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 Nov. 6, 2018, 8 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments
young blonde woman on brooklyn bridge with her arms raised

If you’re looking for a great place for a teen summer program, it’s hard to beat New York City. With its diverse population of 8.6 million people and its dynamic cultural scene, there really is something for everybody. And, many teen summer programs take advantage of their locations in or near the city, using it as another resource or learning site. Others are on campuses within a short commute and either offer field trips or time for students to explore on their own. You can find almost any summer program you can imagine in New York City: STEM (science, technology, ...

Posted June 26, 2018, 8 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments
Male and female volunteers sort donations during food drive

While you’re dreaming of all the things you can do this summer, pencil in one more: community service. Was that a groan? It shouldn’t be. Summer, when you don’t have homework or as many other commitments, is a great time for teens to volunteer, even if it’s just an hour a week. Whether you’re working or going to camp or taking a pre-college summer course, there are ways to squeeze in a few hours to do something for somebody else. Why should you bother? There are several reasons: Community service is good for the community, but it’s also good for ...

Posted April 3, 2018, 8 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments
Young writer working on a laptop and with an notebook.

Even in this age of science and technology, there are high school students who dream of writing The Great American Novel. Or, perhaps they imagine themselves as great essayists in The New Yorker, or starting the hot new blog, or cranking out a screenplay, or blowing the lid off city government with an investigative journalism piece. Whatever their aspirations, it’s important for high school students interested in writing to practice their craft with the best writers and mentors. One way to do that is by attending a pre-college summer program that focuses on creative writing. While these writing programs are ...

Posted Nov. 27, 2017, 8 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments
How to Take a Gap Year and Help Save the Environment

If you’re a high school student thinking about a gap year before college, you may want to spend some of that time saving the environment. Or, at least some small corner of it. A gap year is time in between high school and college that’s for seeing the world outside of academics. That could be the world thousands of miles from your home, or around the block. The important thing is to use the time – usually a year or semester – to discover, explore and focus. A gap year program can include working, travel, interning – almost any activity ...

Posted Oct. 17, 2017, 8 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments
These Game Design Summer Programs Help High School Students

Sometimes, video games can be good for high school students. Playing games on a computer, tablet or smartphone can strengthen a range of cognitive skills such as spatial navigation, reasoning, memory, problem-solving and perception, according to several studies reviewed by the American Psychological Association in 2013. And, gaming might be an excuse for your high school student to get interested in a STEM program. Game development requires a knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math, as well as fine-art skills such as graphic design and 3D animation. And, game design and development is a great way for students to learn ...

Posted Aug. 10, 2017, 8 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments
Learn the 6 Super Skills of the Best High School Interns

Congratulations: You’ve landed a an internship, and you’re ready to explore the real world. But landing a gap year or high school internship is just the beginning. You want to work hard and work smart so that you’ll leave this position with great habits, great contacts and great recommendations. You want to demonstrate that you’re ready and able to learn new skills and responsibilities – and we’re not talking about the location of the nearest Starbucks so you can pick up the coffee order. I mentored dozens of high school and college interns over a 40-year career in journalism, and ...

Posted July 25, 2017, 5 p.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments
The Most Important Questions to Ask About a Private School

It’s a big decision to send a high school student to private school. As a parent, you’ll have plenty of questions, not the least of which is how to pay for it. But even if money is no object, there are important questions to ask about a school, whether you are considering a private day school or a boarding school. You’re sure to think of the obvious ones: college acceptance rates; grading policies; sports rankings; AP classes. But to get to the heart of school culture, you’ll have to go deeper and consider the harder issues of high school, such ...

Posted June 29, 2017, 8 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments

Come summer, high school students can develop that hang-out-on-the couch glazed look that says, “All I have to look forward to is a summer job, test prep and summer reading.” It doesn’t have to be that way. There are thousands of summer programs for teenagers, featuring all kinds of activities and subjects, from engineering to dance to community service to overseas travel. These high school summer programs aren’t anything like the old-fashioned idea of “summer school.” Instead, they let students explore a campus, discover a new part of the world, try out a college major or dive deep into a ...

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,” ...

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