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 July 2, 2014, 10 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Colleges That Change Lives

Student debt is continuing to rise; and graduates are finding it harder and harder to find jobs after graduation. The job market is flooded with graduates who have degrees that aren’t employable in their specific field. We’ve all heard stories about students who graduate with a Bachelor’s degree and end up working at hourly jobs to pay their student loans back. But when a student attends college, is his final goal only about employment after graduation? Or should he be getting more from the experience? Are colleges recognizing this growing problem and doing something to remedy the situation? What about ...

Posted July 1, 2014, 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 ...

Posted June 27, 2014, 4:11 p.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
How to Cope with Graduation Anxiety

High school graduation day is supposed to be one of the best days in your life. But the unsettling truth is it can be a time of great anxiety—for both students and parents. Even though this is a milestone, a combination of both positive and negative emotions can turn this happy time into one filled with stress. It’s hard to imagine that this time for celebration also produces feelings of fear, frustration, sadness and separation. But it does. Why is there such anxiety around this time of celebration and accomplishment? Graduation Anxiety for the Students Of course students are happy ...

Posted June 24, 2014, 10 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Video Essays for College Applications

In this multimedia age that we live in, it should come as no surprise that many colleges are now accepting video essays. With the mountain of applications colleges receive, the challenge is for students to find a way to stand out. For years, video essays have been a common part of applications to art and design schools. It’s only recently that 4-year colleges and universities have begun to accept them as part of the application. Download What is a video essay? A video essay is a dynamic new way to make your application gleam.It’s a chance to deliver a message ...

Posted June 19, 2014, 10 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Valedictorians: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

High schools have traditionally awarded the highest GPA in the senior population the honor of valedictorian. But recently, this practice has come under fire by many who claim it’s not a fair measure of excellence. The trend is to award the title of “valedictorian” to any student who has amassed a 4.0 GPA. One high school in Oregon had 21 valedictorians, while another had 10. College admissions counselors worry that this is muddying the waters. Jim Rawlins, president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling said, “Yes, it has definitely watered things down a little bit. Definitely, the more ...

Posted June 18, 2014, 10 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
How to Prepare for College During High School Summers

There has been much said about high school summer activities and how to spend the summer: volunteering, reading, working, and more. But for the college-bound teen, summer gives each grade level an opportunity to concentrate on specific tasks before the school year begins. Soon-to-be Freshmen It’s the year of new beginnings. Wide-eyed freshmen enter high school campuses overwhelmed and excited. High school is the beginning of the college pursuit. It means added responsibility and academic challenges. And it also requires organization and preparation. Following are four tasks for soon-to-be freshmen: 1. Plan The summer before freshman year is the best ...

Posted June 16, 2014, 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 May 30, 2014, 11 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
10 Summer Activities for College-Bound Teens

Summer is approaching and parents and students are looking forward to a much-needed break from school. But if you have a college-bound teen or you are one, summer should never be wasted on video games and watching DVD’s on the couch. There are all kinds of summer programs for teens, volunteer opportunities and summer jobs that will beef up your resume for college and scholarship applications. 10 Summer Activities for College-Bound Teens 1. Volunteer in your community A consistent pattern of volunteering each summer looks great on applications and shows colleges that you are concerned about giving back. Volunteer in ...

Posted May 28, 2014, 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. ...

Posted May 9, 2014, 2:36 p.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Taking the SATs

Everyone knows how important standardized tests are in the college application process. But what about SAT Subject Tests? How important are they to college admissions and should everyone take them? What are SAT Subject Tests? SAT Subject Tests are hour-long content based tests, which allow you to demonstrate proficiency in a specific subject. There are 20 Subject Tests in all and unlike the SAT where you have to complete all three sections, you get to choose which Subject Tests you would like to take. Subject Tests are offered on the same dates as the SAT and you can take up ...

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