TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time

Category: College Admissions

Posted July 12, 2018, 8 a.m. by Jason Patel | View Comments
Two teen-age girls working on tablet computers in a classroom.

There are several ways you can set yourself apart academically from your peers. One common way to do this is by taking Advanced Placement courses and exams during your high school career. Before you enroll in an AP course, however, read through these Frequently Asked Questions to make sure you’ve considered everything before finalizing your decision. There are several factors to consider other than simply being “smart enough” for one of these classes. What is the difference between an AP course and regular course offered at my school? There are two main differences between regular and AP classes: The curriculum ...

Posted July 10, 2018, noon by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Frustrated teenage woman working at a laptop computer on college applications.

Join a group of parents whose students are getting college admissions letters and you’re going to hear the same conversations. Some are elated, others are confused, and many are disappointed. I guarantee you that the elated parents have students who took the time to research the college and made sure they were at the top of the applicant pool when they applied. The confused and disappointed parents more than likely have students who applied to elite colleges with little hope of being offered admission or little hope of being able to afford it if their students were accepted. It seems ...

Posted June 19, 2018, 8 a.m. by Sara Nolan | View Comments
Blonde teenage girl arguing with her mother.

The notorious college essay can become a battleground of underlying stress and tension for parents and teens. They both care about the outcome, but (or because of this) communication about it easily goes haywire. Every parent-child relationship is different, and you have your own complex history that this post cannot address fully enough. Certain struggles, however, are common. From my years as a college-essay coach, I offer these suggestions for effective intra-family communication to help you navigate the college essay writing process productively, skillfully and with your relationship intact. Teens and parents have said these made all the difference! Why ...

Posted June 12, 2018, 8 a.m. by Shannon Vasconcelos | View Comments
Pile of coins with a miniature graduation cap on top.

College is expensive. Yes, really expensive. Even families who don’t qualify for financial aid can often struggle to pull together the funds to pay a $10,000, $20,000 or $30,000 bill in one fell swoop. Borrowing college loans has, therefore, become much more common, with nearly three-quarters of college students graduating with some type of debt, according to The Federal Reserve. And that’s just students. The amount of debt taken on by parents to finance their children’s college education is much harder to pinpoint, due to the variety of types of financing available to parents, but the numbers are certainly substantial. ...

Posted June 7, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Mother and daughter at college orientation party talking with female professor.

New student orientation is one event at college neither you nor your student should miss. Parents learn valuable information at college orientation and students make much-needed connections with other students. Orientation will help your student ease into college life and help you cope as they make the move from home to independent living. It is an exciting time for the entire family when a child goes off to college. It’s not only a transition from one phase of education to the next, but the beginning of your child’s first years away from home. This also means, in many cases, the ...

Posted June 5, 2018, 11:30 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Teenage barista serving coffee at a cafe.

Summer is approaching and it’s a good time for parents of college-bound students to make the most of the free time. Your student will certainly be busy, especially if this is the summer before senior year. But there are a few things you should make sure to complete dur ing the summer that will help your student progress along the college admissions path. Start preparing your student for independence. Use the summer to teach some basic life skills. It’s never too early to start preparing for independence. College is the first step toward adult independence. Students will have to make ...

Posted May 29, 2018, 10 a.m. by Sarah Good | View Comments
pencils and answer sheets for college admissions tests like the ACT and SAT

It’s time to start thinking about the big college admissions test. So which one will it be: the SAT or the ACT? Let us help you figure it out. What are the differences in the format? Both the ACT and SAT include four multiple-choice sections presented in the same order every time. The SAT includes reading, writing and language, math with a calculator, and math without a calculator. The ACT includes English, math, reading, and science. Both include an optional essay. With essay, the SAT lasts 3 hours and 50 minutes, and the ACT takes 3 hours and 35 minutes. ...

Posted May 29, 2018, 9:33 a.m. by Jason Patel | View Comments
Older woman mentoring younger woman sitting at a computer.

Take a minute to Google a few commencement keynote speakers. In their speeches, they tend to always mention someone who inspired them to greatness. That someone is often a mentor. A mentor can be anyone whom you admire and trust to help you become a better version of yourself, or who can help you understand the intricacies of, say, a particular profession. A mentor is vested in you and making sure you learn or experience what you need to reach your goals. A mentor is a helpmate, a teacher and a champion all rolled into one. A mentor is ideally ...

Posted May 22, 2018, 10:38 a.m. by Sara Nolan | View Comments
Teenager's legs in striped stockings showing amidst a field of flowers in summer.

As a college essay writing coach, I have some counterintuitive college essay writing advice for you: Don’t put a hardcore focus on writing your college essay during the summer. First, do yourself a favor, and have an actual summer – like you see in the movies. Not just an extension of school and school stress: That’s fake summer. Make a list of all the things you associated with summer as a child, and let yourself relive some of them, even being bored. Why? Because reprieve is good for stamina, creativity and focus and you’ll need all of those come fall. ...

Posted May 15, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
YOUng woman with red nails making a college list.

Each spring, high school juniors begin the nitty-gritty tasks involved in creating the perfect college application list. And each spring, parents start asking one another: “Where is your son applying to college? Is your daughter staying close to home? What colleges are on her list?” The perfect college list means students are flooded with offers from colleges. The wrong list means disappointment and discouragement. The list should be so strong that every student is confident of being accepted, and parents are confident of strong offers of merit aid. A perfect college application list will be well thought out with colleges ...

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