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 5, 2018, 11:30 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Teenage barista serving coffee at a cafe.

Summer is approaching and it’s a good time for parents of college-bound students to make the most of the free time. Your student will certainly be busy, especially if this is the summer before senior year. But there are a few things you should make sure to complete dur ing the summer that will help your student progress along the college admissions path. Start preparing your student for independence. Use the summer to teach some basic life skills. It’s never too early to start preparing for independence. College is the first step toward adult independence. Students will have to make ...

Posted May 15, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
YOUng woman with red nails making a college list.

Each spring, high school juniors begin the nitty-gritty tasks involved in creating the perfect college application list. And each spring, parents start asking one another: “Where is your son applying to college? Is your daughter staying close to home? What colleges are on her list?” The perfect college list means students are flooded with offers from colleges. The wrong list means disappointment and discouragement. The list should be so strong that every student is confident of being accepted, and parents are confident of strong offers of merit aid. A perfect college application list will be well thought out with colleges ...

Posted May 10, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Teenage girls acting silly with mustaches and taking a selfie

It’s tempting to just skate through the rest of the year after you’ve submitted your college applications and been accepted to college. But as tempting as it may be, seniors should finish the remainder of the year strong. Finishing strong will help them carry that momentum into college and the first semester of college is critical when establishing a strong GPA. In addition to keeping the momentum going, there are other reasons for seniors to have a focused and strong finish for senior year. Senioritis will strike! It happens to every student. After almost four years of focused academic activity, ...

Posted May 7, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Mortar board on pile of coins meant to pay for college.

As offers of college admission and financial-aid awards arrive, students (and parents) are faced with some difficult decisions. Do you accept an offer from a dream college that you simply can’t afford? Do you convince your student to be reasonable and attend a second- or third-choice college based on the financial aid awards? For many families, these are difficult decisions that can only be made by carefully comparing awards and making the best financial choice. Where do you begin? Gather all the financial-aid award packages and compare them side by side. This may not be so simple since every college ...

Posted April 5, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
High School Students Touring a College Campus

College visits are a crucial part of every high school student’s college choice process. These visits provide students with valuable information about each of the colleges that will be on their application lists. But before you visit, here are five things to know about visiting college campuses: 1. The answers to the right questions can heavily influence a student’s decision. A college visit is a fact-gathering mission. Students often ask questions during the college tour but the right questions can heavily influence a student’s decision. These questions won’t always be covered on the tour and many colleges might be hesitant ...

Posted March 20, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Woman shh-ing to keep one of the 5 secrets colleges don't want you to know.

The college application process is overwhelming for most parents and students. There is so much information to gather and decipher, along with decisions to make and options to consider. As you delve deeper into the college prep, it seems colleges have the upper hand. They set the price, make the decision to accept or reject your student, and ultimately make or break your student’s future. But as you become more knowledgeable about the process and start doing your research, you will find that ultimately you and your student are in control. Together you choose the college, decide what you will ...

Posted March 8, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Why College Scholarships Should be A Top Priority for High School Students

Many parents believe scholarships are a scam. Their high school students work hard, apply and never win anything. They are frustrated, discouraged and feel the promise of scholarships is a pipe-dream. You may have been there yourself, asking the same question: Are scholarships worth the effort? With all the tasks related to college admissions, why devote valuable time to scholarship searching, especially when it appears the odds are stacked against winning? Here’s why: There are thousands of unclaimed scholarships every year. Did you know that there are thousands of dollars of unclaimed scholarship money every year? Why? Because students don’t ...

Posted Feb. 20, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Why Freshmen and Sophomores Should Visit College Campuses

Students and their families usually begin visiting colleges in the spring of junior year of high school. But should families start sooner? What are the benefits of making preliminary college visits during freshman or sophomore years of high school? These are simply informal college visits that include a walk around campus, a visit to the school library, or a stroll through the campus bookstore. It’s easy to fit a brief college tour into your family vacation or spring or winter breaks. You could make a college visit a part of a family vacation. Why, however, should you consider doing this? ...

Posted Jan. 26, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
It's Freshman Year: Check In About These College Admissions Tasks

It’s time for a mid-year checkup. Half of the school year has passed and with a new start in January, students should evaluate their progress. Freshman year begins the process that eventually culminates in admission to college for most students. Knowing this, it’s crucial for your freshman to complete these tasks before the end of the school year. Before the year ends, take a close look at each of these tasks. How is your student doing? Is it time for a conversation? Does your student need a little motivation? 1. Get involved in a school activity. Your student has been ...

Posted Jan. 19, 2018, 11 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
How To Help High School Sophomores Find A Volunteer Project

Sophomore year is half done. Has your high school student chosen a community service project yet? The clock is ticking. Before you know it, senior year will be here, and colleges are looking for students who show a long-term commitment to one volunteer project. There’s no time like the present to lock down a choice. Remember that community service projects are more than just a category on your student’s high school resume. These projects teach high school students to be involved in the community and to care about others. They also can be a way to learn new skills or ...

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