TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time

Category: For College Counselors

Posted March 5, 2019, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
pencil and SAT answer sheet

What is a “test-optional” college? It is a college and/or university that de-emphasizes the use of standardized tests and picks a substantial number of applicants who are recent graduate U.S. high schools without using the SAT or ACT. Other colleges exempt students who meet grade-point average or class rank criteria from submitting ACT or SAT scores, while others require scores but claim to use them only for placement purposes or to conduct research studies. Test-optional colleges have long been a controversial topic. When a college allows students to opt out of reporting their standardized test scores, do they have an ...

Posted Feb. 19, 2019, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Young woman asleep on couch with book over her head.

Not every student is excited about going to college. Sometimes they need a little push; and sometimes college just isn’t in their headlights. The simple truth is: The four-year college plan isn’t for everyone. For some young adults, the thought of college terrifies them. If they have struggled in school, they know college is going to be more academically challenging. Other students are simply burned out and need a break. But, with all the talk about college during high school, other options are rarely discussed. What if your student simply won’t consider college? My son never saw himself in college. ...

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 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 ...

Posted Aug. 27, 2018, 8:49 a.m. by Shannon Vasconcelos | View Comments
Graphic on grey background of college building, money, mortar board and other items associated with scholarship money.

One way to win scholarships is to go online to a scholarship search site and apply for every scholarship under the sun. But while an online scholarship search is often a worthwhile endeavor, there’s a far more lucrative source of college funding: the colleges themselves. Colleges have a lot of money to give away, and you can approach your college search process strategically to maximize your chances of getting some. What Are Merit Scholarships? In order to win college merit scholarships, you first need to understand what they are – specifically, what they are to the colleges that award them. ...

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 May 10, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Teenage girls acting silly with mustaches and taking a selfie

It’s tempting to just skate through the rest of the year after you’ve submitted your college applications and been accepted to college. But as tempting as it may be, seniors should finish the remainder of the year strong. Finishing strong will help them carry that momentum into college and the first semester of college is critical when establishing a strong GPA. In addition to keeping the momentum going, there are other reasons for seniors to have a focused and strong finish for senior year. Senioritis will strike! It happens to every student. After almost four years of focused academic activity, ...

Posted May 1, 2018, 8 a.m. by Emily Frisella | View Comments
Young woman in graduation robes holding college diploma on a college or university campus.

As you begin to research colleges and universities and narrow down your list of schools you plan to apply to, you may find yourself considering mostly universities, liberal arts colleges, or a mix of both. Universities and liberal arts colleges can both provide you with an incredible education, but they each offer a different type of undergraduate experience. Universities serve both undergraduate and graduate students, and are made up of multiple colleges, each with its own academic specialty. This means that if you’re applying to a university, you’ll have to designate which college or school you’re applying to. For example, ...

Posted Feb. 15, 2018, 1:40 p.m. by Brad Schiller | View Comments
College Essay Mistake

What is the single biggest mistake you can make on your college application? Submitting a narrative as your essay response to the prompt. You might as well just include the wrong school name while you are at it. Sadly, most essays reviewed by EditRevise spend 90 percent of the content on storytelling filled with flowery, pointless metaphors and needless descriptions. To get into your dream school, it is crucial that you do NOT make the narrative mistake. What matters most about an essay is its introspection -- commentary on the anecdotes and thoughts on what the prompt is asking. A ...

Posted Jan. 3, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Increase Your College Chances With this Admissions Secret

Many college experts offer advice on how to get into college. They recommend stellar standardized test scores, a killer college essay, a high GPA, and strong extracurriculars. While all those application components are important, did you know that there another way for students to increase their admission chances by 40 percent! Data from the National Association for College Admission Counseling show there is a powerful tool students can use to improve their admission chances: demonstrated interest. Students who visit a college before they apply, are up to 40 percent more likely to be admitted than students who do not visit ...

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