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 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 class 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 ...

Posted May 8, 2014, noon by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Tools for Planning Your Career Before College

It’s a fact that a large number of students graduate from college with degrees that don’t prepare them for the job market. News headlines are riddled with stories of recent graduates finding it impossible to land a job with the degree they chose, being forced to take any job to pay back their student loans. Additionally, many students graduate with degrees in areas that don’t interest them simply because they thought the degree would fare well in the marketplace, only to become dissatisfied with their career paths. Investigate Careers Before Choosing a Major To be well-informed and prepared for a ...

Posted April 28, 2014, 11 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Grads Need More Than a Degree to Get Hired

As college students graduate in May, they may find that the degree they worked so hard for won’t be enough to land a job. In today’s competitive job market, students are fighting for the same jobs that experienced workers are seeking as they re-enter the job force. Employers are concerned that graduates don’t have the skills necessary to secure and keep a job. Are graduates qualified? In a study released last fall by Chegg entitled “Bridging That Gap: Analyzing the Student Skill Index,” it appears that more students are struggling to find their place in the workforce. They surveyed 2,001 ...

Posted April 3, 2014, noon by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
10 Surprising Facts About College

Statistics tell a story. You can use the numbers to get an overall picture of things, evaluate goals, and learn from the trends. College admission statistics are no different. They tell us about college trends, college student behavior, and the future of college graduates. The following are 10 surprising facts about college. Will you be surprised? 75 percent of high school seniors are accepted to their first-choice colleges, but less than 57 percent can afford to attend. A UCLA study about college students confirmed that although students are often accepted to their first choice colleges, they are unable to attend ...

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