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 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 March 8, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Why College Scholarships Should be A Top Priority for High School Students

Many parents believe scholarships are a scam. Their high school students work hard, apply and never win anything. They are frustrated, discouraged and feel the promise of scholarships is a pipe-dream. You may have been there yourself, asking the same question: Are scholarships worth the effort? With all the tasks related to college admissions, why devote valuable time to scholarship searching, especially when it appears the odds are stacked against winning? Here’s why: There are thousands of unclaimed scholarships every year. Did you know that there are thousands of dollars of unclaimed scholarship money every year? Why? Because students don’t ...

Posted Feb. 20, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Why Freshmen and Sophomores Should Visit College Campuses

Students and their families usually begin visiting colleges in the spring of junior year of high school. But should families start sooner? What are the benefits of making preliminary college visits during freshman or sophomore years of high school? These are simply informal college visits that include a walk around campus, a visit to the school library, or a stroll through the campus bookstore. It’s easy to fit a brief college tour into your family vacation or spring or winter breaks. You could make a college visit a part of a family vacation. Why, however, should you consider doing this? ...

Posted Jan. 26, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
It's Freshman Year: Check In About These College Admissions Tasks

It’s time for a mid-year checkup. Half of the school year has passed and with a new start in January, students should evaluate their progress. Freshman year begins the process that eventually culminates in admission to college for most students. Knowing this, it’s crucial for your freshman to complete these tasks before the end of the school year. Before the year ends, take a close look at each of these tasks. How is your student doing? Is it time for a conversation? Does your student need a little motivation? 1. Get involved in a school activity. Your student has been ...

Posted Jan. 19, 2018, 11 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
How To Help High School Sophomores Find A Volunteer Project

Sophomore year is half done. Has your high school student chosen a community service project yet? The clock is ticking. Before you know it, senior year will be here, and colleges are looking for students who show a long-term commitment to one volunteer project. There’s no time like the present to lock down a choice. Remember that community service projects are more than just a category on your student’s high school resume. These projects teach high school students to be involved in the community and to care about others. They also can be a way to learn new skills or ...

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. 19, 2017, noon by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
How to Avoid College Stress Over the Winter Holidays

If you have a college-bound senior, you know you are thinking about college over the winter holidays.. You try to shove it to the back of your mind but it’s there, lurking in the distance. Even if your son or daughter has completed their college applications and received early admissions, there is so much more to do. But add to the holiday stress and the entire family could combust. So don’t let the college to-do lists and the looming deadlines spoil your holidays. Here’s how to avoid a major family meltdown over the holidays and ensure that your student completes ...

Posted Dec. 6, 2017, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
5 Mistakes That Could Cost You That College Scholarship

Applying for scholarships requires a commitment of time and a dedication to persevere. It is a job in the truest sense of the word. You will most likely spend hours upon hours applying for scholarships hoping the time will be rewarded with money to pay for college. Spending two hours on an application and winning a $1,000 scholarship is a huge payoff ($500 per hour!). But the payoff won’t come unless you take the time to apply for scholarships or if you make these five scholarship application mistakes. 1. Not following directions. Scholarship judges look for students who know how ...

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 ...

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