TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time

Author: James Paterson

James Paterson-profile-picture

Jim Paterson is a writer and editor who specializes in issues related to education and counseling. He has written for the Washington Post, USA Today Weekend, Parent Magazine, Baltimore Magazine, Counseling Today and a variety of other publications. He has also been a school counselor for the past eight years and last year was named “Counselor of the Year” in Montgomery County, Md., just outside Washington, DC.

Posted Nov. 25, 2016, 8 a.m. by James Paterson | View Comments
should-your-high-school-resume-be-high-tech

It’s still uncommon for students to use video and other media in college applications and colleges have mixed attitudes toward them. If, however, you want to spice up your high school resume, there are some college-ready platforms that can help. Jobma, for example, offers video services for job applicants and to students for college applications. Other companies will help produce an application video. Students film themselves through a webcam and the companies do the rest, including posting. Some students tape their own videos and put them on YouTube or other social media and send the colleges a link. That, however, ...

Posted April 14, 2016, 9 a.m. by James Paterson | View Comments
How Colleges Are Using New Tools to Recruit Students

How Colleges Are Using New Tools to Recruit Students Colleges are using sophisticated new recruiting tools, and while that may unfairly influence some high school juniors by pampering or pressuring them, the new methods of communication also can benefit students. "The centralization of data and automation of communications has made the traditionally overwhelming process much simpler for many students," says Sasha Peterson, CEO of TargetX, which helps colleges develop recruitment and student record systems. TargetX and other companies let students access information about colleges while allowing schools to collect information during the application process that allows them to remind students ...

Posted March 16, 2016, 9 a.m. by James Paterson | View Comments
Thinking About College? Why Not Think About Summer Too!

If you plan to go to college, don’t let the lazy days of summer be too lazy. There is plenty you can do in July and August to help get you thinking about colleges and preparing for applications. And now is the time to start thinking about it so you can reward yourself and plan plenty of time to just veg out. First, most college timelines recommend these to-do lists, based on the year you’ve just finished: Freshman year – Start exploring the idea of college. Talk to friends or relatives about schools. Visit a campus or two and see ...

Posted March 11, 2016, 9 a.m. by James Paterson | View Comments
How Smart are you About a Summer Job?

When you’re a teenager, many times the process of applying for a job, being interviewed, and being evaluated and hired goes something like this: “Hey, the restaurant I’m working at needs some help and you can start right away.” And, before you know it, you have a job. There are a lot of good reasons why a job is a great experience, but there are also some potential problems. With the summer job season right around the corner, you and your parents should take some time to discuss the process and establish some guidelines. The advantages and disadvantages were all ...

Posted Feb. 16, 2016, 9 a.m. by James Paterson | View Comments
 Ouch! How to Talk About a Bad Grade

When you have that sinking feeling as you look through your child’s grades, whether it indicates a minor – but surprising – slip or a gut-wrenching skid, what mindset should you have and how should you talk to your student? And will it help? The National Center for Family and Community Connection with Schools put it this way after reviewing piles of research about education’s shortcomings that came out around the time No Child Left Behind was born: “Students benefit significantly when there is an individual encouraging and expecting them to be academically successful.” And research by the National PTA ...

Posted Feb. 5, 2016, 9 a.m. by James Paterson | View Comments
Dreaming of a STEM Career? You Need to Know This

On a chilly winter morning, students in a suburban Washington, D.C., middle school classroom are raising their hands to report their career choice, and their responses have changed from those from kids in those seats even five years ago. There are fewer future doctors, policemen, and veterinarians, and more than half say they want to be programmers, engineers, or are certain they want to work in a much-promoted STEM career. Common wisdom of late would say that’s good for the economy, the country and the kids themselves? But is this love affair with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) such ...

Posted Jan. 29, 2016, 9 a.m. by James Paterson | View Comments
Nab a Summer Job – and Make the Most of it.

Good summer jobs are hard to find, yet they’ve become increasingly important for high school students – for the money, experience, and your resume. With youth unemployment numbers at record highs, think about how you can improve your chances of getting a job and making the most of it. Here are some tips: 1. Start early, obviously. Like now. This gives you more time to explore all the options – and shows potential employers that you are forward-thinking and serious. The search process itself is a good project. Make a few contacts each week and set up a spot (physical ...

Posted Jan. 8, 2016, 9 a.m. by James Paterson | View Comments
last-chance-sat-should-you-take-old-test

The deadline is coming up fast, but if you’re a college-bound junior, you can still register for the Jan. 23 SAT – the last administration of the current version. But time is running short. The deadline for late registration is Jan.12. (https://sat.collegeboard.org/register/sat-us-dates). A lot has been written about the new test and the changes that will make it more like the ACT: just two sections, no penalty for guessing, and an optional required essay. It draws a lot from the Common Core, emphasizing evidence-based understanding of texts, vocabulary and math skills. Not so many “gotcha” vocabulary words. But some experts ...

Posted Dec. 3, 2015, 9 a.m. by James Paterson | View Comments
How to Tell if Your Kid is Dangerously Stressed

Kids are stressed. We just have to look at their faces or their Facebook pages to understand the complexity of their lives. So how do you know if the stress you’re seeing might be something to worry about? First, you need to understand the physiology. The part of the brain that sorts through and manages stress has not been completely developed in adolescents, making it difficult for them to sort through and manage stress. The blemish, bad body image, or argument with a friend that causes a teary night or very sour morning may seem silly, but it’s huge to ...

Posted Dec. 1, 2015, 9 a.m. by James Paterson | View Comments
Small Things May Make a Big Impression on Colleges

High school students have to impress colleges with numbers – GPAs and test scores – but some small things might improve their chances, admission experts say. “Some colleges do not prioritize informal impressions – they just want a rock star application,” Jennifer Ziegenfus, the senior assistant director of admissions of Maryland’s Towson University says. “But there are often additional steps a student can take to improve the quality of their application.” College admissions offices traditionally look at grades, test scores, recommendations, essay responses, and activities, but there may be more to it. Ziegenfus and other experts note that impressionable humans ...

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