TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time
Posted March 8, 2014, 2 p.m. by Kristen Licciardi | View Comments
What You Need to Know About 529 Plans

“How will we EVER afford college?” For most parents, this question can cause overwhelming anxiety as their children reach the teen years. Paying for college can feel like an insurmountable task on par with climbing Mt. Everest. Parents are right to worry: Tuition costs and fees at public universities tripled over the past 30 years when adjusted for inflation, according to the College Board’s annual report on college pricing. As higher education costs take a bigger bite out of our paychecks, families are turning to 529 plans to jump-start their college savings. There are now more than 11 million 529 ...

Posted March 8, 2014, 11 a.m. by Debra Bradley Ruder | View Comments
Teen Depression

George was in middle school when something inside him changed. He was bored in school and had few friends. Sleeping was a challenge. He wished he’d never been born because then he wouldn’t feel so awful. Finally, he spoke up to his parents, and together they realized he might be suffering from depression. They got professional help, and after several months of medication and talk therapy, George began to feel like himself again. “Kids with depression think nobody else goes through it,” says George, now in college. “You feel like nobody knows you. Having [professionals] who understood what I was ...

Posted March 7, 2014, 11 a.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
Advantages of Liberal Arts Colleges

Harvard, Yale, Stanford and other large, prestigious universities contain top-notch student bodies and, for the most part, provide excellent undergraduate educations; but so do places like Macalester, Reed, Bowdoin, and other small, liberal arts institutions. While their names may not inspire as much awe around the dinner table or look as good on a bumper sticker, liberal arts colleges offer several academic and extracurricular advantages that students at larger and more pre-professional schools would be hard-pressed to find. Advantages of Liberal Arts For one, the faculty at liberal arts colleges put undergraduates first. Often without a graduate cohort and less ...

Posted March 6, 2014, 12:57 p.m. by Customer Service | View Comments
The New SAT

The college application process is about to see some dramatic changes. The New SAT This week, the College Board announced plans to refocus and realign the SAT—a test loathed and feared by so many high school students. Possibly as a result of a study released by the National Association for College Admissions Counseling, which proved that strong grades are a better indicator of academic performance than test scores, the College Board will make the SAT more focused around the high school curriculum. The New York Times article published this month, “A New SAT Aims to Realign With Schoolwork,” explains the ...

Posted March 6, 2014, 11 a.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
What You Need to Know Before College

In their quest for acceptance, college applicants often fail to see the bigger picture. They obsess over “getting in,” while ignoring current realities about the value and role of an undergraduate education. These realities should play a central, rather than ancillary, part of the college choice process because, when considered, they can help students circumvent the financial hazards and career dissatisfaction that currently plague so many American adults. Before deciding on a college and course of study, students (and their parents) need to account for the following truths: A college degree, while necessary, is no longer sufficient for entry into ...

Posted March 5, 2014, 4:25 p.m. by Customer Service | View Comments
Sleep Tips for Teens

This week (March 2nd-9th) is Sleep Awareness Week: A public education and awareness campaign backed by the National Sleep Foundation. Sleep is vital to every human life—especially active parents and teens. Although there is no “magic number” of sleeping hours, everybody needs sleep in order to concentrate, be efficient, and excel in school, sports or work. Teenagers need about 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep per night, while adults need approximately 7-9 hours. When is the last time you got the full amount of sleep you need? Chances are, it’s been a long time since you’ve felt completely rested. In the spirit ...

Posted March 5, 2014, 11 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
AP classes

A recent study released by The College Board reported that the number of students taking AP (Advanced Placement) classes has doubled since 2003. However, there are more academically ready students out there who are not participating. Nearly 300,000 students in the Class of 2013 with potential to succeed in AP graduated having never participated in a matched AP course. According to The College Board, “The purpose of these classes and tests is for students to earn college credit while in high school. Advanced placement exams began in the 1950s as a way for students to stand out on their college ...

Posted March 4, 2014, 11 a.m. by Randi Mazzella | View Comments
A Parents' Role in the College Process

My older daughter jokes that she is our parenting “guinea pig”—we test out everything on her. It is true. With the first child, it is always about trial and error. From potty training to college applications, my husband and I do our best, but sometimes we make mistakes and hopefully gain insight that we can use with our other children. As I said in my first post, my older daughter is currently attending a college where she is both happy and successful. So whatever we did “wrong,” it was nothing catastrophic, and in the end it all worked out. We ...

Posted March 4, 2014, 9:23 a.m. by TeenLife Blogger | View Comments
Everything you Need to know about a gap year

What is a gap year? In its most basic form a gap year is a year taken off from traditional schooling between high school graduation and the beginning of freshman year of college. While many parents fear that a gap year or semester will be frowned upon, guidance counselors and school administrators have begun to see the value of a gap year. Taking a gap year is not just a trendy way to delay college, it is instead an incredible opportunity for students to take a year of their life to better themselves before continuing their education. Once a rarity, ...

Posted March 3, 2014, 1:15 p.m. by Robin Adams | View Comments
Why Should I Volunteer?

Do you think of volunteering as just for people with a lot of time and money on their hands? Wrong! Volunteering is for everyone. Not only does it help change the lives of others for the better, there's a lot in it for you as well. The benefits of volunteering -- especially for teens and young people -- go on and on. Volunteer work allows you to: Make lifelong friends Expand your social group to like-minded people outside your school or college Strengthen your resume Give you hands-on work experience Learn new skills Strengthen university applications Become more employable And ...

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