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Suzanne Shaffer has been a member since April 8th 2011, and has created 952 posts from scratch.

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Watch for Pre-College Anxiety This Summer


pre-college anxiety

High school graduation is here and parents are proudly snapping photos, bragging about which college their student will attend, and basking in the fact that they raised a successful high school graduate. Then comes the summer before college . . .

Right now, your student is probably looking forward to “gelling” during the summer: spending time with friends free from the worries and stresses of the past year. Some students will be looking forward with anticipation to the fall and becoming a college student. But others might be experiencing noticeable pre-college anxiety about this next big step.

It happened in my house. My daughter dreamed of going to college in Boston. She worked hard during high school and her dream became a reality. The campus was gorgeous, the academics were superb, and the student body was a perfect fit for her. The icing on the cake was the many Greek organizations on campus. Her grandmother was a Zeta and she always dreamed of following in her footsteps in college.

But as the summer dragged on, I began to notice measurable hesitancy on her part. She didn’t want to discuss the topic of college. She started voicing thoughts of transferring after the first semester to a college in her home state. She didn’t want to start discussing dorm specifics or communicate with her future roommate. What was happening?

If you start seeing any red flags like these, you should ask yourself, “What’s really going on?” Is it simply nervousness related to the change? Is there another person or persons influencing her sudden change in mood or direction? Is she truly changing her mind about college and you need to discuss other options with her?

Once you diagnose the problem, it should be easier to determine what action you need to take.

I’ve outlined the six red flags in this article I wrote for Teen Life Magazine: Watch for These 6 Red Flags the Summer Before College. If your student is exhibiting any of these symptoms, take action. Don’t assume they will pass. Start a non-judgmental conversation and listen to what he is feeling.

My daughter and I were able to find the cause of her problem and I was able to ease her concerns. Just because the decision was made in May to go to college, keep an eye out during the summer before college for any signs of pre-college anxiety.

10 Books for Parents of Soon-to-Be College Students


books for parentsIt’s graduation gift time. High school students are graduating with aspirations of college in the fall. Graduation gift guides are dominating the online world. But why not treat yourself to a few gifts that will help you with the transition from high school to college?

These books for parents should provide great summer reading and future reference as your teen heads to college in the fall:

Naked Roommate: For Parents Only

If your child is starting life in college, there’s a surprise around every corner…But that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared! This book is a witty and wise guide to everything you need to know about the college experience. Harlan Cohen, America’s most trusted college life expert, delivers the best advice, facts, stats, tips, and stories from parents, students, and experts across the country to ensure that you and your child will have an incredible and meaningful college experience.


Parents of College Students Survival Stories

Wendy David-Gaines, the author, is famous for exposing the cliches about college. After giving the cliche, she gives you the “POCS reality”. In her book, Wendy does this effectively by compiling actual parent stories. The stories (both from pre-POCS and POCS) are simple, light-hearted, often humorous and an easy read. But here’s the clincher–they provide parents with added insight into each individual situation.


University Parent Guide to Supporting Your Student’s Freshman Year

This guide is divided into time segments throughout your student’s first year of college: summer, early fall, late fall, and spring. Each division provides parents with all the information they need help their student through each segment of the first year of college.

The summer segment (Get Ready), deals with topics related to the changes you will face as your role changes, what to expect at orientation, roommates, budgeting, and campus culture. The fall segment (Settling In), discusses topics like move-in day, greek life, parent visits, and how to deal with struggling students. The late fall segment (Adjusting), deals with care packages, holidays, diet and exercise, studying abroad. The spring segment (Looking Forward), talks about sophomore topics like housing, student stress, transferring and student loans. The final chapter gives you areas to write down phone numbers, important dates and a typical 4-year checklist.


Secrets of a Financial Aid Pro

Jodi Okun’s book launched today and the presales put it on the Amazon #1 Best Seller list. This book is more than help for financial aid questions. In it you can find out how to give your student the financial skills they’ll need for life, with talking points and scripts to help you with important conversations you need to have before college. Jodi provides parents with expert advice and in this book shares her experiences of helping parents pay for college.


Letting Go: A Parents’ Guide to Understanding he College Years

This bestselling guide has already helped hundreds of thousands of parents over the past decade, and it remains one of the best guides for parents of new college students. Now in its fourth edition, this guide is based on the real-world experiences of students and parents. It’s filled with practical, compassionate, and timely college tips for parents going through the college experience.


Don’t Tell Me What to Do, Just Send Money: The Essential Parenting Guide to the College Years

This book offers a whimsical, humorous, but also practical guide for parents with college-bound children. Featuring real-life examples and dialogues, the author provides parents with need-to-know fundamentals as their student goes off to college.


You’re On Your Own (But I’m Here if You Need Me)

Many parents struggle with setting the appropriate boundaries for their college students and this book can be a big help. Marjorie Savage has some of the best college tips for parents on how to respect a student’s boundaries while still providing emotional support.


From Mom to Me Again

When her children left for college, Melissa Shultz was certain that she had prepared them well for their new lives-but her own life was a different matter entirely. Her house was empty, her purpose unclear. If her life was no longer dominated by the day-to-day demands of being “Mom,” then who exactly was she? And how would she ever move forward? Shultz’s struggle with the empty nest and the transformation of her marriage, friendships, career, and ultimately herself, is part memoir and part self-help guide.


How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success

In this book, Julie Lythcott-Haims draws on research, on conversations with admissions officers, educators, and employers, and on her own insights as a mother and as a student dean to highlight the ways in which overparenting harms children, their stressed-out parents, and society at large. While empathizing with the parental hopes and, especially, fears that lead to overhelping, Lythcott-Haims offers practical alternative strategies that underline the importance of allowing children to make their own mistakes and develop the resilience, resourcefulness, and inner determination necessary for success.


Debt Free U

Zac Bissonnette has seen the currently flawed system first hand. He’s a contrarian, and his book is packed with studies and statistics to back up his analysis. It’s a magical combination that college-bound students and their parents should read, even if there’s plenty of money set aside to pay the tuition tab. There’s no harm in learning ways to get the biggest bang for your buck and the best education available at the same time.

The Advantages of One-on-One Test Prep Tutoring


test prep tutoring

Standardized testing can be stressful at best, terrifying at worst. An experienced private tutor offers students a huge advantage with their preparation. By devising a blueprint to prepare for these exams, students can reduce anxiety and drastically improve their scores. Here are some advantages of one-on-one test prep tutoring:

Stress Reduction

As I mentioned previously, the amount of stress during college application time can be overwhelming. Your child not only has to deal with school, maybe a job, and also think about being accepted to college. A tutor will reduce the stress of having to figure out testing dates, scheduling, and will customize a study plan that is specific to your child’s needs. Your child will also feel more at ease knowing the material they will test on, which will ultimately increase their chances at a higher score.

Target Strengths & Weaknesses

No student learns the same. One one one tutoring is the most customizable way of learning. A tutor will assess the student’s strengths and weaknesses, and customize a study plan. Applying a customized plan, will help your child focus on areas that are challenging that they might have otherwise overlooked. Not all students gain the same knowledge in school.

Strategies That Work

A tutor will instill test taking tactics that will alleviate wasted time. Tutors not only teach vocabulary and math formulas but can also suggest new approaches and strategies for questions. This will in turn help with time management and better decisions during test time.

Quality in Teaching

You get to pick a tutor to best match your child’s learning style, schedule, and your budget. While your child might be in the ten percentile of their class, they are also competing with the rest of the students trying to get into the same college. Not all students get the same background knowledge needed to excel at standardized testing. A one on one tutor will focus on managing your child’s unique learning style.

Motivational Boost

The tutor – tutee relationship can give your child that motivational push by encouraging a higher level of thinking. A good tutor not only provides your child with test taking information and different approaches, but can also help as motivation in this sometimes overwhelming undertaking. Tutors have been in their shoes, and they know what it is to feel overwhelmed during this time.

College Scholarships

Let’s face it, college is expensive! However, some colleges and universities offer awards based on test scores. It is no secret that the higher a student scores the higher the chances of receiving scholarship awards. It is important to note that some colleges give automatic scholarships for SAT/ACT scores. Good test preparation will return more than its cost in scholarship awards.

Ultimately, a good one on one tutor will help your child target strengths and weaknesses, alleviate stress, promote motivation and provide test taking and study abilities they can utilize later in life. A good tutor will strengthen the pathway to your child’s college career.


Today’s guest post is from Idalia Gastelum, a private SAT tutor for Parliament Tutors. She offers tutoring in Miami, FL.

How to Excel in College


excel in college

It takes years of hard work to get into college and on the path to your dream career. If you’ve made it to college, congratulations are in order – you’ve passed high school and got onto the course you need to be on. Of course, once you’re in college there’s a lot of pressure to do well. Most of the pressure comes from the worry of not getting high enough grades, as college classes are a lot harder than high school ones. The difference in the level of learning can be a shock to the system when you first start college.

A lot of college students struggle to get the grades that they need, so if you’re finding it hard, you’re not alone. The good news is that in most cases, there are plenty of ways you can help to improve your grades. You’ll be amazed at how making a few small changes can have a big impact on how well you excel in college. Take the below tips on board and you can give your grades the boost that they need.

Go to class

This might be an obvious one, but it needs to be said. Lots of students skip classes and then wonder why they struggle to achieve good grades. If you want to do well at college, you need to attend all of your classes. Unless you’re sick, you have no excuse for not being there. If you’re serious about getting high grades, you need to make an effort to attend every class.

Copying your friend’s notes won’t let you catch up properly, as there will always be little things that you miss. The slides from the lecture might be uploaded onto the college internet, but that still won’t allow you to catch up completely. In class, there will be discussion, examples, and so on, that if you’re not there, you will miss. It’s simple, if you want to do well, you need to attend each and every class.

Understand each lecturer

Every lecturer or professor has a different method of teaching. If you’re going to do well, you need to make an effort to understand each lecturer’s way of teaching. Each professor wants something different from their students, so finding out what this is early, is a must. You’ll find that by understanding what your lecturers want from you, you’ll do better in their classes.

Your grades aren’t just down to assignments but also your in-class contribution. So it’s essential that you know what your professors want from you. Else, you could get marked down because you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be. Don’t be afraid to tell your professor that you’re struggling to keep up – they’re there to help you.

Get organized

Being a successful college student is all about learning to multi-task, and the key to this is organization. The chances are that at any one time, you’ll have various assignments to work on. That’s why it’s so important that you’re organized about your studies. Else, you’ll end up being overwhelmed with due dates and work that needs to be done; you might even forget something. If you’re organized about your studies, you can ensure that you spend adequate time working on each task. You won’t need to stress about forgetting anything, as you’ll have everything under control.

The best tools for staying organized while at college have to be planners. Day planners are fantastic as they allow you to schedule your classes, assignments dates, and any other tasks you need to do. There’s also room to jot down when you’re working. This allows you to ensure that you’re on top of everything and that nothing important gets missed out.

Use your time wisely

This links to organization. If you want to ensure that your grades are good, you need to use your time wisely. Of course, having a planner to schedule your time helps with this, but that’s not all it takes. In periods of free time, if you have a task to do, complete it. Don’t waste your time, use every minute wisely.

Of course, you need time to chill out and see your friends, but that shouldn’t take up a large part of your day. You need to prioritize your time, so that your studies always come first. It’s also important to break big projects into smaller parts, and schedule time to focus on each part. This makes getting the work done easier, as it won’t be too overwhelming.

Take notes in class

Another important reason for ensuring that you’re in every class is taking notes. If you want to ensure that you remember everything from the lecture, you need to note the important things down. This will mean that when you come to write an assignment, you can look back at the notes you’ve taken in class about the topic.

After class, it’s worth typing up your notes. For each class, write the notes up on your computer and save them in a file with the module name. That way, should you lose your notebook, you’ll have all your notes safely stored. You could opt to print them out for revision and use them to make mind maps and memory cards.

Improve your essay writing

A large chunk of your overall grade is down to your essays and assignments. This means that if you want to do well, you need to ensure that your writing is at a high standard. It’s not just about improving your writing style and tone; you also need to think about your punctuation and grammar. To improve your punctuation and grammar, Grammarly is a fantastic tool for checking your work. It points out any errors and makes suggestions of what you should change them to.

If you struggle when it comes to finding essay topics, you can find help online. (A lot of professors only give an outline of what they want, and ask students to choose the topic themselves.) There are examples of good argumentative essay topics online, as well as examples of various assignments. These can be incredibly helpful when it comes to improving your essay writing.

Buy the suggested books

Last but not least, buy the recommended books. Your professors will give you a reading list for a reason, so make sure to take advantage of it. The books on the list might be expensive, but they’re worth investing in, especially if you want to do well. They’re a great source of research and are ideal for looking up anything from your classes that you’re unsure about.

If you can’t afford to buy them, most of the recommended books will be available in your campus library. Or you could consider getting them second hand from older students or online. Don’t let the cost hold you back, get the books that you need to be successful.

Hopefully, this advice will help to improve your grades and get you the degree that you need.


Scholarship Friday: Savor Summer College Scholarship

“Apply to scholarships with the least number of applicants to increase your odds of winning.”

savor summer college scholarship

This advice applies not only to local scholarships, but also non-nationally known scholarships as well. Today’s scholarship is awarded by How to Win College Scholarships’ founder Monica Matthews.

The Savor Summer College Scholarship (sponsored by is a $500 scholarship award.

To be eligible, students must meet the following guidelines:

  • Have a G.P.A. of 3.0 or above
  • Be a U.S. Citizen
  • Be a high school sophomore, junior, or senior (2015/2016 school year)
  • Submit one letter of recommendation from a current high school administrator, teacher, employer, or community leader
  • Submit a copy of most current high school transcripts
  • Submit an essay of 500 words or less answering the question, “How are you planning on using your summer vacation?”

This is a non-renewable, one-time award of $500 to be used exclusively to offset costs and fees related directly to the student’s first year of higher post-secondary education at an accredited institution of the student’s choosing within the United States.  The winner will be chosen on or before July 14, 2016.

ONLY COMPLETE APPLICATIONS WITH REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION WILL BE CONSIDERED.  Questions about the Savor Summer College Scholarship may be directed to

Deadline:  Applications must be postmarked by July 1, 2016.  No fax or email applications will be accepted.