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.

Get Into the Perfect College for You with Megan Dorsey

Do you have questions about College Admissions? Want to know the secrets to getting into College and get all the tips and tricks others wish they knew?

Well, luckily that’s what I’m here to tell you today, along with guest host, Megan Dorsey – who some of you might recognize is from The College Prep Podcast, which we co-host weekly together.

This recording is from a webinar Megan and I did in the summer of 2015, so sit back and strap in, because this recording is packed full with information.

Now, as I said above Megan Dorsey and I co-host the College Prep Podcast, which is a weekly podcast where we discuss advice for everything ranging from College Admissions to Study Skills, and everything in between in the field of education. It’s aimed any students from Middle School up to University, so there’s a little bit of something for everyone in education still.

With that said, I’d like to give you a little information about Megan Dorsey. Megan is a former SAT essay reader for the College Board, a Texas Education Agency, a certified highs school teacher and counselor, and a successful educational consultant. She earned her B.A. from Rice University, her M.Ed. at the University of Houston, and her Certificate in College Counseling at UCLA. She went on to found College Prep, LLC, and now offers a variety of services to help families navigate all aspects of college admission, including:

  • My Vocabulary Success Coach
  • Online SAT prep classes
  • SAT and ACT private tutoring (in person or via Skype)
  • College admissions counseling

You can find out more about Megan’s programs and sign up for her free newsletter at CollegePrepResults.com.

And if you need help with school, whether it’s raising your grades, studying, getting homework done, or managing your time as a student, please consider checking out my course, The Anti-Boring Approach.

College Prep Podcast #165: How to Help Students Budget Their Money Before College

Megan Dorsey, Gretchen Wegner, College Prep Podcast, Budget, Budgeting, Money, Teens, students, college, financial, financesBudgeting is a skill that many adults don’t have! However, it’s a super important skill to teach your students before they go off to college.

On today’s episode, Megan and Gretchen discuss some tips for how to get started helping teens practice how to take care of their finances.

We discuss:

  • what specific skills do students need to master before leaving for college
  • how to talk to your teens about how to make financial choices
  • what financial problems to look out for in their first year of college,
  • and more!

Click here to tune into Megan and Gretchen’s discussion on finances, budgeting, and preparing your student for college.

College Prep Podcast #164: Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate – Should We Do It? How? Why?

Megan Dorsey, College Prep Podcast, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, AP, AP courses, Advanced Placement Courses, High School, Student, CollegeAdvanced Placement courses can provide a huge advantage to students when they hit college, but they can also be a huge drain on a high school student’s schedule and sense of balance.

Recent a mom named Tamra wrote in with the following question:

I’m listening to podcast 160, about all the AP and other exams in May, which has me wondering about AP courses in general. My first child will start high school in the fall, in a new school district. When we’re looking at course options do you recommend choosing AP courses to get requirements “out of the way” in subjects he doesn’t particularly enjoy, or is it better for him to focus his efforts on getting ahead in areas that do spark his interest? 

In her wide ranging answer to this question, Megan covers:

  • What is the difference between Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes?
  • What to ask your school when you’re an incoming freshmen to learn about how AP and IB classes work at that school.
  • How to research college requirements to have an idea of the role AP classes might play in your high school student’s life
  • How to put all these answers into a plan for what AP courses to take when in high school

Click here to tune in and find out the answers to all these questions, and more!

College Prep Podcast #161: Advice Parents and Students Don’t Want to Hear

Advice Parents and Students Don't Want to Hear, Gretchen Wegner, Megan Dorsey, College Prep Podcast, ACT, SAT, Planner, Course Selection, Change, College Admissions, Note TakingSometimes educators have to dish out advice that families simply don’t want to hear.

In this episode, Megan and Gretchen detail their most unpopular advice for students and parents.

The advice folks don’t want to hear includes:

  • Course Selection: You need to take more courses than you’re planning on.
  • How Long Change Takes: I can’t make your student perfect right away. It takes time.
  • College Admissions: You’re clearly not going to be admitted. Adjust your college list.
  • Daily Note-Taking Habits: You’re going to need to spend some time honing your notes after every lecture.
  • Improving SAT/ACT Scores: Simply taking the SAT/ACT again and again won’t increase your score, and
  • Writing in Planner: Yes, you need to write things down on paper, even if your school keeps all your assignments online.

Although parents and students often don’t want to hear it, this is the best advice we have! Tune in to hear the details about what exactly the advice is and why it’s importance for parents and students to take heed.

College Prep Podcast #162: Summer Programs, Study Guides, Improving Vocab, & More

Gretchen Wegner, Megan Dorsey, Q/A, Q&A, Q & A, Questions and Annswers, Summer Programs for college prep, Teachers, Incomplete Study Guides, Apps for Vocab Improvement, Singing to Music When Studying, What's Wrong with my college application?, University, Universities, You’ve got questions, and we’ve got answers! Join us as we discuss the following questions:

Summer Programs for College Prep: We are looking at the Stanford University “High School Summer College” program for our son. The classes are interesting, and it looks like a good experience. My question is will this help him get into Stanford or other similar schools when he is a senior?

When Teachers Give Incomplete Study Guides: What do you do if your teacher doesn’t list some facts/ideas on the study guide but does put those questions on the test? How do you study?

Apps for Vocab Improvement: I’m wondering if you know of any apps or programs that would help a high school student develop a deeper understanding of words… I imagine through word study including roots, prefixes, and suffixes. I have some old=school tools but would like to give her something a little more user-friendly for working on at home. Ideas?

Singing to Music When Studying: I’ve heard you say that it’s ok to listen to music while studying, but what about if you are singing along with that music? Can you really concentrate and use your full brain if you are singing while doing your homework?

What’s Wrong With My College Application? My son is completing his 12th grade and has applied to several good universities. He did his 9th and 10th from a school in India and will graduate from high school in Texas. He scores A*s in all subjects. His current GPA is 4.1. He scored 800 in SAT Math and 760 in English. He plays guitar, is a black belt in Karate and knows multiple languages- English, French, German, Hindi. With all these qualifications he is still not getting selected by Universities. Why? What is missing for him? How can we supplement his existing applications in other universities? Can we appeal?

Click here to listen in as Gretchen Wegner and Megan Dorsey answer your questions!

College Prep Podcast #159: Perfection Paralysis and How to Get Unstuck When Writing

Gretchen Wegner, Megan Dorsey, College Prep Podcast, Perfection Paralysis & How to Get Unstuck When Writing, Stuck,Do writing assignments take you longer than necessary because you often feel stuck?

Join Gretchen as she shares an interesting tool she created with a client to help him with his perfection paralysis.

Specifically, she and Megan discuss:

  • What perfection paralysis looks like in struggling writers
  • Why it’s important to learn to notice when you’re stuck
  • What the top signs are that let you know you’re stuck and spinning your wheels
  • Why asking yourself questions is a great way to start getting unstuck
  • Six specific questions to ask yourself to start cranking out work instead of staring unproductively at the computer

Listen in to Megan and Gretchen as they discuss how to Rock College and be a successful college student!

College Prep Podcast #158: 5 Secrets to Taking Multiple Choice Tests Well

Megan Dorsey, College Prep Podcast, 5 Secrets to Taking Multiple Choice Tests Well, test taking, adviceToo many students struggle with multiple choice tests.

Often, this difficulty is not that they don’t know the material but rather because they haven’t learned how to take those tests well.

Listen in as Megan provides her top five tips so you stop losing points on tests. Specifically, she discusses habits for how to:

  • pay attention to the design of the test
  • make sure you’re reading the details in both questions and answers
  • change your focus from finding the right answer to eliminating the wrong answer
  • troubleshoot when you can’t actually write on the exam
  • compare choices once you’ve narrowed them down,
  • “work backward” to choose the correct answer, and
  • discern what test-taking advice is ineffective and should be ignored

Listen in to Megan and Gretchen as they discuss how to Rock College and be a successful college student!

College Prep Podcast #157: Tips from a Professor About How to Rock College

Gretchen Wegner, Megan Dorsey, Tina Kruse, College, Professor, College Professor, College Student, How to be a succesful college student, College Tips, College tips and tricks, What is a freshman seminar, successful first-year students, college prep, College Prep Podcast,Listen in to a college professor talk about what skills make for a successful college student!

Special guest Tina Kruse shares what she’s learned from 15 years teaching freshman seminars at a small liberal arts college, including:

  • What is a Freshman Seminar, and why might you want to look for a college that has them?
  • What do the most successful first-year students do? Conversely, what are common problems that first-year students encounter?
  • What can students do while in high school to prep for what college is “really like”? How can parents, teachers, coaches help support that?
  • What do leadership experiences in high school get you (besides an impressive addition to your college application!)?
  • And more!

Note: During this episode, Tina refers to the following resource: High Impact Educational Practices. Check it out!

Tina Kruse is an Educational Psychologist (Ph.D.) with 15 years of experience teaching undergraduates. Her research is on the benefits of youth leadership experiences, with a forthcoming book on this topic (Oxford University Press, 2018). In addition to her long-term teaching and advising at a liberal arts college (Macalester College in St. Paul MN), she also offers private, one-on-one academic coaching to students ranging from high-school to graduate school. Recently she’s been charged with starting a campus-wide plan to support her college’s students to integrate better their learning settings–helping them connect the classroom efforts with their off-campus experiences such as internships and study abroad. You can find out more about Tina’s work at www.tinakruse.com

Please Note:  In this podcast recording Tina Kruse is representing her work as described at www.tinakruse.com and is not representing Macalester College.

Listen in to Megan and Gretchen with guest speaker Tina Kruse as they discuss how to Rock College and be a successful college student!

College Prep Podcast #155: How to Grow a Thriving Academic Life Coaching Biz

Gretchen Wegner, Megan Dorsey, Debbie Lehr-Lee, Anti-Boring Approach, Coach Training, Academic Life Coach, Academic Life CoachingWhat’s it like to build a successful business as an academic life coach?

Guest Debbie Lehr-Lee shares the ups and downs about her path, including how Gretchen’s Anti-Boring Approach Coach training helped her go from 4 clients to a thriving a practice.

Together Gretchen and Debbie discuss:

  • What frustrations Debbie was experiencing when she first reached out to get trained by Gretchen
  • How her business has grown since then, including how Debbie created a unique niche for herself
  • How her work helps students feel less broken, and why that’s such a crucial first step
  • The importance of understanding the role that technology plays — good and bad! — in teens’ lives
  • How to decide what kind of academic life coach training program to participate in
  • What makes Gretchen’s Anti-Boring Approach Coach Training Program unique, and how listeners might discern whether this program is a good use of their time and resources
  • and more!

Here is the free resource that Debbie mentioned in the podcast — a workbook to accompany the documentary Screenagers.

Debbie Lehr-Lee is an academic life coach passionate about helping high school and college students develop key academic and life skills (that are often not taught in school) so that they can be successful in academics but also be prepared for college and the real world. She is a certified Life Coach (CPC) from the world-class Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), a certified Academic Life Coach from John Andrew Williams Academic Life Coaching program, and has completed Gretchen Wegner’s Anti-Boring Approach Coach Training Program. Visit her website at www.unstoppablestudents.com

Listen in to Megan and Gretchen with guest speaker Debbie Lehr-Lee as they discuss how to grow a thriving Academic Life Coaching business.

College Prep Podcast #154: Tips for Attending a National College Fair

National College Fair, Gretchen Wegner, Megan Dorsey, Student, High School, Parent, Attending a National College Fair with your high school student? We recently heard from a listener who had some questions about how to make the most of her National College Fair visit with her son. Here’s her email:

My son is attending a National College Fair coming up in mid-March. Do you have any strategies or ideas for best practices when attending a fair like this? There will be over 180 different colleges there from all over the country, so any suggestions on how to maximize time would be great.

Also, we have never attended a fair of this size before — can you give some suggestions for the role of a parent (hang back, listen, stay at the coffee shop?) and also some etiquette/protocol suggestions for the student. For example, how much time should they spend with a college booth, are their ways to be memorable for a student with a recruiter, if it’s a college they really love, should there be additional strategies to employ and should we leave anything with a recruiter like a resume or business card or is that too much?

Listen in to Megan and Gretchen discussing how to make the most of a National College Fair visit without getting overwhelmed.