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 Aug. 11, 2014, 10 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
parents and kids moving into college dorms

College move-in day is something every parent dreads and every student looks forward to. Parents are excited about their student attending college, but dreading the inevitable “empty nest” feeling. Students look forward to college experiences and independence from parental authority. Here are just a few tips to help prepare you for college move-in day. Pre move-in day preparation Before move-in day you and your student should do some pregame preparation. Purchase dorm essentials It goes without saying that your college-bound teen is going to need dorm furnishings and supplies. There are numerous sites that provide parents and students with dorm ...

Posted Aug. 9, 2014, 10 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Are You Hovering or Helping Your Student?

It’s no surprise. Colleges and universities view today’s breed of college parent with some disdain. They see us as interfering in our student’s lives and overly involved in the college admissions process. If you compare us to the parents of 20 years ago, you might draw the same conclusion. We all have experience with out of control parents. They show up at their kids sport events and yell at the coaches and the umpires. They show up in the education system bullying teachers, coaches, administrators and other parents. Their kids rarely have consequences and cannot fend for themselves in most ...

Posted Aug. 7, 2014, 10 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Is a Military Focused Education Right for You?

There are three types of military focused educations: a military college, a service academy and an ROTC program at a college or university. Some students desire the rigors of an education with a military focus along with a career in the military. Others simply like the discipline and teamwork that come with this type of education. Service Academies Do not apply to a service academy unless you desire a career in the military. The lifestyle at each academy is very rigorous and only individuals who are strongly committed to a life in the military will be motivated to complete such ...

Posted July 31, 2014, 10 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Preparing for college

With competition for college admission becoming stronger, parents are recognizing the need to begin college prep early. That doesn’t mean that you start drilling college into your toddler’s head (although some parents have been known to do this). It does mean that you begin a foundation for their education that will carry them into high school and eventually into college. Looking at the three phases of education, what should parents do to prepare their students for college? Elementary School When discussing college prep, most of the discussions start in middle school and the steps begin when a student is in ...

Posted July 27, 2014, 11 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
risky behavior in teens

Risky behavior. It’s something that can start in middle or high school and carrying into college. Why? Teens and young adults believe they are invincible. They are young and carefree and want to “experience life.” Unfortunately for parents, it causes many nights of worry and fret, especially when they are away at college. It would be sticking our heads in the sand to believe that our kids won’t be faced with risky behavior decisions in college. Prepare your teens to make responsible decisions Talking to your high school students about this reality, and how to handle it responsibly, is essential ...

Posted July 11, 2014, 10 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
10 Online Resources for Student Financial Literacy

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan believes that financial literacy needs to be a staple of the American education system. Speaking at Pensions and Investments’ Innovation and the Global Future of Retirement conference, Mr. Duncan likened financial literacy education to learning a foreign language in that it's something that should be taught as early as possible. Financial Literacy is an Essential Skill “If our young people aren't financially literate, we are part of the problem, not part of the solution. And as a nation, we have a huge problem,” Duncan said. He also noted that financial literacy is a topic ...

Posted July 7, 2014, 10 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Reasons to take the PSATs

For many high school students, the PSAT is their first big standardized test. The PSAT is often considered a practice test, but it is technically a preliminary test for the SAT, with one big distinction: Scoring well can get you named as a National Merit Scholar finalist and earn you cash for college. It’s the perfect test to figure out your best strategies for test prep, especially if you’re a sophomore taking it for the first time. The PSAT has three categories worth 80 points each: reading, writing and math. A perfect score would be 240 Points. The test takes ...

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 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 ...

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