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 Parenting for College 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 Dec. 14, 2019, 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 Dec. 3, 2019, 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 Oct. 16, 2019, 11 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
How Many Colleges Should You Apply To?

Most teens will tell you that making the college list is one of the most stressful times in their life. It’s a process that begins with a little bit of knowing what you like, what your goals are, and that intuition that every student takes to the table. Knowing yourself, your likes, and your dislikes will help you in the process. There’s a theory among teens and many parents, which says, “The more colleges you apply to, the better your chances.” In theory it makes sense, but there are other things to consider besides hedging your bets with numbers. Three ...

Posted Aug. 14, 2019, 7 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
It's August! Check Our College To-Do List for High School Seniors

Getting a head start on applying to college the summer before senior year can make the fall and spring less stressful for parents and high school seniors. High school seniors will need to be prepared for the overwhelming amount of college admissions activities once school begins. Tackling some of those college related tasks now can help ease some of the pressure in the fall. Get ahead of the game and prepare in advance by using this checklist. If you do, parents and seniors should be ready for senior year to begin. 1. Get ready for standardized tests. The fall standardized ...

Posted Aug. 12, 2019, 9:32 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Common App vs. Coalition App: Which to choose?

Over the last few years, several leading colleges and universities decided to offer an alternative to the Common Application and formed the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success. They developed a new application that allows students to start building a college portfolio online as soon as they enter high school. This will be the first year that students can use the Coalition application, although it will be accepted by only about 10 percent of the number of colleges that accept the Common App. The Common App has nearly 700 member colleges, the Coalition App has 93 member colleges but for ...

Posted Aug. 6, 2019, 11 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
10 Community Service Ideas for College-Bound Teens

Every college-bound teen knows that high school community service is a key component of any college application. Admissions officers look for well-rounded students who volunteer in high school. But according to a study by DoSomething.org, a group that connects kids with volunteer projects, students should heed this word of warning: DoSomething.org conducts annual surveys on community service and college admissions. They have found that most admissions officers prefer students to be consistently involved with one issue over a variety of causes. Moreover, social change isn’t something you should do just to put on your application — follow your passion. Seventy-five ...

Posted Aug. 5, 2019, 9 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
The 5 Most Important First-Semester Tasks for Seniors

The first semester of senior year is filled with anticipation. It’s your last year of high school and you have so much to look forward to, such as graduation and college. But in order to reach those goals, you have some high-priority things in the area of college admissions and creating the best college application that you can. 1. Get recommendation letters. There’s no time to waste. Teachers and administrators and other mentors are busy people. With multiple students asking for recommendation letters, you want to be first in line. If you’ve done your homework, you have built relationships and ...

Posted Aug. 1, 2019, 11:41 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Can You Answer These 10 College Interview Questions?

If you’re going to college, expect to be interviewed by a college representative. It’s a vital part of the college admissions process. Why? Colleges want to get to know you: Who you are, what your goals are, and how you will contribute to the student population. They also want to see how you answer questions, how informed you are, and your views on other topics. When my daughter was in the midst of her college search, she was interviewed by a representative of Boston University. Since this was her first choice college, she was nervous. She wanted to make a ...

Posted July 31, 2019, 9 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Pre-med in High School: How to Prepare for a Medical Career

What should high school students know before they commit to majoring in pre-med or search for the best teen pre-med programs? How can you find out if medicine is your true interest? What should you look for in a high-school summer medical program? High school is not too early to start thinking about pre-med. You can prepare academically, explore various careers in medicine and attend a medical or science summer camp program. Not only will these preparations help you decide if a career in medicine is for you, but they will look great on your high school resume and translate ...

Posted July 17, 2019, 10 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
What to Expect at College Orientation

Colleges instituted orientation for incoming students to ease the transition into college. Freshman orientation is a way for students to meet other students, become familiar with campus services, and register for fall classes. Every student attending college in the fall should add orientation to their to-do list this summer. While orientation has been traditionally for students, in the last 10 years, colleges have recognized the fact that parents need help dealing with the transition. To the traditional student orientation, they have added parent orientation. If you have a teen heading to college in the fall, parents should consider attending if ...

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