265: What College Did Megan’s Daughter Choose, and What Did the Family Learn?!

Drum roll, please! Megan’s daughter has made her final college decision.

In this episode, Megan outlines the lessons her family learned in their very personal college decision process, including:

  • How many schools she applied to, and how they honed their final list
  • 8 things the family did right from the beginning of the college search process
  • 4 surprising observations about the process that Megan didn’t expect
  • Details about how her daughter made the final decision
  • The big reveal about what school she chose!

It’s an exciting episode (at least, Gretchen was on the edge of her seat with anticipation)! Click here to listen in!

261: What Families Should Know About Medical Care on Campus

Have you ever considered whether your new college student’s medical and mental health needs will be appropriately met by their school’s on campus resources?

Megan outlines 10 tips for families to consider about campus medical care as they prepare to transition their students out of the nest family nest and into independent life.

  1. Do your teens know about your health insurance and how to use it to advocate for their own health?
  2. Does your health insurance work at your child’s college?
  3. What medical services are available on campus?
  4. Where should students go for after hours needs / urgent care / non emergency “emergencies”
  5. Where / how will your student get his or her prescriptions filled?
  6. Can campus health monitor ongoing or preexisting medical conditions? And what do you need to do to set it up? (allergy shots, lab work, etc.)
  7. What is the extent of the mental health services on campus? What conditions are treated (not treated)? How can see a counselor, who is doing the counseling, how frequent?
  8. What are your off-campus options for counseling / therapy?
  9. What do you need to do medically to enroll your freshman (ie. do they need a physical? Do they need immunizations?)
  10. How can you as a parent stay informed? What type of paperwork should you put in place for medical emergencies?

Click here to listen in!

250: How to Nurture Mistake-Friendly Environments at School and Home

How to Nurture Mistake-Friendly Environments at School and at Home

The science shows us that mistakes are an important part of learning and growing, yet our schools and homes are often structured to punish students for making mistakes.

Why is this, and what can be done to create environments that celebrate mistake-making?

Join Gretchen and Megan tin this wide ranging discussion that explores:

  • Some science behind why mistakes are a crucial part of learning
  • How the Study Cycle mirrors this science
  • Tips for creating a mistake-friendly environment
  • and More!

This is a topic that Gretchen is just beginning to think about with more depth, so if you have any thoughts to add, please email her at gretchen [at] gretchenwegner [dot] com.

Click here to listen in as Gretchen and Megan discuss How to Nurture Mistake-Friendly Environments at School and Home!

My Top Two Failures of 2018

The New Year — a time when we often think about successes and achievements. Instead, I’ve been thinking about failure. Mine in particular.

Last year (like every year) I made a bunch of mistakes! It’s tempting to gloss over all the ways I effed up in 2018 by making the traditional New Year’s list of successes and achievements from the past year.

More and more, lately, I find myself tired of those lists, of reading people’s curated successes without the balance of their difficulties. Maybe you’re tired of those lists too? I thought it might be more fun to talk about my mistakes instead.

Perhaps I’m just selfish and/or too sensitive, but when I see others’ successes I most often think “I guess I don’t measure up.” However, when I read their failures — especially when they also reflect deeply about what they learned from their failures — I feel empowered. Isn’t that odd?

Anyway — because I’m also celebrating mistake-making in my upcoming free masterclass for educators (and parents!) — it seems fun to reflect today on my two biggest mistakes of 2018.

In this video I share:

  • What I mean by “mistake”
  • The two biggest mistakes I made in 2018
  • What the horrific consequences were (one financial, the other health),
  • What I learned from the experiences that will transform my future choices, and
  • Why this kind of mistake-friendly reflecting is IMPERATIVE for teachers and parents to model for students.

Take a watch:

What mistakes did YOU make last year? What were the consequences? What did you learn? Hit reply and practice doing this kind of reflecting now. I’d love to know, and I promise I’ll reply.

To join me in a discussion about how to create mistake-friendly environments in our classrooms, coaching sessions and homes, click here to sign up for next week’s Masterclass.

245: Do Aptitude and Interest Tests Help with College Admissions and Choosing Majors?

Do Aptitude and Interest Tests Help with College Admissions and Choosing a Major?

Many high school students feel pressured to choose a college major before they ever arrive in college — during the application process.

Megan walks us through whether it makes sense for students to take aptitude and interest tests to figure out what they want to study in college, and whether this helps with the college admissions process.

Specifically she discusses:

  • What aptitude and interest inventories are
  • The two different ways to take these inventories — through a profession, and on your own via an internet search
  • The benefits of having high school students take these kinds of inventories, including insights, ideas, possible areas for exploration, and a source of open conversations between parent and student
  • The drawbacks of these inventories, including the potential low quality of the data, things that these tests don’t consider, like personality or job skill match, is not a quick fix or exact answer
  • Why Megan didn’t have her daughter take these kinds of tests during her college admissions process
  • Additional suggestions for parents 

Listen in as Megan discusses aptitude and interest tests and whether this helps with the college admissions process.

243: The Power of Atomic Habits (and How to Skim a Nonfiction Book)

There’s a new book about habits that’s all the rage right now: Atomic Habits by James Clear.

Gretchen does two things at once in this episode: teaches you how to skim a nonfiction book effectively while also introducing you to some key tips and tricks about developing stronger habits. Specifically, she and Megan will:

  • discuss the importance of skimming to give you an overall picture of what you’re about to read
  • practice skimming Atomic Habits by reading and discussing the table of contents
  • explore how to tell what parts of the chapter to read, when you’re ready to skim in more depth
  • share their take aways about how to tweak their own habits to be more effective
  • and more!

Click here to listen in as Megan discusses tricks about developing stronger habits!

242: The Most Important Factor in College Admissions

Are you surprised by what the “most important factor” in getting into college is? Gretchen was surprised when Megan told her that it’s the high school transcript.

This episode contains everything you need to know about your high school transcript. Specifically we’ll discuss:

  • what the core classes that you need on your transcript are
  • what other people think the most important factor in college admissions is, and why they’re not
  • whether the high school classes you took in middle school count
  • how to decide which electives to cut if you need to
  • how to think about advanced level classes
  • how to develop your passions without getting in the way of core classes,
  • and more!

Click here to listen in to learn more about your transcript too!

233: How One University Teaches Study Skills

Indiana Wesleyan University has revamped their Learning Center and peer tutoring programs to be more “Study Cycle” friendly.

Back in August Gretchen interviewed Melissa Sprock, Indiana Wesleyan University’s Learning Center Director, and opened up the interview for others to attend on Zoom.

Listen in as Melissa and Gretchen discuss the Learning Center staff’s recent training in the Art of Inspiring Students to Study Strategically toolbox. As a result of this training, the Learning Center has overhauled three key services they provide students:

  1. their peer-to-peer tutor training,
  2. a student success class for “Conditionally Admitted” university students, and
  3. academic coaching in the TRIO program.

This experiment has been so successful that Melissa and Gretchen are starting to do presentations at conferences around the country. This episode of the podcast provides a “sneak peek” of their presentation.

How to Stay Awake in a Boring Class!

Do you ever find yourself sleeping in class? Or struggling NOT to sleep?

Ugh. It’s the worst feeling. A client of mine was recently accused by his math teacher of sleeping in class. We spent part of our session discussing the cause, and what he might do about it.

Check out the video:


Check out the list of 5 clear ways to keep those eyes open, body moving, and attention alert when in a boring class:


If you are a teacher, tutor, or academic coach, or perhaps even a parent, interested in learning about how to help your students become independent learners and test-taking powerhouses, please consider checking out my course, The Art of Inspiring Students to Study Strategically.

Why Working Out Helps You Be a Better Student

Do you struggle to get motivated to do your homework? You are not alone! I’ve had lots of videos on motivation in the past, but this one is different.

As you may know, I like to collect data from all my clients in a process I call the Habits Graph. One client, in particular, wanted to track how many times she works out each week. When we first put this on the graph, we had no idea how useful it would be!

We also tracked how motivated she feels each week to do her homework. This past week, when we filled out the Habits Graph together, we noticed some interesting trends. You might be able to guess what they are! Watch the video to see if you’re right.

Hey there, don’t have time for the full video? No worries, here’s a short summary:

So as I was working out today I was thinking about a conversation a client and I had about the link between working out and her level of motivation to do her homework. For the last three weeks we’ve been collecting data, and as any of you who have worked with me before know, I love to collect data with students to help them understand their habits better. So over the last three weeks, we’ve tracked how many times she’s gone to the gym each week and how motivated she’s felt to follow through on her homework.

Why Working Out Helps You Be a Better Student, Motivation, Physical Activity, Workouts, Gretchen Wegner, Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful STudying,

As you can see there is definitely a pattern here. In the first week, she went to the gym 4 times and felt a 7 out of 10 in motivation.  In the second, she went 0 times and had only a 2 motivation. And in the third week, she went to the gym 3 weeks and felt a 5 in motivation. And while the pattern is pretty noticeable, it really shows when you see it on a graph.

Habit Graph, Physical Activity and Motivation, Working out and Motivation, Body and mind,

Isn’t it fascinating how almost perfectly the shapes match-up? For this student, and for most students in general, being physically active greatly helps with motivation. Our bodies and brains are inexorably linked, so if you aren’t being physically active in a way you enjoy then your probably hurting your ability to do your school work and your motivation.

And if you’d like to learn more about the Habits Graph, or feel you could use some help getting your homework done each week, please consider checking out my course, The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying.

A Tricky Way to Use Your Imagination to Stop Procrastinating

Do you ever struggle to get started on a simple task? I do all the time! So if your answer is “yes” to this question, it must mean you’re human!

Recently I was working with a high school student who was struggling to get started with a homework assignment. I discovered that he simply needed to use his imagination better in order to take action. Check out the video to see what I mean.

Hey there! Don’t have time to watch the whole video? No worries, I’ve got your back. Here’s a summary:

As humans, we all tend to procrastinate. I’d even go so far as to say that if you say you don’t procrastinate, you might not be human.  😉 Still, when we’re struck with a case of procrastination we often are unable to motivate ourselves to take action on whatever it is we need to be doing next. That was the case for a student of mine. He had an assignment he needed to do and kept putting it off, week after week. After the second week, I realized he didn’t fully understand the assignment and what he needed to do to finish it. So I asked him to put his imagination to use to help solve this problem by:Gretchen Wegner, The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying, Imagination, Procrastination, Procrastinating, Procrastinate, How to stop procrastinating, help with procrastination

I asked him to imagine himself doing the assignment. I told him he didn’t have to start it right now, but I wanted him to imagine it, and if couldn’t imagine it, look up and make sure he understood the task. So he looked it up, and then imagined what he needed to do to get it going; whether it was creating an outline or starting to do some research or just making a step by step plan.

And I don’t just use this with my clients. I use it all the time. In fact, just before this video, I was laying on my couch, and I was having a really hard time motivating myself. So I imagined the next task I had to do, and I imagined myself doing it and figured out what the steps were I needed to take. And it worked, I was able to get myself organized in my mind and motivated enough to get up and get going.

If you want more tips like this one, please feel free to check out my online course. I have a variety of tips for procrastination there.


College Prep Podcast #147: Eight Reasons to Apply to Canadian Universities

8 Reasons to Apply to Canadian Universities & 4 Reasons Not to | Megan Dorsey | Gretchen Wegner | Whitney Laughlin | College Prep PodcastDid you know that you can save more than $20K a year by going to Canadian Universities, as compared to American ones?

There are many other reasons why American students might want to consider Canadian universities. Join us as guest expert Whitney Laughlin, Ed.D maps out the reasons why you ought to consider Canada for higher education.

  • Differences and similarities between the Canadian and American university systems
  • 8+ reasons benefits to choosing a Canadian university over an American one
  • 4 reasons why you might NOT want to consider a Canadian university
  • how to get scholarships in Canada
  • and more!

The free resources we mentioned on this episode include the Canadian government’s website about their university system, an informative newspaper article about the Canadian university system, and this index of colleges and universities.

Whitney Laughlin, Ed. D is an independent college consultant who works with families to choose the perfect college for them in either Canada or the United States. Check out her website to find out more about her college and career counseling services, workshops, and nonprofit consulting work.

Click here to head over to the College Prep Podcast to listen to this episode.