TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time

Author: Suzanne Shaffer

Suzanne Shaffer counsels parents and students in the college admissions process and the importance of early college preparation. Her Parents Countdown to College Coach blog offers timely college tips for parents and students, as well as providing parents with the resources necessary to help their college-bound teens navigate the college maze.

Posted June 20, 2017, 2:19 p.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
act-act-test-prep

Even as they start to enjoy summer, high school juniors and seniors know they are facing standardized testing in the fall. For seniors, it’s the last chance to get their best scores on the SAT or ACT before college applications are submitted. For juniors, the fall SAT or ACT can be a good indicator of areas that need improvement and require more preparation. Taking advantage of the summer to prepare for these tests makes smart academic sense and teaches students how to get over test anxiety. Standardized test prep doesn’t need to be torturous. Your student will retain more if ...

Posted May 30, 2017, 9:12 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
admissions-college-tour

Spring and summer are busy times on college campuses, as high school juniors start taking college tours and admitted high school seniors come for one more look around or college orientation. But college visits are such a crucial part of choosing the right college that colleges welcome these students and look forward to making a positive connection. There is a definite goal and purpose in the college visit: determine if the college is a good fit. But just showing up and walking around campus will not help teens from any worthwhile opinion of the college or the students. For college ...

Posted May 24, 2017, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
summer-program

In today’s competitive college admissions market, it’s critical to stand out. A student’s high school resume should communicate to the college that he or she has taken academics seriously and pursued worthwhile activities outside of class. A resume for a high school student is more than a list of academics and achievements; it should turn admissions heads and move them to offer admission. How can your high school student use summer to boost his or her resume? One way is to enroll in a pre-college summer program at a college or university. These programs provide high school students an opportunity ...

Posted May 11, 2017, 2:47 p.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
college-preparation

Graduation is approaching and seniors are amped up for all the festivities and the celebrations. It goes without saying that students should order their gaps and gowns, invitations and thank you notes. Families will be making plans for graduation parties and picking out graduation gifts. But there are many other tasks seniors should do before and after graduation to prepare for the future and making the transition to college. 1. Send in your deposit and apply for college housing First things first—by now you should have sent in your deposit to your final college choice and applied for dorm housing. ...

Posted May 4, 2017, 12:40 p.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
college-advisor

The college admission process can be overwhelming. Almost every parent needs some form of help. If you’re not a do-it-yourself type who can do the research, or you simply prefer to hire a professional for tasks that are beyond your grasp, you might consider hiring an independent college advisor. Since this could be a substantial investment for your family, you should carefully evaluate these questions before hiring one: 1. Does your high school counselor have the time and the experience? This can be a problem. Some large public schools have a ratio of 1 counselor for every 500 students. This ...

Posted April 21, 2017, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
military-academy

When you think of the military, you think of discipline, honor, and commitment. These are all characteristics that you will embrace if you choose to attend a military boarding school for high school. Contrary to popular belief, military school is not a place where parents send only their troubled, undisciplined children. Nor does attending a military school mean that you have to pursue a career in the military. Military school is a place where students who strive for excellence in academics and in character will thrive. Motivated students who work well in a structured, disciplined environment are a good fit ...

Posted April 20, 2017, 3:56 p.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
summer-programs-get-college

Summer is approaching and the last thing you probably want to hear about is college prep. Summer is supposed to be a time for fun, relaxation and a break from academics. But what if I told you that you can kill two birds with one stone: have fun and improve your college chances? Believe it or not, it’s possible through a variety of teen summer programs and strategies. Study or volunteer abroad If you have a bit of the wanderlust spirit, you can travel, see the world and chalk up some points for your college application. You can simply travel, ...

Posted April 5, 2017, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
financial-aid-college

It’s that time of year. College admissions decisions are arriving and the award letters are either with them or will follow shortly. For most students who have applied to multiple colleges, comparing those award letters are a crucial part of making the final college choice. Unless your parents will be footing the bill for your entire education, those awards will help determine which college will best meet your family’s financial needs. So, first things first. Use this tool from The College Board to compare the awards of up to four schools. You can enter all the information from each college’s ...

Posted March 14, 2017, 3:40 p.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
college-resume

Your high school resume is more than a list of academics and activities. Your resume can show a college that you are not only involved and committed to academics, but you are engaged in life and committed to exploring new opportunities. These are the qualities colleges look for in a well-rounded applicant. The college essay allows you to focus on one topic; the high school resume sums up all you are and helps colleges get an overall picture of how you can contribute to their student population. Here are six ways you can boost your resume and stand out in ...

Posted March 9, 2017, 7 p.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
7 Questions to Ask an Independent College Advisor

The decision to hire an independent college advisor is a difficult one. It’s extra time and money on top of whatever college counseling your student’s school may offer. But some students need the personal attention, whether it’s help organizing their high school resume, polishing a college essay or picking schools that are interesting and appropriate. Once you make the decision to hire an independent college advisor, you should know what questions to ask possible candidates before you start the college admissions process. Here are seven questions to ask before you hire an independent college advisor. Do you provide a preliminary ...

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