TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time
Posted Feb. 24, 2014, 11 a.m. by Karl Haigler | View Comments
Gap Year Advantage

Taking a gap year is a growing trend in the United States. Although there is no formal data on how many young people are taking a structured break before or during college, the rising number of gap year programs, gap year fairs, and college deferrals point to more students choosing the road less traveled. Download As gap year parents, researchers, and authors, we have spoken with hundreds of parents, students, college counselors, and other stakeholders about gap year experiences. The overwhelming consensus is that the impact is transformational in the most positive way. To explore this growing trend in greater ...

Posted Feb. 23, 2014, 11 a.m. by Sladen West | View Comments
R U Txting n Driving?

Phones are amazing devices these days. They can do just about anything we want them to—a mini computer that we can bring wherever we go. They are convenient and clever, and it is tempting to use them when we are on the go. However, texting and driving is stupid and dangerous and places the lives of both you and those around you in danger. And yet it still seems to be a problem that is endemic to the United States, as though no amount of campaigning or pleading will put a stop to it. The Stats At least nine people ...

Posted Feb. 22, 2014, 11 a.m. by Evan Berkowitz | View Comments
Applied Knowledge Part Six: The College Essay

When we last left off, I went over the procedure for requesting a Letter of Recommendation from a teacher. Now it's time for the part that everyone seems to dread: the college essay. Download The College Essay For someone like me, who writes often and has experience with word limits, the mechanics of the essay are not so difficult. But if you are having trouble with the nitty-gritty aspects of writing, here are a few tips: Brush up on grammar and usage. I humbly suggest William Strunk, Jr., and E.B. White's immortal classic of the written word The Elements of ...

Posted Feb. 21, 2014, 1:03 p.m. by Evan Berkowitz | View Comments
Thoughts on the "Empty Nest"

A bird is termed "nidifiguous" if its offspring leave the nest shortly after hatching. While human teenagers are by no means so quick to depart, you wouldn't guess so from watching! With birds, it's so graceful; the mother gives the chick a firm push and out it flies into the world, a free bird. With us, it's not so pretty. After eighteen years (or sometimes even longer), we are driven to a college campus for the last great family road trip between recounted memories, sappy songs on the radio, and nostalgia. We unpack, sometimes with fanfare, sometimes without, and there ...

Posted Feb. 21, 2014, 11:20 a.m. by Evan Berkowitz | View Comments
Applied Knowledge Part Five: The Application!

The application itself appears at first to be one of the most daunting parts of the college application process, but with a little hard work and a great deal of planning, it can be very easy. First of all, it's important to compile a list of the various requirements colleges have, including: Does the school use the Common Application (commonapp.org)? If not, where can you access the school's application? If a school is on the CommonApp, does it have a supplement, and what is the prompt? If it's not on the CommonApp, what are its essay questions? Are there any ...

Posted Feb. 20, 2014, 11 a.m. by Customer Service | View Comments
Snow Day Activities

Snow: you either hate it or love it. In New England, it’s hard to hate the snow. Hating snow in New England is like working at a coffee shop and hating coffee; or voluntarily going to the mall when you hate shopping. Snow is simply equated with winter here—something you have to get used to and something you’ll never escape (unless you move out west or down south. In that case, be sure to avoid Atlanta). This winter has been particularly snowy, with countless hits from polar vortexes and arctic blasts. The snow has almost become an inside joke here ...

Posted Feb. 19, 2014, 3:46 p.m. by Amy Cody | View Comments
Parents and Teens Talking About Sex

Teenagers and their parents should always communicate with one another about sexuality. Sexuality isn’t just about sex - it is also about healthy relationships, body image, reproduction, gender, sexual orientation, sexual behavior, and preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. There are so many opportunities to talk! Parents and Teens and Sex A recent survey conducted by Planned Parenthood Federation of America revealed that while parents feel comfortable talking to their teens about topics related to sex, teens aren’t so comfortable with the conversation. At Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM), we want to help parents AND teens! We know that ...

Posted Feb. 19, 2014, 11 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
10 Tips When Revisiting Your College Choices

After receiving offers of admission from multiple colleges, students and parents wonder how they will choose. If you’re uncertain, and even if you’re not, the best thing you can do is revisit the colleges on your list of acceptances. Since college is a major purchase and a 4-year commitment, it makes sense to go to the respective campuses one last time before making your final decision. Why revisit a college? Now that you are accepted into a particular college, you can think more realistically about about your future life there. You want to be able to picture yourself on campus—in ...

Posted Feb. 18, 2014, 2 p.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
College Admission Mythbusters (Part 2)

I got a letter from the Dean! I’m in! For a high school student, there is something undeniably exciting about being the recipient of an unsolicited brochure from a prestigious university, or even better yet, a personalized letter from the Dean of Admissions practically begging you to apply. Unfortunately, this material usually has about as much value as the L.L. Bean catalog that arrived in the same stack of mail. It’s no great secret that in the age of U.S. News rankings, colleges are engaged in a never-ending battle to reject more applicants every year as evidence of their selectivity. ...

Posted Feb. 18, 2014, 1:41 p.m. by Evan Berkowitz | View Comments
This Is Your Life: Planning Your Future

Hello again. For this installment of Applied Knowledge, I’m going to step briefly away from getting into college and write about something even more important (and there are more important things out there!). What should you and I do once we get there? Planning Your Future While I do not know your area of interest, I know that mine is unequivocally written journalism, and in the following words I’ll speak about how I arrived at that choice, a choice which will inevitably have a huge effect on the rest of my life. I began showing interest in the field early, ...

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