TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time
Posted Aug. 14, 2019, 7 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
It's August! Check Our College To-Do List for High School Seniors

Getting a head start on applying to college the summer before senior year can make the fall and spring less stressful for parents and high school seniors. High school seniors will need to be prepared for the overwhelming amount of college admissions activities once school begins. Tackling some of those college related tasks now can help ease some of the pressure in the fall. Get ahead of the game and prepare in advance by using this checklist. If you do, parents and seniors should be ready for senior year to begin. 1. Get ready for standardized tests. The fall standardized ...

Posted Aug. 12, 2019, 9:32 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Common App vs. Coalition App: Which to choose?

Over the last few years, several leading colleges and universities decided to offer an alternative to the Common Application and formed the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success. They developed a new application that allows students to start building a college portfolio online as soon as they enter high school. This will be the first year that students can use the Coalition application, although it will be accepted by only about 10 percent of the number of colleges that accept the Common App. The Common App has nearly 700 member colleges, the Coalition App has 93 member colleges but for ...

Posted Oct. 9, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Computer keyboard with Apply Now button

To help you and your student prepare for this season of college applications, it’s important to understand any changes in the application requirements and formats. There are four college applications currently available to students: The Common Application, The Coalition Application, the Universal Application, and college-specific applications. Each year, the applications offer changes and upgrades to the previous year, and the 2018-19 application season is no different. Following are some changes to note for this year’s applications. The Common Application The 2018-19 Common App launched on August 1. This is the most widely used application by prospective college students because you ...

Posted July 25, 2018, 8 a.m. by Sara Nolan | View Comments
Woman's hand holding ballpoint pen and writing in notebook.

Here’s the deal: When it comes time to write your Common Application college personal essay, it’s not really about the prompt. It's what you do with it, and how deep you go. Each prompt is a doorway into a story you want to tell, something distinctive you want to share You have to know a few things to pull this off: What the genre of personal essay requires of you generally (general purpose of the essay); what each Common Application prompt is asking for (decoding the question); what possible responses are available to you (your life experiences and what you’ve ...

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 Jan. 3, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Increase Your College Chances With this Admissions Secret

Many college experts offer advice on how to get into college. They recommend stellar standardized test scores, a killer college essay, a high GPA, and strong extracurriculars. While all those application components are important, did you know that there another way for students to increase their admission chances by 40 percent! Data from the National Association for College Admission Counseling show there is a powerful tool students can use to improve their admission chances: demonstrated interest. Students who visit a college before they apply, are up to 40 percent more likely to be admitted than students who do not visit ...

Posted Dec. 5, 2017, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
This List of 10 Priorities Eases College Admissions Stress

It’s easy to become overwhelmed with college applications during high school. With test prep, college visits, college applications and financial aid, students and parents often wonder how to prioritize tasks and which should be at the top of the list. Here’s a list of college application priorities from one to 10, starting with the most important: 1. Get organized and stay focused. Stay on top of paperwork, information and important deadlines. Create a college landing zone for all college-related information and start a filing system for the important paperwork. Use a large wall calendar or calendar app to stay on ...

Posted Nov. 16, 2017, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
10 Tips to Help High School Students Ace the Common App

Most high school seniors use the Common Application to apply to colleges. Since over 600 schools now use this application, students can apply to multiple schools with one application. That doesn’t mean your student should “phone it in,” however. Taking the Common App seriously is the first step in completing an application that will help you stand out and receive an offer of admission. Here are 10 tips that will help high school students ace the Common App this year: 1. Start early and familiarize yourself with the application. Students can now access the Common App site, log in and ...

Posted Sept. 21, 2017, 1 p.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
What You Need To Know About the Common Application This Year

It looks like the widely used Common Application has taken some cues from the new Coalition Application. The new changes to the 2017-18 Common App for colleges mirror features found in the Coalition App. Competition often creates innovation and the Common App has some much-needed updates. The Common App changes this year will benefit high school students and make the application more user friendly. While these changes will be welcomed by students, it’s too early to tell whether or not they will bring with them glitches in the application system. Here are some possible complications that could arise as high ...

Posted Sept. 7, 2017, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Share This College To-Do List With Your High School Junior

The minute college-bound students begin their junior year of high school, they should hit the ground running. Junior year is the all-important year for college admissions. It’s when students begin to get serious about college choice, concentrate on test prep, do their best with academics, start working on college essays and intensify the scholarship search. It might seem overwhelming, but starting early and chipping away at tasks bit by bit can make a big difference this year and next. Here’s a to-do list to talk over with your student. And while you’re talking, agree on what your role as a ...

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