TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time

Category: Tutoring & Test Prep

Posted Sept. 22, 2015, 8 a.m. by James Paterson | View Comments
test-optional colleges

It seems like a great idea: A college policy that allow students to choose if they want test scores to be considered in the application process, easing pressure and leveling the playing field, especially for students who just aren’t great at taking tests. While the trend keeps growing, however, some schools are tightening the requirements and some critics are saying colleges are benefitting more than students. In the long run, the policy will probably mean more schools will have test-optional policies but will be more restrictive about it and have skewed numbers to promote themselves. The concept, which first was ...

Posted Sept. 15, 2015, 8 a.m. by John Cho | View Comments
AP US History Exam

Last year, College Board rolled out its new Advanced Placement U.S. History exam. This move prompted a wave of criticism from teachers all around the country. Many complained that the new AP history curriculum focused too heavily on “alternative narratives” instead of telling the true (a k a old white male) story of our proud nation. I won't say a lot here other than that view sounds a bit too much like Arizona (no, not the tea). Others, however, offered a more legitimate critique: College Board simply wasn't providing enough resources for students to succeed on this new exam. Teachers, ...

Posted Sept. 11, 2015, 8 a.m. by Alex Thaler | View Comments
college application apps

Fzzzztt! Sparks are flying out of my computer like it’s the Fourth of July and after a few seconds the plastic around the keyboard begins to transform into a molten soup of graphite-colored pudding. I work with high school seniors and counselors. As my laptop spirals down into an epic – and literal – meltdown, I can’t help but wonder what this sort of catastrophe would have meant for the college applicants of the past (i.e. before the year 2000). It would have been horrendous. Fortunately, the advent of cloud-based apps has solved the fried-laptop problem, as well as the ...

Posted Sept. 7, 2015, 8 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Junior Year

If your teen will be a junior this year, you might think you have a year before you need to start thinking about college prep. Wrong. Junior year is when you should hit the ground running. This year sets the stage for the all-important senior year when college applications are submitted. Getting all your ducks in a row during junior year will make the application process smoother and help to present your student in the best possible light. The Junior Year GPA College admissions counselors look hard at the GPA from junior year. It’s an important year to show them ...

Posted Aug. 12, 2015, 8 a.m. by Anthony-James Green | View Comments
Preparing for the SAT and ACT

The SAT and ACT have somehow earned monster status in the minds of most high school students. Need proof? “My daughter is a great student - but she’s not a very good tester.” How often have you heard that? The implication is that studying for the SAT and studying for tests at school are two completely different types of tasks. How else to explain that Eliza gets A-pluses on all of her Latin and math tests, but is only in the 40th percentile on her PSATs? In reality, the fundamental natures of the SAT/ACT and tests at school are exactly ...

Posted July 16, 2015, 8 a.m. by Alex Thaler | View Comments
7 changes in the common app

The Common Application recently announced some important changes for the upcoming admissions season based on feedback from students and nearly 600 member colleges. Although the new Common App won’t “go live” until Aug. 1, these changes have important implications for students getting a head start on their college application essays. Here are the updates: 1. Revised essay prompts Minor changes have been made to essays No. 1 and No. 2. There are no changes in No. 3 and No. 5. The No. 4 essay, however, has been completely revamped. Here’s a comparison. The changed language is in italics. No. 1: ...

Posted July 11, 2015, 9 a.m. by Ethan Sawyer | View Comments
Doing it Right on Your College Essay

Download Now that's doing something right. In Part 1 of this post we talked about how not to write your essay. Time for the positive part, the what-you-should-do-instead. First, a quick recap of what to avoid doing on your college essay: Don’t write it like an AP English paper. Don’t write about your tennis/violin/mission trip in a way that sounds like everyone else. Don’t think that writing about how your turtle/grandmother/friend died that you will automatically get in. You’ve got to do more. You might be #DoingitRight if... You avoid sounding like an AP English essay. Write like you talk. ...

Posted July 10, 2015, 8 a.m. by Ethan Sawyer | View Comments
Three Signs Your College Essay is #DoingitWrong

Download What does #DoingItWrong look like? Well, like that. So how do you know if your college essay is destined for a meme poster? You might be #DoingItWrong if... 1. Your personal statement sounds like an AP English paper. And what do AP English papers do? They use a five paragraph intro-body-conclusion structure. They avoid use of the word “I.” They sound suuuuuuper analytical. Don’t do that on your college essay. Instead, make it more like a personal memoir, a Fresh Air interview, or a work of creative nonfiction. So get personal, get fresh, and get creative. First, here’s how ...

Posted May 18, 2015, 8 a.m. by Robert Kohen | View Comments
Seven Questions To Ask Before You Hire That SAT or ACT Tutor

With summer fast approaching, this is the time many parents begin to look for an SAT or ACT tutor. If you’re one of those parents, chances are you may have already heard from a friend or teacher about a tutor in your area. Before you sign your child up for tutoring, however, you’ll want to make sure the tutor is worth the investment. Here are seven critical questions that you should ask any SAT or ACT tutor before making the hire: 1. Do you use real test questions? Some tutors and tutoring companies produce all of their teaching materials in-house. ...

Posted April 24, 2015, 8 a.m. by Steve Samaniego | View Comments
4 Reasons for Summer Tutoring

For most kids, academics are the furthest things from their mind over the summer, which is why it’s the job of the parents to put their best interests forward. While you might be tempted to let your child have some downtime, the truth is that during the summer there is plenty of time to go around. They can have their relaxing break and prepare for the upcoming school year at the same time. Here are some reasons why education should still be a priority during the summer. 1. The Summer Brain Drain Studies have shown that students lose roughly half ...

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