TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time

Author: Susan Moeller

Susan Moeller-profile-picture

Susan Moeller is a former newspaper editor and reporter who has directed education coverage as well as written about schools and children. She lives on Cape Cod, has three children and is a veteran of the boarding school and college search process.

Posted June 20, 2017, 2:56 p.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments

Heading off to boarding school is exciting – and nerve-wracking. And having made the commitment, your student now has the entire summer to think – and worry – about it. Understand that high school students are nervous about any new social situation. While you might consider boarding school life a great opportunity and adventure, your student might be imagining a strange new world with its own cliques and secret codes. What can you do to help your student make the transition to boarding school? For starters, make listening a top priority this summer. Don’t patronize or undervalue your student’s concerns. ...

Posted June 1, 2017, 2:01 p.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments

As a parent, you think it’s a great idea for your high school student to apply to boarding school. Your high school student is, well, not so sure. How do you get buy-in from your child to consider boarding school and to take charge of the application process? And once the application process starts, what should a parent’s role be? For starters, entice, don’t cajole. That’s the advice of Ross Blankenship, founder of Top Test Prep and StudyHall.com and a graduate of Northfield Mount Hermon School, a boarding school in Mount Hermon, Mass. He’s also the author of “Admit You,” ...

Posted May 23, 2017, 10:35 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments

Do you like to celebrate the risk-takers, the explorers, the out-of-the-box thinkers? Join TeenLife and other organizations in spreading the word about #gapdecisionday, May 25, 2017, and help to spotlight all the students – maybe yours! – who are taking a gap year between high school and college. If you have a student graduating from high school who’s going on a gap year – or who’s already done it – share on social media with the hashtag #gapdecisionday. Give your student a chance to be recognized just like his or her classmates who are headed straight to college. And in ...

Posted May 16, 2017, 9:31 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments

Would your teen consider an all-boys or all-girls boarding school? If so, you’re part of a trend. Schools are increasingly focused on learning styles, leading parents to ask: Will my daughter or son do better in a single-sex school? A summary of more than 2,000 research studies by the U.S. Department of Education found that the jury may still be out on whether single-sex education is more effective in the long run or how student performance in single-sex schools is also affected by cultural and economic factors. But some studies seem to indicate that gender-specific education can boost test scores ...

Posted May 4, 2017, 3:44 p.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments

You’re a teen who wants to do community service. And you love the outdoors. This summer, why not combine volunteering with being outside in the places you love or want to explore? Organized teen summer programs can connect you with community service all over the world. A Broader View, for example, runs one-week to three-month programs in Asia, Africa and Central and South America. Or, you can contact schools, state and national parks, religious organizations and others to find opportunities on your own. Search on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and other social media for organizations that interest you and watch for ...

Posted March 2, 2017, 3:05 p.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments

Are you thinking of spending part of your precious summer in a summer academic program for teens? If so, congratulations. You’re making an important commitment to your future, especially if you’re looking at summer programs that offer college credit. There are several ways to get college credit over the summer while still in high school. You could take an online course or take a class at the local community college - both of those are convenient and usually affordable options. But neither lets you experience what it’s like to live on a college campus, to be responsible for yourself away ...

Posted Feb. 23, 2017, 11:57 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments

The label “boarding school” implies that all the students live on campus. But that’s not always true. Often schools accept both day and boarding students. It’s up to you – the prospective student – to decide how the ratio of boarders to day students affects the ambience of the school and whether that’s a good fit for you. At schools that offer boarding, the average percentage of boarders is about 70 percent, according to boardingschoolreview.com. But, that can vary widely depending on several factors: whether a boarding school is in a rural or urban area; whether it offers a specialized ...

Posted Jan. 31, 2017, 12:14 p.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments

Let’s be practical. It’s great to be a student interested in science, technology, engineering and math, but where will the jobs be when you’re ready to step into the workforce? The good news, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, is that many STEM occupations are projected to grow faster than the average. The government expects overall STEM employment (excluding health care) to grow about 13 percent between 2012 and 2022. That’s about 2 percent better than the rate overall. Health-care jobs add another big share. As many as 25 percent of all jobs will be in health care by ...

Posted Aug. 3, 2016, 11:09 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments
7 Steps to Finding a Great High School Tutor

It’s no longer a stigma to ask for extra help. Almost 65 percent of students in one Dallas suburban school district used a tutor or received after-school coaching in the classroom, according to a 2011 study reported in D magazine. “Sometimes kids ask for it, sometimes parents,” says Libby Sassano, a private tutor in the Ridgefield, Conn., area, who works with high school students. “Parents know when the grades start to go down or when their kids are really stressed out.” Our experts say a tutor or coach can build the confidence so critical to success, whether it’s in a ...

Posted June 28, 2016, 9 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments
 10 Things I Learned When My Kids Took Gap Years

There are lots of reasons for your child to take a gap year. He’s worn out just from getting into college and needs a break before buckling down again. She needs more maturity to handle independence. He’s struggling with academics and needs to learn to manage time. She wants to find out if she really wants to be a veterinarian. As a parent, I’m a big fan of gap years or semesters before college. Two of my three children took a gap year, for reasons that were both similar and quite different. Both had been in boarding school and really ...

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