TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time
Posted April 5, 2019, 8 a.m. by Karin Klein | View Comments
Data Choosing College

It’s a bewildering place, the world of college admissions. Students don’t know where to apply, or they pin their hopes on one or two “reach” schools that stand a good chance of letting them down. Whether it’s a yearning for a big-name university or a search for the school that will be “the right fit,” the decisions of which colleges to apply to and attend feel like the lynchpin that will determine whether these students are headed toward a happy future or a miserable life. This phase of life would be far simpler and more relaxed if applicants and their ...

Posted Aug. 7, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Diverse group of college students with laptops.

Did you know there are more than 4,000 four-year colleges and universities in the United States? That can make choosing a college overwhelming. But there is a college to fit your dreams – and finding it starts with the right list of schools where you plan to apply. Your college list is the basis for every decision regarding college. Without a good list, it’s impossible to make a clearly logical and well-informed college choice. You should begin your college list during your junior year of high school. By the beginning of your senior year, you should have a final list ...

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 April 5, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
High School Students Touring a College Campus

College visits are a crucial part of every high school student’s college choice process. These visits provide students with valuable information about each of the colleges that will be on their application lists. But before you visit, here are five things to know about visiting college campuses: 1. The answers to the right questions can heavily influence a student’s decision. A college visit is a fact-gathering mission. Students often ask questions during the college tour but the right questions can heavily influence a student’s decision. These questions won’t always be covered on the tour and many colleges might be hesitant ...

Posted March 20, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Woman shh-ing to keep one of the 5 secrets colleges don't want you to know.

The college application process is overwhelming for most parents and students. There is so much information to gather and decipher, along with decisions to make and options to consider. As you delve deeper into the college prep, it seems colleges have the upper hand. They set the price, make the decision to accept or reject your student, and ultimately make or break your student’s future. But as you become more knowledgeable about the process and start doing your research, you will find that ultimately you and your student are in control. Together you choose the college, decide what you will ...

Posted Jan. 20, 2018, 8 a.m. by Stephen Gray Wallace | View Comments
What Every Parent Needs to Know About Addiction

Our children are at risk. And as rates of addiction soar for old and young, it’s essential that parents educate themselves about youth substance abuse. One 24-year-old college graduate told me, “I grew up in the suburban town of New Canaan, Conn., boasting some of the ‘best’ public schools in the country, high standardized-test scores and a near-perfect graduation rate. “I personally know five people who have passed away from heroin addictions. To make it through high school with friends, we basically had to take on a drug addiction of some sort, whether it was eating pills, getting wasted drunk, ...

Posted Oct. 3, 2017, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
8 College Stats to Help You Pick the Right School

Parents know that applying to college is an emotional decision. Students use all sorts of factors to determine which college they will attend: the name, food, sports teams, campus appeal, where their friend/boyfriend/girlfriend is going, etc. While these factors may or may not factor into your student’s college choice, students should certainly consider some other important factors and numbers. Two good sources for college statistics are College Navigator and College Data. These two resources will help you make an informed college choice. Numbers aren’t everything, but consider these eight important stats when you and your student are looking at schools: ...

Posted Nov. 10, 2016, 9 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Comparing the Different Types of College Applications

Not only can choosing a college be confusing and overwhelming, once you finalize your college choices you have another decision to make: Which college application should you use? In the past, each college had its own application. Students had to complete an application for every college they applied to. It was a tedious task and often discouraged students from submitting multiple applications. Now, students can take advantage of various online applications. But does it matter which application you submit? How do you know which application is the best one for the colleges you apply to? Each of these application choices ...

Posted June 23, 2016, 9:40 a.m. by Amy Anthony | View Comments
College or Gap? Now You Can Do Both Right Out of High School

Unsure whether to head straight to college or take a gap year off? You can do both at the same time with gap year options run by colleges. Several universities and colleges now offer programs that allow incoming freshmen to defer their enrollment for a semester or an academic year while they get the valuable life experience that a break from pure academics offers. It might be the answer to what to do during a gap year? While college-based gap programs vary in focus and in scope – some offer volunteer experiences while others?provide?internships?–?participating students develop a pre-college community of ...

Posted May 3, 2016, 10:45 a.m. by Marie Schwartz | View Comments
Why Malia Obama’s Gap Year will Make a Big Difference

Why Malia Obama's Gap Year will make a Big Difference Dear Malia: It’s great that you’re going to Harvard but hearty congratulations on a more important long-term choice: your decision to take a gap year. While Harvard encourages freshmen to take a year off after high school, it’s not easy for most seniors to buck the typical American pattern of going straight to college. Gaps may be popular in the United Kingdom and other places but here in the United States we have yet to make it realistic for the vast majority of students. Your decision encourages us to talk ...

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