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4 Ways to Connect with Teachers

Do you struggle to connect with your teachers? Does it feel like they are scary strangers to you, rather than friends, mentors and cheerleaders?

In today’s video I tell you about a conversation I had recently with a client who is a junior in high school. Every week in our coaching session I ask him what teachers he has connected with over the past week. In the past he has often blamed his teachers for not being “good” or “organized” and has often had difficult relationships with them because of this judgement. Even if he’s right about some of these judgments, the fact that he felt cold towards the teachers did not help him in getting the support he needs.

This year he is starting fresh by building strong relationships from the start. Here is a list of four ways to connect with teachers that we came up with during our session today. Can you think of additional ones?

244: Finding a Good “Safety” School

You’ve likely heard the advice to make sure you include a “safety” school in your college list. However, what exactly does that mean?

Megan helps you understand the two types of “safety” schools you will want to consider, and provides tips for finding these types of schools. Specifically, she and Gretchen discuss:

  • The two kinds of “safety” schools you need on your list
  • how to tell if your school is a good “safety” school
  • How to adjust your  mindset about the importance of “safety” schools
  • Why we keep putting the word “safety” in quotes
  • How to plan ahead so you’re not left in a lurch,
  • And more!

Click to listen in as Gretchen and Megan discuss safety schools!

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!

7 Small Tasks to Do Over the Holidays

We’re smack dab in the middle of our winter holidays right now! I know you want to simply relax, and I want you to, too.

I ALSO want to encourage you to consider doing one or more of these small tasks. This is a great time to organize your life, so that you can hit the ground running when you go back to school in January.

Check out my detailed thoughts in this video:

Or simply read through the list on my whiteboard:

Are there other small tasks that are useful to do over a holiday from school? Please tell me! 

Gifts I Sometimes Give Students

It’s gift giving season! I’m actually TERRIBLE at giving gifts at specific times of the year — birthdays, holidays, etc — but I’m GREAT at giving them when the spirit moves me, and I see that one of my clients has a need.

In today’s video, I thought it’d be fun to show you the contents of my “Gifts” basket that I keep on my office bookshelf. I love to purchase fun or useful things when I”m out and about, and then I have them available to pop into the mail when the spirit moves me.

Let’s take a peek in my basket!

Do you know of other gifts that are fun to give students? I’d love to add them to MY basket. Please hit reply and let me know.

P.S. Here is a link to the little Habit Tracker booklets I showed you: https://myclasstracker.com/collections/notebooks

P.P.S. And here is a link to the Memorization Set that I love to give to some students to help them study for tests using old worksheets and quizzes: https://www.amazon.com/Memorization-Green-Sheet-Eraser-Included/dp/B00WEGCR7W

Don’t Freak Out Over Finals

It’s finals time for many students around the country and world! Are you freaking out?

Self care during this stressful time is super important, and recently I ran across this awesome resource. It’s an infographic for how to take care of yourself during finals. You can go to the inforgraphic directly by clicking here. Or… check out this video where I walk you through it, and make some commentary about some of the suggestions.

What are your favorite ways to take care of yourself during stressful times?

241: Six Unusual Ways to Save Money on College

The cost of college continues to skyrocket!

 

That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t all kinds of ways to save money wherever possible.

 

Tune in to hear Megan’s wisdom about each of these money saving tips:

  1. Work as a Teaching Assistant or Resident Assistant
  2. Graduate in 3 years
  3. Say no to pricy social spending
  4. Find the colleges that will give you more money
  5. Earn as many inexpensive credits as possible
  6. Maximize free resources

Click here to tune in while Megan talks about these money saving tips!

Are You Stuck in a Crappy School Situation?

Does school feel crappy a lot of the time? And do you sometimes feel hopeless that you’re going to spend the rest of your teenager years (or young adulthood) in the slog of school?

One of my clients was feeling this way last school year during final exams, and I got to ask her one of my FAVORITE questions that I ask clients: “Are you stuck?! Are you the victim of a crappy school system? Or are you choosing school?”

Check out this video, where I share more details about how this conversation went.

 

How to Be a Supportive Parent Without Micro Managing?

Do you try to be a supportive parent to your teen? But suspect that you still do a lot of micromanaging?

Well, one of my clients’ parents emailed me the other day asking how to follow up on some advice I’d given her daughter. I LOVED that she asked me this question, because it shows that she’s trying very hard to do the right thing by her teen.

In this video, I share more background on the situation and then tell you the suggestion I made to her about how to remind her daughter about the tips from our session… without micromanaging her.

 

 

Should You Wait for the Study Guide to Start Studying?

Do you usually wait for the teacher to hand out a study guide before you start studying? Are you a frustrated parent who’d really LIKE your student to be studying regularly but they keep on saying, “The teacher hasn’t handed out a study guide yet!”

I just got this question emailed to me, and I’m excited to share some reflections with you all. It’s not a straightforward answer, because it depends on how well you’ve been keeping up with the information you’ve been learning this semester.

However, there ARE some concrete ways you can figure out whether you need to start studying early. So watch the video, and let’s check it out!

238: Colleges Love Good Grammar!

Too many students have poor grammar, and it weakens their writing. This has become increasingly obvious to Megan as she works with students on writing their college admissions essays.

If you are looking for skills to build or strengthen with students grades 6-12, consider following some of Megan’s advice to improve students’ grammar and usage.

In this episode, Megan breaks down:

  • three reasons why it’s important to improve grammar sooner rather than later (hint: one of them is the SAT and ACT tests)
  • the importance of not just acquiring knowledge of grammar rules, but of ALSO practicing this knowledge so that it becomes fluent, and
  • some tools and tips for how to get this practice regularly.

Megan also recommends the following resources:

Listen in as Megan shares advice in improving students grammar!

How to Schedule Your Studying So You Stay Sane

Do you sometimes feel a little insane trying to schedule all the little and big tasks that go into being a student?

I worked with one client who discovered something really important about how to get herself to follow through with her study and project plans — rather than habitually wait until the last minute.

She realized that if she builds these three things into her schedule, she’s more likely to follow through.

Check it out!

What to Do When You Hate An Assignment

Do you hate your assignments sometimes? You are not alone!

So many of my clients detest working on certain assignments for school, so much so that some of them just ignore the assignments completely. That certainly doesn’t help their grades, but it’s a perfectly understandable reaction. Hate is a strong feeling, and it’s not a culturally appropriate feeling to feel!

Accept That You Hate It | Gretchen Wegner | Academic Life Coach

In today’s video, I share with you how a client of mine learned, through our sessions, to let herself hate her assignments. She actually found them EASIER to get done if she let herself hate them, as opposed to trying to convince herself NOT to hate them.

 

235: Is it Even Possible to Make School Work “Fun”?

At a recent speaking gig about how to tackle procrastination, students asked Gretchen how to make school work fun! They seemed incredulous that “fun” is even a worthwhile pursuit when it comes to school.

Listen in as Gretchen provides a few thoughts about how to take responsibility for making your learning by “anti-boring” no matter how bored you really feel, including:

  1. Two mindset tips, so you can change your THINKING about school work and fun
  2. Three practical actions to make your experience of class less boring.

234: Military Academies and How to Get Accepted

Military academies require a lot of extra work to apply to, but it can be worth it for the high quality free education they provide if you get in.

In this episode, Megan answers this listener question and details the steps it takes to apply and get accepted to these kinds of schools:

Dear Megan and Gretchen,

I have begun to listen to you at the end of this summer because I wanted to improve my act and sat score although I haven’t taken the sat. The start of this summer I’ve had the motivation to attempt and get into a military academy as in the naval academy and Air Force etc. I’ve found the basic requirements to get into those types of schools and have been working my way too achieve those.

I wanted to ask if there is anything you guys know that will help me have a better chance to get accepted. My current act score is a 24 but haven’t taken it in a while and am about to go into a class for it. My GPA is around a 3.7 but have a lot of upcoming AP classes and am determined to get all A’s. Lastly, I feel I have an edge up because by the end of high school I will have studied Chinese for 8 years with two AP Chinese classes.

I wanted to know what you guys think and I respect your drive to better students lives by providing them quality information. Thank you!!!

Braxton

Listen in as Megan answers a listener question on this topic!

How Buffers Save You From Last Minute Cram Sessions

When you are assigned a long term writing project, do you often stay up late the night before finishing it off?

One of my clients sought me out because this is par for the course with her. She struggles with writing, often procrastinates, and then does a late night push to get it done at the last minute.

We’ve been working on making writing plans, and breaking the project down into doable parts with mini-deadlines.

In this video I describe one thing that she has noticed really helps her when making a project plan — building in buffers!

Tune into the video for more info.

How to Use iPhone’s Voicememo to Be a Better Writer

Do you struggle to get your first drafts of essays written?

MOST of my clients have a hard time getting their first words onto paper, including the client I feature in today’s video.

She’s a perfectionist, and often gets hyper focused on editing the first sentences she’s written… and can hardly get a full paragraph out of her head in an hour, much less an entire essay!

Today we discussed the use of the iPhone’s Voice Memo as a way to help her get that first draft written. Tune in to hear me describe exactly how.

What Yucky Thoughts Keep You From Taking Action?

Students, do you sometimes find that your brain is barraged with yucky thoughts? Thoughts that distract you from taking action on your academic responsibilities?

I’ve been paying more and more attention to the “self-talk” in my clients’ brains that keep them miserable when it comes to school… and life for that matter.

In our culture, we are given very few tools for how to handle those thoughts in a healthy way.

In this video, I share a story from a client last Spring who was really struggling with the debilitating thoughts that kept her from studying for her finals. The first step to transformation is awareness, and so I worked with her to help her be more aware of the thoughts that were getting in her own way.

Check it out!

 

 

The following are some yucky thoughts that I discussed in the video:

 

 

Take the appropriate steps that I discuss in the video to get these thoughts out of your head!

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.