259: Is Getting Into the “Right College” Worth All the High School Stress?

Student stress is at an all time high! What is the cause, and what can parents, students and educators do about it?

Join guest Mary Hofstedt from Challenge Success to learn about the results of an interesting research project on student wellbeing, and find out what parents, students, and schools can do to reprioritize student wellbeing without losing rigor, though college and beyond.

Specifically they cover:

  • The interesting story behind how Challenge Success got its name (and how it involves a grown up shadowing students for a full year)
  • Some staggering statistics about what contributes to student stress being so high, including the results of a survey that includes over 175,000 students
  • Two of the biggest contributors to student stress (according to students!!), and how Challenge Success is working with students, parents and schools to address these issues
  • The myth that the more selective colleges will bring you more “success” in life
  • Practical tips for parents for how to support student wellbeing,
  • and more!

If you’d like to explore sending a school leader or administrator to Challenge Success’s conferences, here is more information about the Summer Leadership Seminar. For whole school communities who are interested in getting involved, here is more information about the School Program.

If you would like to read more research about college selectivity, the cheating epidemic, and more, check out these excellent White Papers.

Mary Hofstedt, Ed.M., is a School Program Director at Challenge Success. In her role, she works alongside Challenge Success school teams to advance student well-being and engagement in learning, and provides interactive workshops to parents, educators, and students. Mary has an extensive background in curriculum and program design, positive youth development, leadership of school and community-wide initiatives to benefit youth, and social science research. She is the parent of a recent high school graduate and is passionate about working with others to ensure our young people thrive.

Click here to hear more!

248: Why Teens Tell Fibs and How Parents and Educators Can Respond Effectively

Why Teens Tell Fibs and How Parents and Educators Can Respond Effectively

Teens tell fibs more often than parents wish. Some of them are pre-meditated and manipulative, but often they are a primal response to fear, especially in students with learning differences like ADHD.

In this episode, Gretchen walks you through her notes from a great presentation she heard at last November’s International ADHD Conference. The presentation was called “Beyond Fight, Flight & Freeze: Is There a Fourth F?” and was presented by Barbara Brikey Hunter and Monica Hassal. 

Specifically, she shares Hunter and Hassal’s thoughts about:

  • How the original three F’s of Flight/Fright/Freeze are connected to the nervous system’s primal response to fear, and why Fib might be the fourth F
  • How to talk to students about the effect that primal responses have in the brain
  • The acronym SPEED and how it represents fiver different reasons why students might be afraid in the moment, prompting them to Fib
  • The acronyms WIN and COOL, which represent how to support both the student and the parent in responding a fib when it’s taken place
  • Some specific phrases parents and educators can say when “catching” a student in a fib
  • And more!

For more information about these presenters, please visit Barbara Briskey Hunter’s LinkedIn Profile, and Monica Hassal’s website www.connectadhd.com

Also note: the conference where Gretchen heard them present was the 2018 International Conference on ADHD in St. Louis, sponsored by ACO, ADDA and CHADD.

Click here to listen in so that you can learn how to respond effectively!

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.

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!

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!

232: Colleges are Marketing To You

If you have a high school junior or senior, you’ve probably seen the college admissions marketing machine in action.

Colleges are spending about $1 million dollars each year to attract new students and there are some things you need to understand.

On today’s episode, Megan shares:

  • The reasons the college search process is dependent on marketing and branding
  • The different ways that colleges market to you, some obvious and some less obvious
  • The effects of these marketing strategies on your students’ self esteem and well being, and
  • Tips for how to deal with the onslaught if it becomes too much

If you want to read more about marketing in higher education, here is an interesting read.

Click here to listen as Megan discusses how colleges are marketing to you.

228: Five Teacher Mistakes And What Students Can Do Instead

Well-meaning teachers make mistakes when it comes to setting students up to study effectively!

Listen in as Gretchen shares five mistakes teachers accidentally make, including tips for how both students and teachers about how to handle the fallout of these mistakes.

Here is the list of mistakes Gretchen covers; tune in to hear her explain WHY it’s a mistake, and what teachers and students can do instead.

  • Mistake #1 – We don’t teach them to study.
  • Mistake #2 – We teach our favorite strategies without explaining WHY they work. We give instructions that students do or don’t follow, but without teaching the bigger picture.
  • Mistake #3 – When we do teach studying, we often make it too complicated. Too many steps.
  • Mistake #4 – We teach learning styles as if that is the answer.
  • Mistake #5 – We don’t actively practice the tools we teach.

Click here to listen in as Gretchen shares five mistakes teachers accidentally make!

227: Debunking Misinformation about the ACT’s Science Exam

Are you buying into some faulty information about ACT science?

Megan walks you through what this section of the standardized test is really about — and believe it or not! — it’s not science. Go figure.

Specifically, we discuss:

(1) What the ACT science portion actually tests, if it’s not your knowledge about science, and

(2) What your score on this section of the test does (and doesn’t) tell you about your aptitude for studying science in college and working in science related careers.

Listen in as Megan walks you through what this section of the standardized test is really about!

Do Adults Expect More from Teens Than We Do Of Ourselves?

Students, today you’re off the hook because I have a super hard question to ask your parents and teachers!

To all you grown ups — do you expect more of the teens in your life than you sometimes expect of yourself?

In today’s video — filmed “on location” on my parent’s front porch in Houston, Texas (I’m here for a high school friend’s wedding) — I share some reflections about a trend I’ve been noticing.

Over my 10+ years as an academic coach, I’ve been seeing an increase in adults expecting certain follow through from students that they don’t necessarily expect of themselves! I give two examples, one about teachers and another about parents. Please check out the video to hear more!

Also, if you’re ready to walk your talk, parents and educators, I highly encourage you to sign up for my FREE Masterclass: The Study Cycle Live! which will teach you how to actually get students to study effectively for tests and quizzes. Let’s learn how to apply the Study Cycle in our own lives AS WELL AS learn to teach it to students?

After all, we ALL would benefit from learning how to save time and energy by studying strategically.

226: A Simple Checklist for Helping Students Overcome Procrastination

How do you help a teen overcome their procrastination and take action on academic assignments they don’t want to do?

In today’s episode Gretchen walks you through a checklist of four ways to help teens “get in gear” when they are procrastinating.

Tune in to find out more information about how to help students troubleshoot which of the following is  their weakest “time management” link:

  • Tools
  • Team
  • Routines, and
  • Self Talk

To go deeper with this checklist, or for more information about how to help students overcome procrastination, check out Gretchen’s upcoming course for educators The Art of Inspiring Students to Study Strategically.

Click here to listen in as Gretchen walks you through a checklist of four ways to help teens “get in gear” when they are procrastinating.

Why Schools Should Stop Teaching Learning Styles

?Do you teach students learning styles at your school, or in your classroom or coaching sessions? Do you assume — as many educators do — that knowing your learning style can help you study and learn more effectively?

Well, the research shows that this is not necessarily true! In this video I make the case for why we should all stop teaching learning styles — or at the very least, tweak the way we teach them.

If you agree that you’d like to teach a simpler, more research-based and brain-science-infused model for helping students learn to learn — I invite you to sign up for one of these FREE classes:

– Click here to take Study Cycle 101, (if you prefer to read all the lessons at your own pace),
– Click here to attend a live Master Class, if you prefer to learn it live from me, or
– If you watched the video and realize that we need EFFORT and VARIETY in order to learn, sign up for both! 🙂?

221: Four Tips for Knocking Off Your Summer Reading Assignment

Many schools assign summer reading, and most students wait until the last minute to do it.

Tune in as Megan and Gretchen provide four tips for getting a head start on your summer reading, and getting it done well before the due date.

Tips include:

  1. How to check for assignments, particularly if you are attending a new school in the fall,
  2. When to get started with the assignment
  3. How parents can use summer assignments to set a new positive tone for the coming school year, and
  4. How to look over the assignment and make a plan

You might also find this helpful: Gretchen’s video series about how to read a 400 page book in 2 hours.

Tune in as Megan and Gretchen provide four tips for getting a head start on your summer reading, and getting it done well before the due date.

220: Anti-Boring Study Tool #2 – The Study Senses

Is studying tedious and boring?

Use the Study Senses as a simple checklist for how to engage your brain while learning, so that you learn more in less time.

Tune in for Part 2 of the Anti-Boring Summer Series, where she walks you through a simple model for how to mix up your studying so you’re processing information in multiple ways.

If this anti-boring tip delights you and you want more from where this came from:

219: Before You Write Your Admissions Essays, Listen to This

Essays are an important component of college applications, but most people– students, parent, and even educators– have little idea what a winning essay looks like or how to write one.

Check out these resources that we highlighted on the episode:

Don’t forget to listen in as we help you get started and share advice from some colleges.

217: Is Your Student Affected by the Rise of Vaping at School?

As a parent, teacher, mentor there are so many things we need to keep up with as we guide students.

One new development at schools in the last year is the rise of vaping amongst teens. Is your student affected by this new trend in tobacco and marijuana consumption?

In this episode Megan and Gretchen discuss:

  •  what vaping is and why it seems to be on the rise
  • how students tend to use it at schools, and how other students are affected even if they don’t vape themselves
  • how parents and teachers might inform themselves about the types of vaping devices that are used by students,
  • And more!

Listen in to see what Megan and Gretchen say about Vaping in Schools.

216: Why Learning is Hard and How to Make It Easier

Too many students judge themselves as “stupid” because learning new things feels hard. Understanding this one brain fact goes a long way to helping students feel better about themselves as learners.

 

Tune in as Gretchen explains:

 

  • What a neuron is and how a neural pathway is created in the brain,
  • Why it’s totally normal if learning feels hard,
  • How to stick with a hard task for long enough so that it feels easier,
  • And more!

If you’d like to learn more tools and tricks to make learning easier, check out the  Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying online course; you might also like to book a few sessions with any of these certified Anti-Boring Approach Coaches.

215: How to Choose the Right Calculator for High School

Having the right calculator can effect your math scores on the ACT and SAT, yet too many students have the wrong calculator with them.

Megan walks you through how to get the right calculator ahead of time.

Tune in to explore:

  • Common mistakes students make when choosing calcultors
  • Whether you need to purchase an expensive calculator, or whether cheaper versions will do
  • What the requirements are for ACT and SAT approved calculators
  • Whether to buy or rent your calculators,
  • And more!

If you’d like some extra reading, here are the calculator policies for the ACT and the SAT.

Listen in as Megan walks you through how to get the right calculator ahead of time.

213: How AP, IB and Dual Credit Can (And Can’t) Help You in College

Many families assume that AP, IB and Dual Credit Courses will help them get ahead and save money in college. However, this is not always the case.

Listen in as Megan outlines how these higher level higher school classes in high school will — and won’t! — benefit you when you get to college. Specifically, she’ll walk you through:

  1. The limitations of taking AP, IB and Dual Credit courses, including what can transfer where and what scores are needed,
  2. Before taking these classes, how to establish your goals to you’re clear why you are taking them, and whether those reasons are realistic
  3.  How to research the credit by exam policies at the colleges on your list, so you know in advance which courses will count towards college credit and which won’t
  4. When to meet with an academic advisor to help determine which credits you should “cash in”, and
  5. The importance of remember these programs are part of a complete academic plan, and not the “be all and end all” of your college career.

Also note: It’s final exam time! If you need some help with studying for final exams, check out some of these episodes:

Listen in as Megan outlines how these higher level higher school classes in high school will — and won’t! — benefit you when you get to college.