I am no stranger to dealing with stressed out students. When my sons were in high school, most of their stress was associated with sports and girls. Fortunately, they both thrived on competition and responded well to incentives, so whenever their grades started to slip, I simply offered a monetary reward or threatened to bench them if they did not take their studies seriously; it always did the trick. Now, it’s my daughter’s turn, but unlike her brothers, her stress is mostly confined to academics. Gabby is a sophomore at one of the best International Baccalaureate (IB) schools in the country, Paxon School for Advanced Studies. She came to the school from an IB middle school with a perfect grade point average (GPA), so I thought she would be well prepared to handle the rigorous courses at Paxon. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. For the last three semesters, we have tried a variety of tactics to help her raise her GPA, including the incentives offered to her brothers, but her grades continued to slip. We took away her extracurricular activities, restricted her time with friends, and removed distractions from her room (television, computer, video games, etc.), but nothing worked. So, this semester, I decided to take a completely different approach. Read the rest of this entry »
For many parents, these next few weeks will be a whirlwind of emotions; there are sure to be some tears and maybe even a few arguments, as high school seniors across the country get ready to take on the world. It doesn’t seem that long ago that these same students clung to their parents legs, begging them not to go (remember kindergarten?). Where did the time fly? Now, seniors can’t wait to leave their parents behind and start a new adventure. Although these past 18 years may have been filled with ups and downs (no child is perfect!), it’s time for parents to celebrate this milestone and show their children how proud they are of their accomplishments. Choosing the perfect graduation gift, however, can be a bit tricky. After consulting several soon-to-be graduates, I think I have created a list of potential items that every high school senior would be grateful to receive. Read the rest of this entry »
I recently purchased a new vehicle, but it wasn’t an easy process. I actually started researching possible models and taking test drives back in October. For three months, I contemplated which one would be right for me and how much I would be willing to pay for a new car. By the time the holidays passed, I still hadn’t made my decision, so I tabled it for a few months. In early April, I pulled out my brochures and notes, carefully reviewing my thoughts about what I liked and disliked, and headed back out to retest my top five contenders. Three weeks later, I drove off the lot with my new car. For a few days, I was excited about my new toy, but I soon started to second-guess my decision.
This weekend is Mother’s Day, and if you are a graduating high school senior, it may be particularly hard on your mom this year. She’s watched you grow from a fussy baby to a rambunctious toddler to a young adult who’s ready to leave for college in a few months. Don’t be surprised if you catch her looking through photo albums or complaining about ‘watery eyes’ from allergies; she’s simply trying to take in every last moment of your childhood while she can. Letting go isn’t easy for most mothers, so be patient with yours and take a little extra time this Mother’s Day to show her how much you appreciate her. A great way to express your gratitude for everything she does for you is to make something from scratch. It will probably be less expensive than any store bought gift, and mean so much more to her because you took the time to make it. Here are just a few ideas that may inspire you. Read the rest of this entry »
Seniors, can you believe that in a few short weeks you’ll be graduating from high school? It probably seems like it was just yesterday that you were all wandering the halls of your schools as timid freshmen, hoping to make some new friends and not get lost on your way to class. For some of you, the road to senior year may have been a bit bumpy; for others, these have been the best years of your life. Now, four years later, here you all are again, ready to make the transition to being the new faces on campus. I am quite sure most of you are looking forward to embracing college life, but there are probably some things you’ll miss about high school, too. Over the next few weeks, be sure to take some time to enjoy your final moments as high school seniors and create some lasting memories with your friends. A great way to do this is by creating a bucket list. Here are just a few suggestions of some fun things you may want to add to your list and accomplish before walking across the stage to get your diploma. Read the rest of this entry »
There’s one question every high school student asks at some point, ‘What do colleges look for in applicants?’ If I knew the perfect formula, I would be a millionaire, but alas, there is no easy answer; each college has its own unique way of determining who gets in and who gets a rejection letter. There are, however, certain things students can do to help improve their odds. Most students know that their college applications are a key component to gaining admission. Their essays, recommendation letters and personal statements will all factor into the final decision, but college officials will be also looking for other qualities when determining which students are right for their campuses. The following factors often carry a lot of weight in the college admissions process. Read the rest of this entry »
If you spend any time on social media, you know that high school seniors everywhere are announcing to the world how excited they are to be leaving for college soon; they talk about decorating dorm rooms and having no curfew, eagerly anticipating the day they are finally free from their parents and the confines of secondary school. It really doesn’t seem that long ago that I too was counting down the days until my high school graduation; I couldn’t wait to live on my own and make my own choices. I soon found out, however, that college isn’t the four-year party that’s depicted in most Hollywood movies. Now, I’m not saying that it’s all work and no play, but you have to get your priorities straight, especially if you plan to graduate on time. Yes, there will be time to socialize, but you may be surprised to find that your schedule is much more limited than you anticipated. To make sure you are prepared for the changes ahead, let’s look at how both differ in the following areas. Read the rest of this entry »
If you look around any college campus these days, you are bound to see students with their faces buried in their smart phones or tablets. Most are reviewing their text messages, checking in on Facebook or tweeting about their day. Few, however, are engaged in an actual conversation with other students who are physically sitting within a few feet from them. Welcome to the new college campus, courtesy of social media. It’s as if Alvin Toffler’s The Third Wave was coming true before our eyes, as the members of the next generation slowly loses their ability to communicate without the use of electronic devices.
Long gone are the days of students arriving on campus without any preconceived notions about their roommate or professors; a few quick searches on Google and RateMyProfessors.com can give any student enough information to form an opinion about someone without ever meeting him/her face-to-face. Some might suggest this is a good thing, but I beg to differ. Read the rest of this entry »
Many high school students across the country are now expected to perform a certain number of community service hours prior to graduation. Although some may moan and groan about having to ‘work for free,’ there are actually several good reasons why school districts have added volunteer service to their list of graduation requirements. Aside from the obvious benefits of learning to work with others and helping people within the community, students can also grow personally, develop better self-esteem, and see first-hand how one person can make a difference. Additional benefits include networking, leadership opportunities, and the chance to learn new skills, all of which look great on a college application. Volunteers are a vital part of every community, helping to provide services to others and reduce costs to many organizations. April may be designated National Volunteer Month, but students are needed to help every day of the year. For those interested in finding opportunities in their area, here is a list of websites that help match students with organizations that need volunteers. Read the rest of this entry »
April is an exciting month for most high school seniors. Most have received their college acceptance letters and are making their final decisions on where they will attend college this fall. Unfortunately, some students have not been so lucky; some are still sweating it out, hoping to make it off the waiting list, or worse, they’ve only received college rejection letters. There are a number of reasons why students may not have been accepted to the colleges on their lists. They may have applied to some of the more selective schools, believing that they would be among the chosen few that are offered admission, or they may have submitted applications that were riddled with grammatical errors. Whatever the reasons, these students now find themselves in a bit of a quandary. Fortunately, not all is lost; there is still plenty of time for them to make alternate arrangements or change their course of action for the fall. Here are just a few options students have when they find that they have not been accepted to their chosen schools. Read the rest of this entry »