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Helping Your Teen Succeed in High School

By: Aurelia Category: Parenting A Teen, Teen Education, Teen Must Read Articles

You know your teen can handle the work, you know your teen knows what to do, yet you watch your teen fall short of meeting a certain educational goal. Many parents have witnessed this over the course of parenting their teens and many parents find it hard to endure a teen whom they feel isn’t trying their hardest. If you observe your teen refusing to do homework or making more out of an assignment than there really is, this is often a way of expressing their confusion, frustrations and at times, anger.

Under-achievement in teens can be caused by many things:

Emotional discomfort. A teen who has experienced a life changing event (addition to the family, a family loss, divorce…etc) is very likely to go through a period of educational underachievement.

High parental expectations. Many times parents put too much pressure on their teen to make a certain grade, excel in a certain subject or sport or perhaps pick a certain career path and this can have a negative impact on the teen. If the academic pressures on your teen are too strong, your teen may feel the need to rebel.

Undiagnosed learning disabilities – there are time where a mild learning disabilities is missed in lower level schooling or there could be a physical hindrance such as poor eyesight or hearing difficulty.

Peer pressure. Pure and simple, there is good peer pressure and there is negative peer pressure. Many teens feel that the smarter they are, that some of their friends won’t like them. They may feel the need to perform at a certain level to feel accepted into a certain clique of friends.

If you notice your teen becoming an underachiever, first check in with your teen to see if there is something that you can do to help. Communicate with your teen about how he or she is feeling about school overall and ask them if there are any problems.

You can then speak with your child’s teacher at school to see if there are areas where extra help would be beneficial. Many schools offer free tutoring services. There are many times that an underachieving teen has hit a downward spiral because they are disorganized and find it hard to keep up with the schoolwork and other activities they are involved in.

While it may be hard for some parents to digest, not all children are academically inclined. Even if your child isn’t a scholar, that doesn’t mean that they can’t excel in many other areas. If you tune into your child, you can help them find out exactly what they are good at and passionate about. Letting your child know that doing their best is good enough and if their best IS a C then that is OK will go a long way with your child. It will encourage your child to try their very best and it will alleviate some of the pressures that they feel which may cause your child to rebel or shut down completely.

Many teens that are underachieving will see that it will affect their self esteem in a negative way. If you teen has low self esteem, offering them emotional and comfort will help them greatly. The best way to let your child know that you love them is to shower them with acceptance. Make sure that no matter what grades your child brings home, that doesn’t mean that you love him or her any less.

Help your teen manage his/her schedule better. Make sure that they have everything they need to stay as organized as possible. Help them to set goals for themselves as it pertains to school (grades, study habits..etc). You can even suggest that your teen start up a study group and offer to host it at your home.

The key here is to try everything that you can and to find out why your teen is not living up to their potential in school. If after working on this and tackling it from many angles, you feel your teen isn’t making any process, you may then want to consult a professional to see if there are some other issues causing the problems. You can seek professional support from a school counselor, doctor, therapist or clergy.

As a proactive parent we must seek resources to help our child take an interest in learning, growing and becoming independent. Being an informed parent is one of the 1st steps to ensuring your child has a brighter future.

Struggling To Help Your Teen In High School? Get help now. The Real Life Guidance to Helping Your Teen In High School report is available for easy and instant download to your computer.

 

Tips for college bound students

By: Aurelia Category: Parenting A Teen, Teen Education

(BPT) – Transitioning from high school to college is a big deal. Beyond the overwhelming college application process, many students wrestle with questions about their major, career goals, moving away from home and financing college expenses.

Many college officials worry that high school students are not prepared for college. They say the key to a successful college experience is preparation.

“College is about finding out what you love,” says Sean Wagner, associate vice president of Phi Delta Theta, an international fraternity serving more than 11,000 students. “Instead of looking back from where you came, you need to imagine where you’ll be and set your mind toward achieving those goals. A huge part of this is networking – connecting with other students, professors and alumni who believe in you and can help you toward establishing your career.”

Preparing college students for a successful college experience is the focus of a free guidebook called “A College-Bound Guide to Achieving Your Dreams,” available at www.thegreatestu.com. Here are some other practical tips for college-bound students:

Begin early. Don’t wait until your senior year in high school to start thinking about college and what you want to do for a career. Start researching colleges and seeking informational interviews with people who are working in the career field that you’re interested in pursuing.

Map out your goals and dreams. Think about where you want to be at commencement and work backwards. In other words, do you see yourself in a great job? Do you see yourself heading to law or medical school? Going into the military? Seek help from your college career center and find a trusted mentor in your career field who can offer insight and advice on your plan.

Think networking. In college, you need to start building your professional network. Build relationships with classmates, professors, alumni and others you meet who can help connect you with potential employers. Open a Linkedin account to start building your professional profile. If you have a Facebook account, take greater care in what you post. Future employers regularly look at the Facebook profiles of potential candidates.

Make your summers count. The students who graduate with jobs usually have one thing in common – they had internships and professor-led research projects in the career field of their choice. Don’t wait until your senior year in college – start building your resume with career-related part-time jobs, internships and research projects in your freshman year.

Build relationships with professors. Having strong working relationships with your professors is critical to the early stages of your career development. Professors can write letters of recommendation for scholarships, summer research programs and grad school.-They also can serve as references in a job search. To connect with professors, start by getting to know upper classmen, who can offer advice about meeting professors and tapping your school’s career resources.

Join professional societies. Clubs and student-led professional societies offer opportunities for students to learn more about their career path and meet professionals.

Get familiar with college life. The more you can familiarize yourself with the college you’re attending, the more confident you’ll feel. If you can, visit the college campus before school starts and take part in orientation sessions.

Get your financial house in order. Work with your parents and the school’s financial aid department to make sure all of your finances are in order before you start school. Open a checking account before college starts with a debit card to manage money you’ll need for dining out, tickets and shopping. Learn budgeting skills and develop a plan to graduate with as little debt as possible.

Surround yourself with people who will support you. Find people who have goals and aspirations similar to yours. A great place to start is fraternities and sororities. Contrary to pop culture perceptions, many fraternities and sororities offer fellowship, active participation in college activities and generally, opportunities to build your study skills. Use the summer before you start college to reach out to fraternities and sororities on campus to learn what they have to offer.

Get involved. College is a great place to learn what you’re passionate about. If you enjoyed an activity in high school like student council or Model UN or if you love to go downhill skiing, start researching clubs and teams that you can join.

Additional Resources

Instant College Admission Essay Kit : Admission essay/personal statement writing kit with 33 downloadable templates that can save applicants hundreds of dollars.

Official SAT Study Guide For the New SAT The Official SAT Study Guide is the only book that features official SAT practice tests created by the test maker. It’s packed with the information students need to get ready for the exam. They’ll gain valuable experience by taking eight practice tests and receiving estimated scores. With 900 pages and 21 chapters, the book helps students raise their confidence by reviewing concepts, test-taking approaches, and focused sets of practice questions.

Tips for Applying To College

By: Aurelia Category: Parenting A Teen, Teen Education

(BPT) – High school seniors are faced with making the first of many life-changing decisions: “Which college should I go to?” With more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. to choose from, finding the “Dream U” may be a daunting task. The truth is the perfect university doesn’t exist, but with the right guidance and resources, students can find many colleges where they can be successful and thrive.

So what factors should college-bound teens consider when making their wish list? It’s not the school with the best parties, weather or where their best friend or boyfriend is applying.

According to one of the nation’s top college admissions consultants, Dr. Katherine Cohen, CEO and founder of IvyWise and LinkedIn Higher Ed Expert, it all comes down to academic, social and financial fit.

“Imagine you’re starting college tomorrow,” Dr. Cohen says. “Which courses would you take? Who would you be excited to study with? Are there research, internship and study abroad opportunities offered in your areas of interest? Which extracurricular activities would you take advantage of on and off campus? Have you had an open conversation with your parents about their expected financial contribution?”

If they do their research correctly, students should end up with a list of 12 to 15 good-fit schools, a balance of reach, target and likely schools, any of which they’d be happy to attend, says Dr. Cohen. For students who aren’t sure exactly where to begin, she offers the following tips:

Get your computer, tablet or smartphone and get online

It’s never too early for students to begin researching schools. Thanks to the Internet, students have a wealth of information readily available at their fingertips. They can visit college websites, page through online course catalogs and even take virtual campus tours. Students can also get a real student perspective and good sense of campus culture by reading the school newspaper and blog online.

LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, provides aspiring students with the opportunity to make informed decisions on which universities, majors and skills will help them achieve professional success – making college matchmaking even easier. The company’s newly launched LinkedIn University Pages allows higher education institutions to have dedicated pages so they can build their community and directly engage with prospective students, current students, parents and alumni. University Pages allows college-bound teens to access important information on colleges, such as the cost of tuition, notable alumni and more. They can also gain valuable insights on what it’s really like on campus by connecting with current students and recent graduates, and trace the educational and professional paths of notable alumni by following the most influential business leaders and company pages.

Be a student on campus, even if for a day

Students will likely be spending four years of their lives at college, and nothing beats the gut check that comes with an in-person campus visit. Students should plan on visiting the schools that they are considering seriously while school is in session. It’s important to attend both the official information session and the campus tour, as it shows demonstrated interest in the school. However, students should also make time to explore the campus and local community on their own.

Do’s and don’ts of a campus visit: Do forgo the urge to stay in an expensive hotel and eat in a four-star restaurant. Don’t miss the opportunity to have a meal with current students in the campus dining hall, audit a class in a topic of interest and spend a night in a campus dorm room. Do take lots of photos and copious notes. Don’t let mom and dad ask all the questions. Do wear comfortable shoes.

Alumni networks, a secret weapon

Alumni networks are a great resource for college-bound students that often go untapped. Students should talk to their college guidance counselor and see if there are any alumni from their high school who currently attend or have recently attended the colleges that interest them. These alumni often come from a similar background and can talk about what the transition to the college was like for them. They may also be willing to host an overnight stay.

Not sure what to study or major in? Network in a field of choice or in a few that are of interest. Professional associations for undergraduates and LinkedIn can help students connect with people who can provide insight into a profession – and who may be potential employers in the future.

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all college. If students take the time to do their research early on in the admissions process, they will be happily attending a good fit college come orientation.

Additional Resources:

College Funding Advice

Financial Aid Information Site:  One-stop shop for anything about college financial aid. Learn how you can quickly and easily get more Financial Aid without having to apply for thousands of scholarships!

Instant College Admission Essay Kit : Admission essay/personal statement writing kit with 33 downloadable templates that can save applicants hundreds of dollars.

Official SAT Study Guide For the New SAT The Official SAT Study Guide is the only book that features official SAT practice tests created by the test maker. It’s packed with the information students need to get ready for the exam. They’ll gain valuable experience by taking eight practice tests and receiving estimated scores. With 900 pages and 21 chapters, the book helps students raise their confidence by reviewing concepts, test-taking approaches, and focused sets of practice questions.

College Planning For Freshmen

By: Aurelia Category: Money Management, Parenting A Teen, Teen Education

You may not be thinking of college yet, as your child enters his Freshman year in high school, but you should be. In fact, you can’t start planning too early if you want to get into a good college with maximum financial assistance. It’s important to understand the things that colleges look at, the one your child wants to go to in particular, so that you can start working on that all important “college resume”.

GPA — Everything that your child has accomplished up until this point is wiped clean. Colleges are going to look at your child’s combined GPA from Freshman year through the first half of their senior year for entrance. Time to start the year out on the right foot shooting for as many A’s as possible on that report card.

Class Schedule — Another factor that colleges look at, aside from GPA, is the difficulty of the courses. If your child has a 3.5 GPA in all honor’s courses this will be ranked higher than if your child took all of the easiest classes and had a 4.0. Your child should take the hardest classes he
believes he can take while maintaining as close to a 4.0 average as possible.

Caution: Some schools weight honors courses, but colleges will not weight them in the same way.

Class Rank — Where your child ranks with his classmates is also an important factor. Your child should shoot to be in the top 10 percent of his or her class in order to be competitive for more exclusive private colleges. Especially, if you need financial assistance for those expensive choices. If your family earns less than 45,000 dollars a year there will be great options for your child who is in the top 10 percent of his school.

Extracurricular Activities — Colleges want to choose well-rounded individuals to fill its student body. Try to pick only one or two and excel in them rather than picking many activities and being only mediocre. You want to stand out in your extracurricular activities. You want to be an officer in the club, or to have started the club yourself. You want to be the captain of the team, not a bench warmer.

Testing — Start now prepping for any tests that you have to take to get into your college of choice. Sadly, for most schools entrance and scholarships remain dependent on excellent test scores on the ACT or the SAT. In fact, you can have a 4.0 and do poorly on these tests and wind up without any scholarship money. Don’t underestimate the importance of these tests.

Jobs — Most colleges actually do weight a job positively in with the rest of the activities that you do. So, if your student does not come from a family with means, it’s okay. The fact that your child works will be weighted in there as a good thing, especially if your child has managed to
keep a job long term or chose out of the box type jobs that gives them experience in their chosen field of study.

In addition, start exploring college options. If your child is not sure what college he or she wants to attend, or what he or she wants to study, there is still plenty of time to explore options while focusing on taking the most difficult courses available in high school, especially when it relates to math and science. Don’t discount options that you may not have heard of in the past such as an accredited online college option, or a small private school that focuses on giving less advantaged children opportunities if you fit into that category.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Helping Your Teen Stay Focused on What’s Important

College Funding Advice

SAT Scores and Teens

By: Aurelia Category: Parenting A Teen, Teen Education

The weight of a high SAT score might seem insignificant if pricey tuition isn’t a problem and your student can boast a transcript filled with As, a resume filled with part-time jobs, an active social life and a leadership position in high school. But SAT scores do more than award your teen with scholarship money and ensure he or she will get into a local university. According to a recent Forbes.com article, a higher SAT score can mean a higher salary in the future.

How Important Is Your SAT Score?

Though admissions offices are generally tight lipped about exactly how much SAT scores matter, we know high school grades and participation, ethnicity and family educational history play a large part in determining college admittance, along with standardized test scores and personal application essays.

But what if your student is like the younger-version of Bob Parsons? For those who are unaware, Parsons is the founder of the Internet hosting site GoDaddy.com. What if your student is focused, driven and gets decent grades, but doesn’t stand out on paper?

If your student fits into the all-American average student with a respectable GPA, reasonable amount of club activity and successful parents who attended college themselves, he or she is likely to be accepted to several universities of his or her choice. In this case, it isn’t first-generation education pursuits or family background that will set your child apart. Admittance is inevitable, but to which university is questionable; here lies the value of good SAT prep.

The Stats

Found on PayScale.com is median starting salary data and median mid-career salary data for bachelors degree graduates of most U.S. colleges and universities. Paired with the Chronicle of Higher Education, which has a searchable tuition database, and schools that provide the 25th and 75th percentiles (usually called the “middle 50 percent”) of their admitted students’ SAT scores, college hopefuls can easily narrow their university choices based on SAT scores, tuition price and future salary expectations.

Take for example the scenario in the Forbes’ article: a student’s SAT scores are 1700, which puts her in a good position for admission to Adelphi University where the middle percent SAT scores fall between 1480-1780. According to PayScale.com, the median salary for graduates right out of college is $46,000 and grows to $83,500 mid career.

But, with that SAT score, she might not make it into her preferred school, Stony Brook University, which has a middle percent of 1660-1970. PayScale lists Stony Brook graduates’ median pay to be $45,800 out of college and $91,000 mid career.

SAT Prep

In this situation, how much would it be worth to pay for SAT prep classes and what might be the value of a score increase? According to Forbes, more than $100,000 in future earnings.

With that data in hand, selecting a university to attend becomes much easier and SAT preparation has more purpose. This information can help students and families decide which is more suitable for them: a university that admits applicants with lower SAT scores but averages less pay for its graduates or a university that requires higher test scores but averages more pay. The two don’t always go hand in hand, but often the higher the SAT score the higher the chance of getting into a university that produces graduates earning higher median salaries.

“For almost everyone except test prep professionals, actual scores wont be worth a hill of beans once acceptance letters are sent out,” said Mike McClenathan from Forbes. “But where those acceptance letters come from might or might not be worth a great deal.”

Tips and Tools

To help teenagers stay motivated to study, encourage a variety of practice. Besides just taking tests online, students can download SAT practice apps on their mobile devices. Yourteacher.com’s SAT app focuses on math while Superkids.com offers SAT vocabulary flashcards and matching games to help students study and learn more than 1,000 words frequently found on the test. Another popular app that is said to be less fun but more helpful is the Princeton Review’s SAT Score Quest for iPad. Offering abbreviated practice tests for each of the SAT’s subjects math, writing and critical reading the app can help students realize possible areas of weakness. The app also lists the logic behind each correct answer and teaches strategy for answering questions.