TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time

Category: Colleges & Universities

Posted March 19, 2014, 11 a.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
Does Being a College "Legacy" Matter?

In the past several years, higher education researchers have yielded some interesting findings on the advantage held by so-called "legacy" applicants who have familial ties to a given school. If you happen to be interested in attending your parent’s alma mater, you will likely find their work highly encouraging. If not, it’s still important to be aware as you enter the admissions process that not every decision to accept or reject is driven by merit. A few key facts that may surprise you: 1. Applicants to highly selective colleges experience a 45 percentage-point increase in their probability of admission, on ...

Posted March 18, 2014, 4:27 p.m. by Stephen Friedfeld | View Comments
Young woman looking confused at post-it notes on a glass wall.

The college application essay – what should you write about? More importantly, what should you not write about? Did you just break up with someone you were dating? Colleges don’t want to know about it. Are you a waiter who spit in a rude customer’s food? There’s no need to tell colleges about that either. Is George Washington the greatest president in your opinion? Please don’t choose this topic. Take a look at the examples above. Why are these potentially bad topics? There’s a risk when you talk about boyfriends and girlfriends in your college essay. Are admissions officers really ...

Posted March 18, 2014, 2 p.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Social Media in College

Colleges are embracing social media: Recognizing it as a marketing tool, a student communication tool, a teaching tool, and even a career path. Colleges and universities recognize that the world is racing toward this type of communication and they are addressing it. Indiana University of Pennsylvania lists on its website nearly 200 links to campus-related social media sites and feeds, including the school's YouTube channel and Foursquare account. There's the Facebook page for the chemistry department, the equestrian team and the honors college, the LinkedIn account for Greek organizations and other groups, as well as Twitter feeds catering to interests ...

Posted March 17, 2014, 11 a.m. by Evan Berkowitz | View Comments
Why I Didn't Take Advanced Placement (AP) Classes

There’s a lot of emphasis today on crafting with expert hands the best possible college application. Increasingly, high school students are under immense pressure to be “better” than their compatriots, at least in the eyes of a college admissions officer. As early as middle school, students, and to a high degree parents, have begun formulating a program of studies that they believe gives themselves or their children the best shot at a competitive school. Today, many families hire college admissions experts to chart the student’s path to the top. Advanced Placement (AP) on College Applications One major component of this ...

Posted March 13, 2014, 9 a.m. by Randi Mazzella | View Comments
Scholarships Can Add Up to Big College Savings

With college costs at an all-time high and continuing to rise, it makes sense for high school students to apply for as many scholarships as possible. “Applying for scholarships may seem like a daunting process to students, especially for those already busy getting applications together for college. But for students willing to put in the time and effort, there are many scholarship dollars available," explains April Bell, director at the College Board. Is Your Student Eligible for a Scholarship? College scholarships can be broadly divided into two categories: Financial need-based and merit-based. Many families assume that to receive a merit-based ...

Posted March 12, 2014, 3:25 p.m. by Sam Coren | View Comments
3 Ways to Explore Possible Majors Before College

If you're just starting the college search you may be overwhelmed by the number of options when it comes to choosing a major. Check out the list of majors at UMass-Amherst for example. There are over 80 different areas of study for undergraduate students. Or look at the majors at Penn State's main campus. Over 160! Even though some of these larger schools have a staggering amount of academic majors to choose from, figuring out what you should major in can be just as tricky if you're thinking about attending a smaller school. So how are you supposed to figure ...

Posted March 11, 2014, 11 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Should Parents Pay for College?

The news this past week was inundated with stories about a young teen from New Jersey who sued her parents to pay for college. Parents all over the country have weighed in. A recent poll conducted by NJ.com asked parents if they agreed with the lawsuit. The poll results were not surprising: 5% said parents should be required to pay; 95% said they should not. With college costs rising, and more and more parents trying to find a way to pay for college, many parents are asking if they should pay, and if so, how much? Whether you can afford ...

Posted March 9, 2014, 11 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments

The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, better known by the acronym ROTC (often pronounced Rot-see), is a college-based program for training commissioned officers for all branches of the U.S. Military—Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard. In return for a commitment of military service upon graduation, ROTC funds all or part of college tuition, depending on the type of commission and scholarship contract a student signs, and provides an opportunity for students to develop leadership skills critical for both a military and a civilian career. Don’t let the term “reserve” confuse you. ROTC trains officers for active duty, which ...

Posted March 8, 2014, 2 p.m. by Kristen Licciardi | View Comments
What You Need to Know About 529 Plans

“How will we EVER afford college?” For most parents, this question can cause overwhelming anxiety as their children reach the teen years. Paying for college can feel like an insurmountable task on par with climbing Mt. Everest. Parents are right to worry: Tuition costs and fees at public universities tripled over the past 30 years when adjusted for inflation, according to the College Board’s annual report on college pricing. As higher education costs take a bigger bite out of our paychecks, families are turning to 529 plans to jump-start their college savings. There are now more than 11 million 529 ...

Posted March 7, 2014, 11 a.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
Advantages of Liberal Arts Colleges

Harvard, Yale, Stanford and other large, prestigious universities contain top-notch student bodies and, for the most part, provide excellent undergraduate educations; but so do places like Macalester, Reed, Bowdoin, and other small, liberal arts institutions. While their names may not inspire as much awe around the dinner table or look as good on a bumper sticker, liberal arts colleges offer several academic and extracurricular advantages that students at larger and more pre-professional schools would be hard-pressed to find. Advantages of Liberal Arts For one, the faculty at liberal arts colleges put undergraduates first. Often without a graduate cohort and less ...

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