TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time

Category: College Admissions

Posted Jan. 16, 2019, 8 a.m. by Monica Matthews | View Comments
Hand of student in shirt taking notes from laptop

Online scholarship search and matching sites abound on the Internet, but signing up for each and every one of them is a huge mistake that can lead to student frustration and angst. Why? Because there are thousands upon thousands of scholarship opportunities available to students, but unfortunately a great majority of them are drawings or contests designed to gather personal information and use it to promote student loans and sell student data. Once students have signed up and agreed to have scholarships emailed to them, their inboxes will be inundated with offers, and wading through them to find legitimate or ...

Posted Jan. 14, 2019, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Portrait of sad teenage boy reading message on his phone.

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” Charles Dickens wasn’t talking about college admissions, but it certainly applies. By late December, the Early Decision answers have come in. If you were blessed, your student will be on cloud nine being accepted to their first-choice college. If you are like many parents and students, the lack of an admissions offer will be devastating. A friend of mine experienced the bad news last year right before Christmas. It rocked her world because her son was a legacy and had impeccable test scores and grades. But it was ...

Posted Dec. 15, 2018, 8 a.m. by Sonja Montiel | View Comments
beautiful girl in striped light blue shirt in red christmas cap standing holding red gift box, unboxing and looking inside

Our children never outgrow wanting “stuff” for the holidays. Look at your teen’s gift list and you will see the usual items that sound like a foreign language, possibly with footnotes about their emotional dependency for each item. Go ahead, read it: I really need to have the-most-advanced-tech-thingy-that-you-don’t-know-how-to-use-or-pronounce, or everyone is wearing this piece-of-cloth-that’s-way-too-expensive-but-I’ll-die-without-it! As parents, we have been there, done that, and negotiated for years, right? However, if you have a high school senior, maybe you won’t read such a list this particular season. For most seniors, something extraordinary happens with their wish lists for the holidays. The concept ...

Posted Dec. 9, 2018, 8 a.m. by Shannon Vasconcelos | View Comments
young woman seated at a desk working on applications

By far, the most lucrative source of scholarship funding for college is the colleges themselves. Having said that, however, there are thousands of scholarships available from organizations outside of the colleges that may be worth pursuing. We generally call these funds “private scholarships” or “outside scholarships,” and they can certainly make a sizable dent in your college costs. In order to cash in on the wealth of outside scholarship funding that is out there, follow these 10 tips: Use the web. I start here because most students do. There are some great scholarship searches on websites like www.scholarships.com, www.bigfuture.org, and ...

Posted Dec. 3, 2018, 8 a.m. by Sara Nolan | View Comments
young man of mixed race shrugging shoulders

Have you, like thousands of students all over the country, waited a bit too long to start your college essay? Did you procrastinate? Did wishful thinking assure you that a brilliant perfect essay would just appear at the right moment like Sentence Clause (yeah, that kind) from a proverbial chimney? Now you have to crank out an essay, brilliant or not. If you’re reading this, you’re not actually screwed. You have to adopt a game-time mindset, and get on with it. Anyway, all working writers will tell you that good writing is tricky; there’s no one best timeline. And some ...

Posted Nov. 19, 2018, 8 a.m. by Sonja Montiel | View Comments
angry young blonde woman w/ smoke coming out of her ears.

This post was written by Sonja Montiel and her daughter, Bella, a high school senior. Mom: “Twenty-pound turkey?” Bella: “Check.” Mom: “Vegan alternative for Aunt Claudine?” Bella: “Check. We’re making mushroom lentil loaf … Pinterest.” Mom: “Chair rental confirmed for the what-seems-like-100-people-coming-over?” Bella: “Check, mom. Just relax.” Mom: “Time carved out to finish college applications because we didn’t do them over the summer like your counselor told us?” Bella: “What?” Mom: “Yeah, don’t you have four applications to complete? And don’t they each have three essays that you haven’t started yet? Oh, and what about those required recommendation letters, resumes ...

Posted Nov. 12, 2018, 8 a.m. by Sara Nolan | View Comments
Blurred hands moving really quickly over a computer keyboard.

Are you stuck on your college essay draft? Or don’t even know where to start? Are you sure that you have nothing of interest to say? Bogged down by wordiness and obfuscations? Or are you trying to write too many essays at once? Freewriting has the cure for what ails you. Here’s why and how to do it, and some prompts to get you started. First, freewriting is cherished by almost all writers as one of the best (and tried and true) ways to become unstuck and make discoveries, and also to force yourself to JUST WRITE SOMETHING. It doesn’t ...

Posted Nov. 8, 2018, 8 a.m. by Jason Patel | View Comments
Female student presenting science information to classroom and teacher.

There’s a good chance that you’ll have to give a presentation in at least one class during high school before you graduate. You might even be asked to speak at a community engagement, if you’re the president of a club or receiving an award. It’s important for students to start building their public speaking skills in high school. The earlier you start, the more time you’ll have to develop your skills before college begins. But, improving your public speaking skills in high school requires time, effort and discipline. If this frightens you, there are ways to improve and make the ...

Posted Oct. 27, 2018, 8 a.m. by Shannon Vasconcelos | View Comments
Parent filling out financial aid forms.

Asking for money is not fun. Some of us would rather liquidate our retirement accounts, or consider selling a kidney before asking for help in paying our bills. But when the bill we’re talking about is the tuition bill and the ask in question is applying for need-based financial aid, it’s a really smart move to make. There is $200 billion dollars in financial aid available to college students, and all you have to do to tap into that deep well of funding is ask for it (and qualify, of course). With that in mind, please consider these top 10 ...

Posted Oct. 20, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
FAFSA form on clipboard and keyboard

The biggest complaint from parents and students about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is that it’s too complicated and difficult to complete. In fact, many have found the process so overwhelming that they don’t even start it. This is a bad decision for prospective college students because the FAFSA is the form used to determine not only eligibility for government financial aid, but state and institutional aid, and some private scholarships. The U.S. Education Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid processes about 20 million FAFSA applications a year. But experts say many students who could and ...

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