TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time

Author: Sara Zhou

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Sara Zhou is a senior high school student at the Winsor School in Boston.

Posted June 3, 2014, 11 a.m. by Sara Zhou | View Comments
conquer college essay

As a high school senior, there's a lot I wish I had known about college applications last year, when I was in the middle of applying to colleges. While the process is no doubt hectic, it can be eased with these five steps for the college admissions essay. Download 1. Start Early The summer before your senior year is a great time to start on the Common App essay. Even though the application deadlines are months in the future, you will not regret starting the process. This way, you wont be stressed out over writing three personal essays, taking the ...

Posted June 2, 2014, 11 a.m. by Sara Zhou | View Comments

Teens often pass over high school community service as hours to complete, or something that looks good on their college applications. But it can be much more than that, if you give it the chance. In order to appreciate the value of this hands-on experience, here are five facets that form the cornerstone benefits of a volunteering in high school. // 1. It's proven to make you happier. Community service provides physical and mental rewards. Researchers report that when you focus on others’ needs over your own, it ignites brain activity that reduces stress and depression. A recent study conducted ...

Posted May 31, 2014, 11 a.m. by Sara Zhou | View Comments

To this year’s juniors, who are about to enter the hectic hullabaloo of college applications, here is a current senior’s advice on how to succeed next year. These are the tips I wish I had listened to before applying to college, the ones I wish I had known when I was a rising senior. In the summer between junior and senior year, a large portion of your application is set: you've made a (hopefully good) impression on your teachers and accumulated three years' worth of grades. Although college applications loom on the horizon, they feel more like monsters lurking under ...

Posted May 21, 2014, 11 a.m. by Sara Zhou | View Comments
How to Write Perfect SAT Essay

The SAT Essay is a very important part of the college admissions process. Here are 5 steps to writing the perfect essay. 1. Know the format This is the easy part. You have 25 minutes to answer a prompt, like “Are happier people more likely to succeed?” CollegeBoard prompts usually share a theme of success, and people's motivations for it. Prompts in past years have included "Do people truly benefit from hardship?”, "Is there too much emphasis on winning?", and "Do we benefit from learning about flaws of people we admire and respect?". While these questions may seem abstract, the ...

Posted May 20, 2014, 11 a.m. by Sara Zhou | View Comments
One Piece of Advice No SAT Tutor Will Give You

Rosa Parks, Copernicus, and Hamlet. What do all of these have in common? According to graders of standardized tests, these subjects are some of the most commonly given examples in the SAT Essay Section. In my work as an SAT tutor, I'm often asked how to write a "perfect" essay, that is, how to write a detailed, informative, clever, and intriguing essay, all in under 25 minutes. How to Write a "Perfect" Essay What students often fail to realize is that SAT test graders are human—and they realize you are human, too. These test graders are required to read stacks ...

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