TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time

Category: For Parents

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. 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 scholarships.com, bigfuture.org, and ...

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 ...

Posted Oct. 16, 2018, 8 a.m. by Roberta Cannon | View Comments
Female student in a lotus yoga position.

While there are many programs to help support teens through the various challenges of adolescence, mindfulness has become more popular over the last few years as a way to deal with pressures such as stress and bullying. “Mindfulness or mindful awareness is paying attention on purpose to what’s happening right now, internally and externally,” said Katie Medlar, director of school and community-based programs at Calmer Choice on Cape Cod. “We do this with kindness and curiosity for ourselves and others.” Calmer Choice is a nonprofit organization that sponsors secular mindfulness programs in more than 28 schools, for 15,000 students and ...

Posted Oct. 9, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Computer keyboard with Apply Now button

To help you and your student prepare for this season of college applications, it’s important to understand any changes in the application requirements and formats. There are four college applications currently available to students: The Common Application, The Coalition Application, the Universal Application, and college-specific applications. Each year, the applications offer changes and upgrades to the previous year, and the 2018-19 application season is no different. Following are some changes to note for this year’s applications. The Common Application The 2018-19 Common App launched on August 1. This is the most widely used application by prospective college students because you ...

Posted Oct. 5, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
calendar showing November 2018

Early Decision has become more and more popular among students applying to college. A vast majority of students are opting to apply Early Decision to their first-choice colleges in order to get an answer before Jan. 1, rather than waiting for the regular college application cycle in the spring. But when students apply Early Decision, it’s a commitment to the college. If accepted, they promise to attend that college and agree to not apply to any other colleges. What are the deadlines for Early Decision? Early Decision application deadlines are usually prior to Nov. 1. The deadlines for Early Decision ...

Posted Sept. 27, 2018, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Two girls celebrating SAT results in school corridor

Parents and students worry and fret over the SAT test. Parents nag students to study and prepare. Students worry that their scores won’t be good enough to get them into the college of their choice. The SAT test and scoring is a topic of conversation among all parents of college-bound teens. Every student dreams of the perfect SAT score of 1600; but not all can achieve perfection. Since most teens don’t fall into the perfect score category, what is a top score, a good score, an average score and a bad score? The SAT is scored on a scale of ...

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