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 March 25, 2014, 1 p.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
10 Summer Activities That Will Turn Admissions’ Heads

In today’s competitive college admissions market, students are faced with the task of setting themselves apart from other applicants. Colleges look for students who are dedicated to academics but they want to build a well-rounded incoming freshman class. Admission officers look for those who demonstrate interesting and diverse qualities, not just those who spend 100 percent of their time studying. Colleges need and want students who are committed to activities that they are passionate about. The summer creates opportunities for students to demonstrate this quality, whether it's in a structured summer program for teenagers, or individually. The last thing you ...

Posted March 18, 2014, 2 p.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Social Media in College

Colleges are embracing social media: Recognizing it as a marketing tool, a student communication tool, a teaching tool, and even a career path. Colleges and universities recognize that the world is racing toward this type of communication and they are addressing it. Indiana University of Pennsylvania lists on its website nearly 200 links to campus-related social media sites and feeds, including the school's YouTube channel and Foursquare account. There's the Facebook page for the chemistry department, the equestrian team and the honors college, the LinkedIn account for Greek organizations and other groups, as well as Twitter feeds catering to interests ...

Posted March 11, 2014, 11 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Should Parents Pay for College?

The news this past week was inundated with stories about a young teen from New Jersey who sued her parents to pay for college. Parents all over the country have weighed in. A recent poll conducted by NJ.com asked parents if they agreed with the lawsuit. The poll results were not surprising: 5% said parents should be required to pay; 95% said they should not. With college costs rising, and more and more parents trying to find a way to pay for college, many parents are asking if they should pay, and if so, how much? Whether you can afford ...

Posted March 5, 2014, 11 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
AP classes

A recent study released by The College Board reported that the number of students taking AP (Advanced Placement) classes has doubled since 2003. However, there are more academically ready students out there who are not participating. Nearly 300,000 students in the Class of 2013 with potential to succeed in AP graduated having never participated in a matched AP course. According to The College Board, “The purpose of these classes and tests is for students to earn college credit while in high school. Advanced placement exams began in the 1950s as a way for students to stand out on their college ...

Posted Feb. 26, 2014, 11 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Do standardized tests measure academic success?

Like it or not, standardized tests are here to stay. Even though there are test-optional schools that don’t require you to submit scores, most colleges still use them as a barometer when making admissions decisions. However, a new study, released this past week, conducted by the National Association for College Admissions Counseling, shows that high school students with strong grades but lower test scores tend to do just as well in college as those who perform better on these tests. Major findings The study compared the academic performance of students who submitted test scores to 33 colleges and universities with ...

Posted Feb. 19, 2014, 11 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
10 Tips When Revisiting Your College Choices

After receiving offers of admission from multiple colleges, students and parents wonder how they will choose. If you’re uncertain, and even if you’re not, the best thing you can do is revisit the colleges on your list of acceptances. Since college is a major purchase and a 4-year commitment, it makes sense to go to the respective campuses one last time before making your final decision. Why revisit a college? Now that you are accepted into a particular college, you can think more realistically about about your future life there. You want to be able to picture yourself on campus—in ...

Posted Feb. 7, 2014, 12:05 p.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
How to Break Down Your Financial Aid Award Letter

In just a few short weeks college financial aid award letters will start arriving. For most, this process is confusing; award letters are not all are the same and it’s hard to compare colleges when their award letters aren’t standardized. Award letters arrive after you receive your offer of admission. They should play a major factor in deciding which college to attend. What are the components of the award letter? Every award letter should contain these basic components: The full cost of attendance, which should be broken down into expenses such as tuition, room and board, textbooks, and even travel. ...

Posted Jan. 31, 2014, 11:02 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
6 Valuable Ways a Tutor Can Improve Your Standardized Test Score

Standardized tests are here to stay. Not only do colleges use them to determine academic abilities, but also partly base offers of admission on these scores. With competitiveness among college applicants growing, many parents and students should consider a tutor to help prepare for the PSAT, SAT and ACT. If you’re considering a tutor for test prep or simply for academic help, it is prudent to know how a tutor could assist you and help you improve your scores. 1. A tutor can teach test-taking strategy. A good tutor can teach you how to approach difficult problems, use complicated math ...

Posted Jan. 23, 2014, 2:24 p.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
How to Deal with College Admission Competition

As spring approaches, colleges will be making their admissions decisions. As peer pressure goes, there is no greater pressure than that inflicted on each other over college applications and acceptances. For many teens, the pressure becomes overwhelming and may interfere with a logical college choice. Unfortunately, the bragging starts in the fall when applications are submitted and crescendos in the spring when offers of admission arrive. Download Since it’s difficult to avoid the competition over college among teens, here are a few tips that might help when dealing with these rivalries: Don’t be a braggart. Of course every teen is ...

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