TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time

Category: Tutoring & Test Prep

Posted Oct. 12, 2015, 8 a.m. by John Cho | View Comments
4 tips for writing a research paper

In 10th grade, I took AP World History and had to write my very first major research paper. I was overwhelmed and stressed out of my mind. How would I possibly get the required 15 sources about Fidel Castro’s early political philosophy? I soon found out, however, that the research process is actually quite straightforward if you have a process. 1) Pick a great topic This seems like a moot point, but it’s really not. Picking an appropriate topic is essential: not too broad, not too narrow. If you decide to research an overly narrow topic such as, “The significance ...

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 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

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. (Like ...

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

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 not ...

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 ...

Posted Jan. 21, 2015, 9 a.m. by Nicolaus Jannasch | View Comments
how to study more efficiently

With college admissions being more competitive than ever, high school students have to take on the challenge of taking more rigorous classes. The only problem with that is that there are only 24 hours in a day—sometimes there is just not enough time to study for all of your classes before a big test or an exam. Too often, students make the mistake of pulling all-nighters and cramming everything in the night before, which is the worst mistake a student can make. These following tips can actually help you study more with less time. 1. Create Mnemonics Mnemonics are ways ...

Posted Sept. 26, 2014, 11 a.m. by Randi Mazzella | View Comments
ACT vs. SAT: Which Test Is Right for Your Teen?

Even though the SAT and ACT are both nationally recognized college admission tests, the tests are very different. While some colleges and universities have decided to become “test optional” (see list below), the majority of schools still require applicants to submit a standardized admission test score. How can parents help teens choose which test is right for them? What are the main differences between the ACT and the SAT? The SAT will be undergoing major changes in 2016. But for now it remains the same test as in prior years. Both tests have a math, reading, and writing component (although ...

Posted Aug. 1, 2014, 10 a.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
taking a standardized test

In the past few years, and increasing number of selective colleges and universities have adopted test-optional policies, no longer requiring students to submit their standardized test scores. Institutions eliminating or de-emphasizing standardized tests often cite a lack of confidence in the SAT’s and ACT’s ability to predict college success and/or a desire to improve campus diversity. Test-optional schools are still a minority in American higher education, but their numbers are growing and now include several highly desirable and ultra-competitive institutions. College Transitions recently published a complete list of selective, test-optional colleges. TeenLife also recently published the blog Test-Optional May Not ...

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