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 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 ...

Posted Feb. 21, 2017, 3:50 p.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
stem-animals

Are you interested in pursuing a STEM program to work with animals? The animal-related careers in science, technology, engineering or math are as vast as the animal kingdom itself. Jobs requiring STEM skills vary depending on the type of animals and the working environment so it’s important to think about where you want to be and what you want to do. Before you pursue a college STEM program, you should be able to answer these questions: What kind of animals do you want to work with (domestic pets, livestock, birds, ocean animals)? What interests you the most (teaching, conservation, medicine, ...

Posted Feb. 9, 2017, 2:28 p.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
private-school

When my children were young, it never occurred to me to consider private school. I was a public-school kid of the 1960s. None of my friends went to private school. All the middle-class, average kids I knew walked to school every morning to the closest neighborhood school. It was that simple. My parents never considered the private school option. But times changed. The public schools changed. A generation later, the choice of schools was more complicated. Parents were considering other options as my children reached school age. The public schools became more crowded. Teachers became overwhelmed with responsibilities that added ...

Posted Feb. 2, 2017, 4:42 p.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
ssat for boarding

Whether you are thinking of applying to a private school in Los Angeles or a boarding school in Massachusetts, the odds are you will be required to take the SSAT - the Secondary School Admissions Test. It is used for admission to private schools and boarding schools, from elementary through high school, to assess applicants’ verbal, math and reading skills. What do you need to know about the SSAT? Here are the answers to some FAQs: 1. How often is the SSAT given? The SSAT is given once a month from October to April and once in June. It lasts ...

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