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 Aug. 10, 2017, noon by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
8 Tips for Making Summer Prime Time for College Scholarships

The lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. Kids are out of school. Families take vacations. The last thing anyone wants to think about is searching for college scholarships. But wait! Summer is prime time to search and apply for scholarships. While everyone is playing, your high school student can be hard at work figuring out how to win a scholarship for college. This makes for a productive and financially beneficial summer. Sacrificing a few hours a week could mean graduating college without debt. Here are eight summer scholarship search tips to help your high school student on the path to ...

Posted July 29, 2017, 7 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
It's August! Check Our College To-Do List for High School Seniors

Getting a head start on applying to college the summer before senior year can make the fall and spring less stressful for parents and high school seniors. High school seniors will need to be prepared for the overwhelming amount of college admissions activities once school begins. Tackling some of those college related tasks now can help ease some of the pressure in the fall. Get ahead of the game and prepare in advance by using this checklist. If you do, parents and seniors should be ready for senior year to begin. 1. Get ready for standardized tests. The fall standardized ...

Posted June 27, 2017, 9:53 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
high-school-teen-summer-volunteer

It’s tempting for high school students to spend summer hanging out with friends, sleeping past noon, and attempting to do absolutely nothing. And while it’s true that down time for growing teens is absolutely necessary, too much is neither a healthy option nor the wisest choice if college is in their future. Encouraging high school students to get out and have some worthy, productive summer experiences is super important – for parents and for them – especially for those students hoping to score a scholarship or two. And even if teens are working, attending a teen summer program, or taking ...

Posted June 20, 2017, 2:19 p.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
act-act-test-prep

Even as they start to enjoy summer, high school juniors and seniors know they are facing standardized testing in the fall. For seniors, it’s the last chance to get their best scores on the SAT or ACT before college applications are submitted. For juniors, the fall SAT or ACT can be a good indicator of areas that need improvement and require more preparation. Taking advantage of the summer to prepare for these tests makes smart academic sense and teaches students how to get over test anxiety. Standardized test prep doesn’t need to be torturous. Your student will retain more if ...

Posted May 30, 2017, 9:12 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
admissions-college-tour

Spring and summer are busy times on college campuses, as high school juniors start taking college tours and admitted high school seniors come for one more look around or college orientation. But college visits are such a crucial part of choosing the right college that colleges welcome these students and look forward to making a positive connection. There is a definite goal and purpose in the college visit: determine if the college is a good fit. But just showing up and walking around campus will not help teens from any worthwhile opinion of the college or the students. For college ...

Posted May 24, 2017, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
summer-program

In today’s competitive college admissions market, it’s critical to stand out. A student’s high school resume should communicate to the college that he or she has taken academics seriously and pursued worthwhile activities outside of class. A resume for a high school student is more than a list of academics and achievements; it should turn admissions heads and move them to offer admission. How can your high school student use summer to boost his or her resume? One way is to enroll in a pre-college summer program at a college or university. These programs provide high school students an opportunity ...

Posted May 11, 2017, 2:47 p.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
college-preparation

Graduation is approaching and seniors are amped up for all the festivities and the celebrations. It goes without saying that students should order their gaps and gowns, invitations and thank you notes. Families will be making plans for graduation parties and picking out graduation gifts. But there are many other tasks seniors should do before and after graduation to prepare for the future and making the transition to college. 1. Send in your deposit and apply for college housing First things first—by now you should have sent in your deposit to your final college choice and applied for dorm housing. ...

Posted May 4, 2017, 12:40 p.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
college-advisor

The college admission process can be overwhelming. Almost every parent needs some form of help. If you’re not a do-it-yourself type who can do the research, or you simply prefer to hire a professional for tasks that are beyond your grasp, you might consider hiring an independent college advisor. Since this could be a substantial investment for your family, you should carefully evaluate these questions before hiring one: 1. Does your high school counselor have the time and the experience? This can be a problem. Some large public schools have a ratio of 1 counselor for every 500 students. This ...

Posted April 21, 2017, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
military-academy

When you think of the military, you think of discipline, honor, and commitment. These are all characteristics that you will embrace if you choose to attend a military boarding school for high school. Contrary to popular belief, military school is not a place where parents send only their troubled, undisciplined children. Nor does attending a military school mean that you have to pursue a career in the military. Military school is a place where students who strive for excellence in academics and in character will thrive. Motivated students who work well in a structured, disciplined environment are a good fit ...

Posted April 20, 2017, 3:56 p.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
summer-programs-get-college

Summer is approaching and the last thing you probably want to hear about is college prep. Summer is supposed to be a time for fun, relaxation and a break from academics. But what if I told you that you can kill two birds with one stone: have fun and improve your college chances? Believe it or not, it’s possible through a variety of teen summer programs and strategies. Study or volunteer abroad If you have a bit of the wanderlust spirit, you can travel, see the world and chalk up some points for your college application. You can simply travel, ...

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