208: How to Make Your Final College Decision

April 1 was the date by which all colleges should have notified students of acceptance; students have this month to make the final choices and notify schools of their decisions.

Tune in as Megan walks you through 10 factors to consider as you make this final decision, including:

  1. General impression / ranking from your visits
  2. Money– How much will you pay EACH YEAR?
  3. Choice of Major– Are you in? Can you change your mind?
  4. Required courses– what will you have to take at each
  5. AP or transfer credits?
  6. Activities, organizations, Greek life?
  7. Travel costs and issues
  8. Academic support
  9. Need for family connectedness
  10. Where will you feel supported and pushed to be your best?

Listen in to learn how to make your final decision on which college to choose.

207: Give Your Time Management a Mid-Semester Makeover

By mid-semester students’ time management routines have often weakened or collapsed.

 

 

Consider these four questions when giving your routines a makeover so that you can make it to the end of the semester with your grades and self esteem intact:

  • First, do you have a weekly planning routine? This can be a helpful Sunday task to help you look ahead and plan for the week ahead.
  • Second, do you have a daily routine to do right before and after your homework? This can be helpful to make sure you are adjusting your weekly plan as needed, with every new assignment your teachers give.
  • Third, if the daily routine doesn’t work for you, are you doing a midweek check-in ritual? This enables you to check off items from your To Do list, add new items, and make a plan for the weekend, so that you take action rather than procrastinate during your “off” time.
  • Finally, do you have a plan for accountability? Who else besides you can know about your plans and help make sure you feel a low-grade pressure to follow through?

Listen in to learn how to revamp your time management skills.

206: Strategies to Improve Reading Comprehension on SAT, ACT or AP Tests

Believe it or not — raising your reading comprehension scores on standardized tests is often not about improving your reading skills!

 

Tune in as Megan outlines surprising skills to improve if you want improved performance on this section of your tests. Specifically she covers how to:

  • Develop college-bound vocabulary
  • Practice reading challenging material (fiction, non-fiction, archaic rhetorical style, complex scientific, detailed, etc.
  • Learn to find details (open book skills)
  • Practice analysis skills, and
  • Understand that every word matters

Listen in as Megan outlines surprising skills to improve if you want improved performance on reading comprehension of your tests.

 

205: One Student’s Takeaways From a Semester of Coaching

How much can a student’s behavior truly change after a semester of coaching?

In today’s episode, Gretchen walks us through a sixteen year old’s reflections about how he has grown as a result of academic coaching.

The following eight ideas resulted from a brainstorm during this young man’s final coaching session, during which he and Gretchen reviewed what he has learned and what habits he would like to maintain:

1. The Set Up Routine
2. Doing Spanish hw first
3. All the different study tools from the Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying
4. Self Advocacy.
5. Keeping a Planner.
6. Finishing homework by a reasonable hour
7. Take advantage of meds before they wear off.
8. Marking period supply clean out.

Tune in to the episode to hear more about each of these take aways!

204: AP or Not to AP: Controversy & Considerations

The national average of number of AP classes taken by students admitted to top universities is five to eight total. That’s a lot!

Deciding whether to take (or not take) Advanced Placement classes is more complicated that simply taking as many tests as possible.

In this episode we discuss in detail the following considerations:

  1. The importance of students choosing an appropriate level of challenge
  2. The fact that AP classes (and the AP exams) can push students to learn at a higher level, which is great prep for college!
  3. How to think through your priorities when considering AP
  4. What does your family hope to get out of an AP class– higher learning, AP credit, boost to school GPA / rank, better teachers, taking class with peers, etc.
  5. What are your alternatives?
  6. What will the student have to give up to take these classes?
  7. How to monitor appropriateness (grades, time spent studying, mental health)
  8. When to go for it, and how to step down if you realize it’s too much

Listen in about AP courses to see if it’s right for you!

203: Don’t Overlook These Seven Surprising Study Techniques

Sometimes small study tweaks can make a difference.

In this episode, Gretchen outlines seven small study techniques that can are easy to integrate into your homework time, and can help you be better prepped for tests.

We’re listing them here, though you’ll want to tune in to understand exactly how to integrate them into your study routine. They are:

  1. Take 3-minutes to quiz yourself before every assignment.
  2. Don’t use Google Translate to do your language homework, but do use it to assess yourself after you’re done
  3. Eliminate silly mistakes on math tests by doing a “speed practice” when doing homework
  4. Check your homework every night using www.slader.com
  5. Use blue tape to put flashcards up around your house, so that you can study when you’re walking to and from different rooms
  6. Draw a picture next to information that you’re having trouble remembering
  7. Make a quizzable study tool before each chapter test and save those tools for the final.

Listen in as Gretchen outlines seven small study techniques that can are easy to integrate into your homework time, and can help you be better prepped for tests.

202: Course Selection: How to Develop a Four Year Plan

“Make time visible” is a favorite refrain of Gretchen’s, and it’s equally as true for college planning as it is for daily time management and organization.

In this episode, Megan walks students step by step through how to make the next four years visible…by making a 4 year plan for course selection.

Listen in as she walks you through the following steps, which you can apply to your high school or your college career:

  1. Gather information about the courses at your school.
  2. Start by laying out requirements and prerequisites on a calendar.
  3. Add electives and “one off” classes.
  4. Strive for balance.
  5. Know your options and make sure you have a back up plan if courses aren’t available when you thought they might be.

Click here to listen in as Megan provides 5 steps you can use to apply to your college or high school career.

201: How to Let Kids Fail “Small” Earlier On

Students need to become familiar with failure earlier than their parents often let them.

Megan and Gretchen discuss why it is important to let student fail small in the younger grades, and provide tips for how parents might back off as students transition from elementary to middle to high school.

 

Click here to listen to Megan and Gretchen discuss how important it is to let your student fail small at a young age.

200: How Lapses in Judgement Impact Graduation and Admissions

Teenagers often have lapses in judgement.But when these lapses go too far, how might it impact high school graduation or college admissions?

Megan lays out 5 kinds of trouble that teens can get in and analyzes how that behavior might get in the way of their next steps and goals.

Specifically, she and Gretchen discuss:

  • sexual misconduct
  • social media usage
  • underage sex and pornography
  • alcohol and drug use  and
  • “mob mentality”

Click here to listen in as Megan and Gretchen talk about 5 kinds of trouble that teens can get in.

199: How to Make a Family Nag Plan

Sometimes nagging is necessary! So how can parents do it in a way that will make teens receptive to their reminders and prodding?

In this episode, Gretchen tells stories about how 3 different clients made agreements with their parents about how and when they are allowed to nag them.

These “family nag plans” can make a big different in terms of helping teens follow through and also preserving the peace at home.

Click here to find out more about how to create a family nag plan that will work in your unique circumstances!

College Prep Podcast #199: How to Make a Family Nag Plan

Sometimes nagging is necessary! So how can parents do it in a way that will make teens receptive to their reminders and prodding?

In this episode, Gretchen tells stories about how 3 different clients made agreements with their parents about how and when they are allowed to nag them.

These “family nag plans” can make a big different in terms of helping teens follow through and also preserving the peace at home.

Tune into the episode to find out more about how to create a family nag plan that will work in your unique circumstances!

Click here to listen in as Gretchen tells stories about how 3 different clients made agreements with their parents about how and when they are allowed to nag them!

College Prep Podcast #198: Rock Your College Visits With These Advanced Strategies

College visits are a time consuming part of the college search process, so how do you make sure you are getting helpful information when you are on campus?

How do you look past the college’s marketing messages to see what is really going on?

Megan provides her Top Ten list strategies for rocking your college visit. Tune into this podcast episode for “truly highly advanced” information about how to rock each of these tips:

  1. Make sure to book the basics: an informational sessions, a campus tour, and lunch in the dining hall.
  2. Visit with the specific college and/or department that you are considering.
  3. Meet with a professor in your intended major.
  4. Attend classes.
  5. Visit with students in your major, program, and/or sport.
  6. Spend the  night.
  7. Meet with financial aid.
  8. Tour the campus at night.
  9. Visit the campus on the weekend.
  10. Do a scavenger hunt to look for potential problems.

Click here to listen in as Megan provides her Top Ten list strategies for rocking your college visit.

College Prep Podcast #197: Three New Academic Coaches Talk Candidly About Starting Their Biz

Thinking about starting your own academic coaching biz?

Maybe you’ve already started, but you’re frustrated with how slow moving it is?

Maybe you’re a parent curious about hiring an academic coach?

Listen in as these 3 newly minted academic coaches (who’ve just completed Gretchen’s Anti-Boring Approach Coach Training Program)  talk about the challenges and joys of marketing their services and working with new families to support scattered students.

Together we discuss:

  • their unique backgrounds and what made each one of them decide to start academic coaching businesses
  • challenges they’ve experienced in the first year of business
  • success stories from their first coaching clients, and how they feel they’ve been of the most service
  • tips for families thinking about whether  to get a coach to support their teenager
  • tips for folks thinking about starting their own businesses
  • what kinds of people are the best fit for Gretchen’s year-long mentoring program, and how it benefitted each of them
  • and more!

If you are curious about working with any of these amazing new coaches, feel free to reach out to them. Marni Pasch and Nicole de Picciotto can be found through their websites. Lindsey Permar can be emailed directly at lindseypermar [at] gmail [dot] com.

Click here to listen in as these 3 newly minted academic coaches talk about the challenges and joys of marketing their services and working with new families to support scattered students.

College Prep Podcast #196: Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life

How do we motivate teens to take little actions that offer big results?

Megan reports in about a book she read recently that has lots of great advice for teens: Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…and Maybe Even the World by Admiral William H. McCraven.

Even though it’s written for grown-ups, Megan sees the ways that this little book could be an inspiring gift for teens, or be a great conversation starter at dinner.

Here are the “little things” that the author covers in his book, which Megan adapts for teens in this episode:

  • Start the day with a task completed.
  • You can’t go it alone.
  • Only the size of your heart matters
  • Life’s not fair. Drive on.
  • Failure can make you stronger.
  • You must dare greatly.
  • Stand up to bullies.
  • Rise to the occasion.
  • Give people hope.
  • Never, ever quit.

 

Click here to listen in as Megan talks about little things you can do to change your life.

College Prep Podcast #195: Watch Out for Fake Practice Tests for the SAT & ACT

Megan Dorsey, The College Prep Podcast, Fake Practice Tests for the ACT & SAT,Did you know that many of the practice SAT & ACT tests offered by companies to help you study — are fake?! Don’t fall for fake tests!

Megan walks you through how to make sure the practice tests you are taking are legit… and will actually help you study effectively for the ACT and SAT.

Specifically, she walks you through:

  • What advertisements to watch out for so you don’t get bamboozled by fake practice tests
  • Legitimate methods for taking practice tests
  • Creative ways to get your teen to take “kitchen table” tests proctored by you
  • How to get a baseline result
  • Whether or not the PSAT will be helpful for you to take
  • and more!

Click here to tune in as Megan reviews how to tell a fake SAT/ACT test from a real one.

College Prep Podcast #194: Research Reveals the Three Best Ways to Teach, Learn, and Study

Gretchen Wegner, Megan Dorsey, Megan Sumeracki, Yana Weinstein, The Learning Scientists, Best ways to teach, best ways to learn, best ways to study, best way to learn, best way to teach, best way to learn, NCTQ, college, students, College Prep PodcastWhat does research teach us about the best ways for teachers to teach and students to study?

Guest experts Yana Weinstein and Megan Sumeracki, otherwise known as The Learning Scientists, school us on what research shows is is the best ways to learn, including some surprising myths about what doesn’t work.

Together with Gretchen and Megan, they discuss:

  • The hilarious way that the Learning Scientists podcast got started
  • Stories from the classroom of what students at the college level struggle with in regards to learning
  • The three most effective strategies for learning, based on a research study from the NCTQ, which include retrieval, spaced practice, and dual coding.
  • Why intuition is sometimes misleading when someone is trying to figure out how to study
  • And more!

Here is the link for a cool way to use flashcards to do elaborative interrogation, which was mentioned at the end of the episode.

Find out more about the Learning Scientists Podcast at their website, www.learningscientists.org. Here is more information about each of them individually too:

Megan Sumeracki (formerly Megan Smith) is an assistant professor at Rhode Island College. She received her Master’s in Experimental Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis and her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Purdue University. Her area of expertise is in human learning and memory and specifically applying the science of learning in educational contexts. She also teaches a number of classes from first-year seminars and intro to psychology to upper-level learning and research methods courses. 

Yana Weinstein is an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from University College London and had 4 years of postdoctoral training at Washington University in St. Louis. The broad goal of her research is to help students make the most of their academic experience. Yana‘s research interests lie in improving the accuracy of memory performance, and the judgments students make about their cognitive functions. Yana tries to pose questions that have directly applied relevance, such as: How can we help students choose optimal study strategies? Why are test scores sometimes so surprising to students? And how does retrieval practice help students learn?

Click here to tune in as Gretchen and Megan, with guest speakers Megan and Yana, discuss teaching and learning.

College Prep Podcast #193: What’s REALLY Important in College Admissions? Myths and Realities.

What's REALLY Important in College Admissions? Myths and Realities. Gretchen Wegner, Megan Dorsey, College Prep, College Application, College Admission, Many families are confused about where to start with college admissions, and Megan has noticed there is a lot of faulty information out there.

In this episode, she lays out, in concrete terms, what’s important when prepping for college and corrects some myths that many families have.

Specifically, she and Gretchen explore:

  • 3 great underutilized resources for getting accurate information about colleges
  • 3 main criteria colleges look at when determining if you are a good fit for their school
  • 5 myths about the college admissions process (like: “you have to have top grades and great scores to get into any school”) and what is actually true instead

Click here to listen in as Megan and Gretchen discuss these key topics about College Admissions.

College Prep Podcast #192: Seven Types of Students and Their Study Blind Spots

Seven Types of Students and Their Study Blind Spots, Gretchen Wegner, Megan Dorsey, Academic Coach, Academic CoachingThere are seven different types of students, in Gretchen’s experience, each with different approaches to school and studying.

As final exams approach, it’s a great opportunity to explore each type of student’s weaknesses in regards to studying, and what students, parents, and coaches can do to turn those blind spots around.

Listen in as Gretchen goes into much more detail about these 7 types of students:

  • The Stressed Out Perfectionist
  • The Fade Away Student
  • The Brilliant-But-Bored Student
  • The Meh Student
  • The Disorganized Student
  • The Artist
  • The Athlete
  • BONUS (at Megan’s Suggestion): The Over-Scheduled Student

Click here to listen in as Gretchen reviews the 7 types of students and how to help them.

College Prep Podcast #191: Strategic Extracurriculars – Make Your Activities Work for You in College Admission

Megan Dorsey, The College Prep Podcast, High School, College Admissions, Extracurricular activities, extracurriculars, school, student, students, kids, Do you worry whether your high school student has the right kind of activities to impress the colleges to which they’re applying?

Megan lays out an easy way to think about extracurriculars to help teens make the most of their time outside of school.

She shares:

  • what it means to “start with the end in mind” with thinking through a teen’s activities
  • choose an activity that makes sense for your kid without forcing them to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do
  • four ways to find the right activities for your student that will be a) aligned with your kid’s interests and b) show them off in a good light to colleges

Click here to tune in as Megan discusses extracurricular activities and how they can benefit teens.

College Prep Podcast #190: 12 Skills We Assume Students Know (But They Don’t)

Gretchen Wegner, Megan Dorsey, The College Prep Podcast, Students, Skills, Study, Studying, To do lists, calendars, organization, organizing files, reading, visualization, visualizing, take notes, make an outline,There are some basic life and school skills that adults assume teens know how to do — but they really don’t!

Gretchen and Megan break down 12 seemingly simply skills they’ve observed in their practices and urge their adult listeners to support students in learning how to do these things.

Tune in as they tell stories about how they discovered students don’t know how to:

  • set the time in their alarm clock
  • study skillfully for tests
  • work with “to do” lists
  • take decent notes
  • make an outline
  • clean out an email inbox
  • organize files on the computer
  • title computer documents in a way they can be found again
  • use a digital calendar
  • follow the rules of plagiarism
  • approach reading a difficult book without overwhelm
  • visualize what day-to-day life in college is like.

Click here to tune in to Gretchen and Megan as they break down key misconceptions adults have about teens’ skill sets.