TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time

Author: Evan Berkowitz

Evan  Berkowitz-profile-picture

Evan Berkowitz is a freshman at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is a graduate of Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, where he was Managing Editor of the student newspaper, The Forum. He is a regular blogger at TeenLife and contributed to the now-defunct Boston Globe GreenBlog. He is also a staff reporter for the University of Maryland Writers' Bloc, a literary and arts-focused news website.

Posted March 17, 2014, 11 a.m. by Evan Berkowitz | View Comments
Why I Didn't Take Advanced Placement (AP) Classes

There’s a lot of emphasis today on crafting with expert hands the best possible college application. Increasingly, high school students are under immense pressure to be “better” than their compatriots, at least in the eyes of a college admissions officer. As early as middle school, students, and to a high degree parents, have begun formulating a program of studies that they believe gives themselves or their children the best shot at a competitive school. Today, many families hire college admissions experts to chart the student’s path to the top. Advanced Placement (AP) on College Applications One major component of this ...

Posted March 15, 2014, 11 a.m. by Evan Berkowitz | View Comments
What It Means to Be 18

FEBRUARY 18, 2014, NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. This afternoon, as I sit in the relatively dingy waiting room of Pennsylvania Station in New York, I am officially of the age of majority. It was on the clattering 2 Train under Brooklyn that the transformation truly took place at 10:28 this morning, but train stations themselves are more romantic and more applicable to metaphor. So, what does this mean? I can vote, I must register for selective service, and the "children" price at most museums no longer applies to me (as we found out the hard way at The Cloisters yesterday). ...

Posted Feb. 22, 2014, 11 a.m. by Evan Berkowitz | View Comments
Applied Knowledge Part Six: The College Essay

When we last left off, I went over the procedure for requesting a Letter of Recommendation from a teacher. Now it's time for the part that everyone seems to dread: the college essay. Download The College Essay For someone like me, who writes often and has experience with word limits, the mechanics of the essay are not so difficult. But if you are having trouble with the nitty-gritty aspects of writing, here are a few tips: Brush up on grammar and usage. I humbly suggest William Strunk, Jr., and E.B. White's immortal classic of the written word The Elements of ...

Posted Feb. 21, 2014, 1:03 p.m. by Evan Berkowitz | View Comments
Thoughts on the "Empty Nest"

A bird is termed "nidifiguous" if its offspring leave the nest shortly after hatching. While human teenagers are by no means so quick to depart, you wouldn't guess so from watching! With birds, it's so graceful; the mother gives the chick a firm push and out it flies into the world, a free bird. With us, it's not so pretty. After eighteen years (or sometimes even longer), we are driven to a college campus for the last great family road trip between recounted memories, sappy songs on the radio, and nostalgia. We unpack, sometimes with fanfare, sometimes without, and there ...

Posted Feb. 21, 2014, 11:20 a.m. by Evan Berkowitz | View Comments
Applied Knowledge Part Five: The Application!

The application itself appears at first to be one of the most daunting parts of the college application process, but with a little hard work and a great deal of planning, it can be very easy. First of all, it's important to compile a list of the various requirements colleges have, including: Does the school use the Common Application (commonapp.org)? If not, where can you access the school's application? If a school is on the CommonApp, does it have a supplement, and what is the prompt? If it's not on the CommonApp, what are its essay questions? Are there any ...

Posted Feb. 18, 2014, 1:41 p.m. by Evan Berkowitz | View Comments
This Is Your Life: Planning Your Future

Hello again. For this installment of Applied Knowledge, I’m going to step briefly away from getting into college and write about something even more important (and there are more important things out there!). What should you and I do once we get there? Planning Your Future While I do not know your area of interest, I know that mine is unequivocally written journalism, and in the following words I’ll speak about how I arrived at that choice, a choice which will inevitably have a huge effect on the rest of my life. I began showing interest in the field early, ...

Posted Jan. 21, 2014, 4:28 p.m. by Evan Berkowitz | View Comments
The Importance of Observation on College Visits: Applied Knowledge, Part Four

Those of you who read my blog at TeenLife regularly know that I have already covered college visiting twice in previous blogs. I will start by saying that this piece, in addition to being more personal, will focus on one, nearly intangible aspect of the college visit, the one I consider most important of all: the 'feel' of the college. I don't quite know how to explain this phenomenon, so I will use specific examples of times that some attitude, or the atmosphere, of a college just didn't feel right to me, and when it undoubtedly did. I think it's ...

Posted Jan. 21, 2014, 4:27 p.m. by Evan Berkowitz | View Comments
College Information Sessions: Applied Knowledge, Part Three

Hello and welcome back to my College Admissions Series. When we last left off, I spoke about why journalism is my chosen career path. In this installment, we’ll get into the real nitty-gritty of College Admissions in what I found to be the most difficult phase: information sessions. What makes these info sessions so difficult is that they are all relatively similar. All schools use similar language and approaches to promote their school, because, in general and in reality, they all tend to be rather similar at first glance. It is likely that most of a student’s college prospects will ...

Posted Jan. 21, 2014, 3:53 p.m. by Evan Berkowitz | View Comments
Applied Knowledge: Introduction to the College Application Process

Many of you out there are parents, many are teens, many are educators, and most of you have probably come into contact (or will come into contact) with the college application process. Scary, I know. As someone who just applied to some colleges, I can confirm that it is a daunting task from start to eventual finish. College Applications are also a topic with extensive and readily available literature, from the TeenLife blog to the New York Times’s old “The Choice” blog, to really anywhere on the net. So what’s new in this series? Well, hopefully, its candor and timeliness. ...

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