours of sleep. What if teens could actually be rested when they go to school in the morning? Pushing Back High School Start Times In the last two years, schools in California, Oklahoma, Georgia, and New York have pushed back the start time of high school. More cities and towns are following suit, just as new evidence is coming out, citing the benefits of a later ...

Posted March 17, 2014, 2:16 p.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Help Your Teen Find a Career

When my daughter Emma was eight years old, she participated in her first gymnastics competition. Her maiden event was her floor routine. Like a pro, she saluted to the judges and waited for her music to come on. But when the music started, she stood there like a deer in the headlights. She had forgotten her entire routine. Elementary School: Olympic Gymnast After an inauspicious start, Emma somehow held it together throughout all the following events—beam, vault, and the uneven bars—but as soon as she got in the car, she broke down in tears, gasping and choking out a question ...

Posted March 17, 2014, 11 a.m. by Evan Berkowitz | View Comments
Why I Didn't Take Advanced Placement (AP) Classes

There’s a lot of emphasis today on crafting with expert hands the best possible college application. Increasingly, high school students are under immense pressure to be “better” than their compatriots, at least in the eyes of a college admissions officer. As early as middle school, students, and to a high degree parents, have begun formulating a program of studies that they believe gives themselves or their children the best shot at a competitive school. Today, many families hire college admissions experts to chart the student’s path to the top. Advanced Placement (AP) on College Applications One major component of this ...

Posted March 16, 2014, 11 a.m. by Vicki Ritterband | View Comments
Medical Marijuana and Teens

Like many parents, Lisa Bonaquist talks with her two teenagers about marijuana. When her 16-year-old argues that compared to alcohol, it’s relatively safe, the Saratoga, New York, mother has a simple retort: “It’s illegal and if you get caught, there are consequences.” At least for now. Legalized Marijuana New York may someday follow in the footsteps of 20 states and the District of Columbia, where marijuana is not quite as illegal as it once was. In these places, physicians may now authorize patients to use medical marijuana for certain purposes, like relieving nausea caused by che- motherapy or treating chronic ...

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