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 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 ...

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 ...

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