4 Hot Tips To Make the Most of 10th Grade

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1569254267795{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]As the parent of a 10th grader, you may recall the heartaches of this awkward year of high school and how challenging it can be. What can make this year awkward from a college-readiness standpoint is that your teen isn’t quite fully in the college admissions phase. To make the most of this year, here are four tips that I have learned over the years:

#1 – Develop Self-awareness

This is a great year for your teen to get in touch with who they are and what they want . . . not just being who their parents say they are or imitating their friends’ interests.

Developing self-awareness can be done through taking some initial inventories and interest surveys that can help with figuring out likes and dislikes. Your school counselor may have access to some really great tools that your teen can take. The key will be making sure that they review the results with their counselor and you should get a copy as well to discuss with your teen. Perhaps interpreting the results can lead your teen to consider certain careers or help with building their interpersonal skills, depending on the survey instrument taken.

#2 – Re-evaluate friend groups

This second tip may sound a bit harsh in some way, but 10th grade is a good time for your teen to really reassess their friend groups. When I say reassess friend groups, it’s really about your teen thinking about who is a friend and who is not a friend. And if it’s someone that’s really not a good friend to them, then it’s okay to exit that relationship and not be in a place where they feel bad about themselves or unwanted.

I’ve seen a number of teens go through this experience and it’s been one that’s really been valuable for them in 10th grade. During 9th grade, they may have made some friends that weren’t the best choices. Because 11th grade will likely be a bit more intense, managing toxic relationships at school could be even more challenging. Sophomore year can be a good time to join a new group because it’s likely that there are some other classmates who are also open to new friendships.

#3 – Pursue interests

Your teen should consider pursuing what interests them . . . whether it’s a particular club at school or community service activity. The key is that whichever activity they pursue, make sure that it’s not about doing what their friends are doing or participating because mom/dad suggested. BTW, I understand that this may sound easier than it is in practice, especially if your teen does not want to be involved. A parent shared recently that they forced their teen to choose one club to join. Although I don’t recommend “forcing” a teen to do anything, you, the parent, would know best what will motivate your teen to take action.

What have you done when your teen has been reluctant to participate at school?

#4 – Spend summer wisely

Encourage your sophomore to spend their summer in a productive, intentional way.

For example, let’s say that your teen completes an interest inventory and the results show that they may be a fit for business. Then they could consider a summer internship, parrt-time job and/or countless summer business programs. These summer experiences could help them determine whether business really is an area that interest them. One of my students attended a summer business program after his sophomre year and realized that marketing interested him far more than finance. That’s an important distinction to make because business is such a broad field. (With an interest an marketing, then that could lead to getting involved with DECA during junior year.)

Whatever the experience your teen pursues during the summer, remember to be intentional about the summer and not just let the summer happen to your teen.

For more insights and tips for sophomore year, check out our 10th grade roadmap which includes specific month-by-month suggested actions, colleges worth considering and scholarships![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

4 Top Tips to Make The Most of Ninth Grade

Ninth Grade

Ninth grade is a very big deal! It’s a transitional year that can set the tone for the rest of high school and beyond.

While parents may be tempted to “back off” in terms of involvement, it’s really the time to step up your engagement. Granted, your engagement may not be as hands-on as helping in the classroom, your assistance with guiding your teen to make the most of high school is important.

Here are 4 key tips to help your teen navigate ninth grade successfully and launch into a wonderful high school experience:

Practice good organizational and study skills. These are foundational skills that your teen will continue to rely upon each and every year.

Although courses may be a bit more challenging in ninth grade, they will get even more challenging for 10th, 11th and 12th Grade. So ninth grade is a great time to start practicing those good organizational and study skills. If your teen’s skills are weak in these areas, then 9th grade is an ideal time to figure out what works. There are any number of books and/or digital tools/apps that your teen can use to develop these skills.

Get involved with only one or two activities at school. During 9th grade, there’ll be so many new things happening. . . new teachers. . . perhaps new friend groups, and more. It will be all too easy to participate in the same activities as friends. Rather than follow the crown, I would suggest that your teen figures out their own you and focus on participating in only one or two clubs (including sports). Getting involved in too many activities at once may add too much undue stress and slow down their adjustment to high school.

Map courses forward. Courses taken in 9th grade play a role in the course selection for the remainder of high school. So, rather than considering 9th grade only, you can determine the core courses for 10th 11th and 12th grade as well (includes foreign language). This can help your teen see where there may be gaps in their course schedule and plan ahead for creative ways to fill any gaps.

Be intentional about summer. Gone are the days of only “hanging out” in the summer. Having fun and going on family vacations are important. However, there are typically many more other weeks for participating in a summer program, interning, reading several books, even focusing on a creative project. Whatever it is your teen does during the summer, be intentional about it, i.e. have a reason for participating!

Check out my 9th-grade roadmap for more timely tips to navigate each month of this year! (Choose “9th Grade” with the blue button here on this page.)

Five Tips for Teaching Your Child to Love Reading (and How This Can Help Them Get Into College!)

Summer reading for teens who hate reading

What if I told you helping your child develop a love for reading is one of the best gifts you can give?

It will benefit your child throughout her life—teens who love reading have a better likelihood of getting into the college of their choice. (More on that later.)

One of the first questions I ask college-bound students is, “Tell me about the last book you read for pleasure.” 

Usually, there’s a pause. Then they mention a book that’s clearly from a school reading list like “Catcher in the Rye” or “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

“Really? For pleasure?” I ask. 

Once I call them out on it, they usually confess that the last one was a Harry Potter novel from several years ago. 

My bolder students will come out and admit that they “hate” reading.

Over the years, about 25 percent of the students I’ve worked with have been avid readers who truly love diving into a good book. 

Those are the students who’ve been admitted to the most selective colleges, like Stanford, Harvard, University of Chicago, MIT, and similar.

What’s interesting is that when I ask parents if their child is a reader, about 75 percent say their teen “used to be” a reader. 

When I then ask them when their child stopped reading, the most common response is: “Sixth grade.”

Why teens stop reading in grade 6.

There are several reasons why teens stop reading:

  • Screen time
  • Pressure to “be cool”
  • Friends don’t read or talk about books
  • Parents stop reading aloud to them

Yes, I did suggest that parents should continue reading aloud even through high school! 

Why parents should read aloud to their children (even when they’re teenagers!)

Reading aloud to your teen is a great way to model reading and expose your teen to an expanded vocabulary and important ideas. 

It goes back to the James Baldwin quote: “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”

Middle School Reading List

To help your child develop a love of reading in middle school, try offering the following books.

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6th Inkheart
Cornelia Funke
The Cay
Theodore Taylor
Gary Paulsen
Among the Hidden
Margaret Peterson Haddix and Cliff Nielsen
  Mysterious Benedict Society
Trenton Lee Stewart
7th Chains
Laurie Halse Anderson
Chasing Vermeer
Blue Balliett
  Al Capone Does My Shirts
Gennifer Choldenko
Eoin Colfer
  Code Orange
Caroline B. Cooney
8th The Secret Garden
Frances Hodgson Burnett
Red Kayak
Priscilla Cummings
  Hattie Big Sky
Kirby Larson
Scott Westerfeld
  To Be A Slave
Julius Lester


What is your teen reading this summer?

I understand that the school year is busy and your teen has a lot of homework. 

That means summer break is a good time for your teen to read! 

Many studies, including this article from The School Library Journal, have shown that students who don’t read consistently over the summer see their reading abilities stagnate. 

Even worse, this effect grows more prominent as they advance into high school.

Not every child naturally loves reading. Sometimes you might need to help them along, and summer is a great time to do so!

Here are 5 tips to help your child learn to love reading this summer:

  1. Have your teen set a summer reading goal and keep them accountable.
  2. Have your teen choose their own book to read, whether it’s graphic novels, cookbooks, or romance novels about vampires. . .reading is reading.
  3. Encourage your teen to read a book they enjoy for at least thirty minutes a day.
  4. Model reading for your teen. The more they see you reading, the more likely they are to follow your example.
  5. Have your teen sign up for the summer reading challenge at a local library. This could be a fun form of competition and a way to meet other teen readers.

It’s not too late! To help your teen pick out books to read this summer, we’ve compiled this list from several libraries and organized them by grade. 

High School Reading List

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9th Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina
and New Orleans
Don Brown
We Were Liars
E. Lockhart
Marcus Sedgwick
Between Shades of Gray
Ruta Sepetys
  Code Name Verity
Elizabeth Wein
10th Ready Player One
Ernest Cline
The Last Lecture
Randy Pausch
  Into Thin Air
Jon Krakauer
Six of Crows
Leigh Bardugo
  Bone Gap
Laura Ruby
11th I’ll Give You the Sun
Jandy Nelson
Debunk It!: How To Stay Sane in a World of Misinformation
John Grant
  Defy the Stars
Claudia Gray
The May Queen Murders
Sarah Jude
  In the Shadow of Blackbirds
Cat Winters
12th The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace
Jeff Hobbs
Enter Title Here
Rahul Kanakia
  American Girls
Alison Umminger
Dirt Bikes, Drones, & Other Ways to Fly
Conrad Wesselhoeft
  Game Changers: The Unsung Heroines of Sports History
Molly Schiot


Becoming a real reader can improve your teen’s vocabulary, make them a better writer, help them get into college, and enlarge their breadth of understanding of the world around them. 

What books would you add to these lists? Let me know in the comments below. 

Need a little more guidance?

For one-on-one support and other resources to help you or your child get into (or pay) for college click here.

If you’d like to learn more about helping your teen get into college, don’t miss these posts:

How to Save Time When Seeking Money for College
College Essay How-to: Who is someone you admire?
Get In and Get Money: 5 Tips for College-Bound Juniors


The 5 Key Things Students Should Do The Summer Before Senior Year

a student surrounded by flowers preparing for senior year

Ahhh, summer vacation. It’s finally here. You’ve waited all year for a break from high school so you can sleep in, enjoy the sunshine, relax, and kick up your feet.

But for students who are entering their senior year of high school this fall, these aren’t the only things you should be focused on.

The summer before senior year is a critical time for college prep.

As important as it is to enjoy yourself this summer, there are things you should be doing to make sure your transition to college goes as smoothly as possible!

Dedicating just a bit of your summer vacation to preparing for senior year and beyond will pay off in the months to come.

Here are 5 key things you should be doing the summer before senior year.

1. Put the finishing touches on your college list.

If you haven’t finalized the list of colleges you want to apply to, summer is an excellent time to start narrowing it down.

When you’re creating your list of colleges, you’ll want to compare what they have to offer in relation to what you’re hoping to get out of your college experience.

Some of the factors to consider are:

  • Academic fit
  • Social fit
  • Vocational fit
  • Financial fit

(You can learn more about choosing a college that’s the right fit here.)

Begin by creating a big list of colleges (maybe 15-20) and categorize each of those schools by your likelihood of being admitted:

  • ‘Safety schools’ are schools you have a higher-than likely chance of being admitted to because your standardized test scores and high school grades are higher than the average for admitted students. But they might not have all the things you want in a college.
  • ‘Likelies’ or ‘matches’ are schools that you have a fair chance of being accepted to (maybe 40-60%) and they have most of what you’re looking for.
  • ‘Reaches’ are schools that will be more challenging and competitive to be accepted into. Often, these schools check off all the boxes for what you’re looking for in a college experience.

Because the likelihood of being admitted to a reach school is lower than that of a safety or match school, you don’t want to include only reach schools on your list—but that doesn’t mean they should be excluded!

Focus on having the highest number of match schools on your list, but include reach and safety schools, too.

2. Consider starting your campus visits.

When students ask about the best time to visit college campuses, there isn’t one right answer.

If you visit campuses during the summer, you risk not getting a full taste of what campus life would be like during the academic year.

But for parents who can’t make college visits work during the rest of the year, summer college campus visits can be a great choice.

Senior year is a notoriously busy time in a student’s life, and adding college visits to that can be next to impossible in some cases.

If a summer visit to a college campus is the only time that will work for you and your parents, go for it!

Just be sure to plan your visit weeks in advance.

Many colleges have summer visit schedules, and you can choose between:

  • Individual visits
  • Open houses
  • Self-guided tours

Depending on what the college has to offer, you can choose what’s right for you and what visit will give you the best idea of what life at that college would be like for you.

3. Set goals for the school year.

I advise students to set 3-5 foundational goals for each school year.

These goals help you determine your purpose, stay motivated, be accountable, believe in yourself, and know when to ask for help if you need it.

You can use your list of goals to check in on your progress as your senior year progresses.

What are some goals to include on my list?

Here are a few examples of goals you might want to add to your list:

  • Maintain a _____ GPA.
  • Meet with a teacher after school each week.
  • Increase volunteer hours at _________________ by 1 hour per week.
  • Start a ___________ club at my community center.
  • Complete art portfolio with __ drawings by end of semester.

4. Pursue your passions and keep building your college resume.

The summer before senior year is also a time to focus on things that are productive, interesting, and challenging.

You don’t need to think about school 24/7, and in fact, I’d strongly advise students NOT do this!

Yes, you should put some work into preparing for college, but you also need to take advantage of the time off school to pursue your passions.

After all, pursuing your passions is a great way to build your college resume!

Maybe you’re passionate about working with children. Take time in the summer before senior year to mentor or tutor younger students.

Or if travel is your passion, consider volunteering abroad where you are not only helping others, but getting life experience and resume material at the same time.

Maybe you’re not sure of what your passion is yet. The summer before senior year is a great time to find out! And how do you do that?

By trying new things!

Attempting new tasks or activities takes you out of your comfort zone and helps you grow as a person. At the same time, you’re likely to meet interesting people and learn something new.

5. Begin drafting your college essay…at the end of summer!

As you’ve seen, the summer before senior year is a time to pursue your passions and build your college resume. The experiences you’re bound to have over the summer could prove life-changing, and would make great material for your college essays.  

Waiting until the end of summer to begin drafting your college essays will allow you to give this task the attention it deserves. You’ll also be able to reflect on your summer experiences when you’re writing your essay.

Preparing for college life and beyond.

All of these things help you follow or determine your passion, and by doing that, you help build your college resume and prepare yourself for the life experiences to come.

Summer is meant to be enjoyed, but if you can make the summer before senior year fun AND productive, you’ll set yourself up for more success down the road!

Need a little more guidance?

For one-on-one support and other resources to help you or your child get into (or pay) for college click here.

If you enjoyed this article, don’t miss these posts either:

3 Reasons Why Taking the SAT and ACT Might be a Waste of Time and Money

How To Motivate Your Teen To Visit Colleges…and Survive Visits As a Parent

College Essay How-to: Who is someone you admire?

How to get School Records Organized in 2 easy steps

parents of middle schoolers school records

For parents of middle-schoolers, midway through the academic year is a good time to set up your organization system for school records.

All of my new client meetings begin with a review of school records, like their transcripts, teacher comments and achievement tests. I realize that it’s no small task to keep track of numerous odd-sized bits of paper, sometimes carbon-copied with faded dates and scores. And what do you do with those colorful guides with rows of achievement scores and percentile rankings?

As a mom of 3, I understand how overwhelming it can be to keep track of all the information that comes home from school. When you combine the physical documents with email notifications, it gets even messier . . .

1. Set up filing system first

Using the term “filing system” may sound a bit intimidating. However, once you set it up, it will be easy to maintain. You can begin your child’s academic file with a manila folder labeled with their name.

What to Keep in Manila Folder

Your child’s academic folder at home should hold:

  • all classroom-based assessment reports for each testing year
  • standardized test reports, such as EXPLORE, PSAT, SAT
  • letters on district scoring
  • copies of individual education plans (IEPs)
  • records on gifted and talent qualifications
  • copy of most recent forms submitted at the beginning of the school year
  • grade reports with teacher comments
  • any other email communications related to assessments
  • profiles/inventories conducted at school

In short this folder should, at a minimum, include a copy of any records/reports that your school has on file about your child. Keeping track of these documents will facilitate parent-teacher conferences and help you with understanding how you can best support their academic success.

2. Organize personal projects in a Binder

Separately, you can prepare a thick, 3-ring binder labeled with their name, school year, and grade level.

This binder can be used to hold assignments and writings that your child produced during the school year. I’m not suggesting that you have to keep every scrap of paper that they colored. I do recommend that you keep any journal entries and assignments that demonstrate their creative thinking/problem solving skills development.

These are helpful for reviewing your child’s progress over the academic year and again being able to support them in areas where they may need more assistance. Likewise, these organized assignments can be used to encourage and congratulate your child on all their efforts during that grade year. You will also be surprised how much children enjoy looking through these past assignments and marveling at their development.

Your child may accumulate a lot of paper during the year. I collect their assignments regularly in a hanging file folder then put in the binder as I make time. (There’s no such thing as “having” time for this, so you’ll have to “make” the time.) Be careful not to wait too long before placing in the binder, because otherwise it will seem too overwhelming to even bother.

Why these steps will pay off in high school

I strongly encourage middle school parents to get these school records in order because in the high school years you should transfer these files to your teen!

Yes . . . I said it . . . Your teen owns their high school experience.

Throughout high school, the key attribute that your teen should develop is self-advocacy. If the parent holds all of their documents, then whenever a teen needs to answer for him/herself or request help, it will be filtered through their parents. Likewise, if your teen is college-bound, they own the college admissions process. Do you really want your teen to ask you for their PSAT score?

If you relocate, keeping these school records organized will save you a lot of time and stress with transitioning to a new school. When you’re considering any enrichment opportunities for your child, having these records on hand can save you time in knowing whether your child qualifies for consideration. The same is true for college planning, which always comes sooner than you think. In each of these cases, you will be asked to show academic records and it’s too easy to miss deadlines if you have to gather too much background information.

How are you organizing your child’s school records? Do you have an attic full of loose papers or a file cabinet of labeled folders and binders for each child? Please share any tips you have for staying organized with academic records.

How to make the most of college fairs in 6 easy steps

questions for college fairs

During the spring and fall of every year, there are numerous college fairs. The national fairs are often strongly represented with colleges from around the US, while the local and regional fairs tend to have more colleges from your area. The more prestigious colleges may have alumni representatives at your local and regional fairs as well. Either way, given the large number of colleges represented at these fairs, families can feel overwhelmed by where to start.

To get the most out of a college fair, teens should start before they even go. The three things to do beforehand would be:

1.  Set a game plan of which college representatives you want to meet before attending the fair. Going without a plan can be a headache ready to happen!

2.  Prepare questions (get our comparison checklist for sample questions) beforehand that you can ask college representatives at the fair. It’s OK to ask the same questions for each college you visit.

3.  Print pre-printed labels with your contact information. This will save you time. If there’s a long line to talk to a representative, you can still provide your information and follow-up when you visit the campus in-person.

Now that you’ve prepared for the college fair, it’s time to attend . . . making sure that you’re dressed appropriately, getting there in plenty of time to find parking and visit with your top choice colleges. 

4.  Use the comparison checklist to keep track of each college visited. This will prove invaluable for campus visits and writing application essays.

5.  Make sure you get a business card from the college representatives that you meet to email or call later.

6.  Surprise yourself and visit with a college representative that’s not busy and not on your list. Some of these representatives travel from far distances to meet new students. This can be a great, low-risk way to learn something new . . .you may be pleasantly surprised by what you learn. More importantly, this new contact can inform your perspective on other campuses.

Which fairs will you visit? Safe travels and be sure to take our comparison checklist with you to make sure you make the most of participating in a college fair!

Is Bard Early College right for you?

If you’ve taken a standardized test earlier than 10th grade or perhaps been identified as “gifted and talented,” then you may have received a mailing from Bard at Simon’s Rock Early College. I learned on a recent visit that the majority of students typically found out about this special college through a direct mailing. (Before this visit, I didn’t know that direct mail was that effective!)

What is Bard at Simon’s Rock Early College?

Students apply to Bard at Simon’s Rock Early College after their 10th or 11thgrade of high school. Unlike the “early college” programs offered in some public high schools in the US, students at Bard are directly enrolled in college, not high school. One of the slogans on campus is “High school dropout, College graduate.” Students at Bard at Simon’s Rock Early College have foregone the traditional rites of high school, such as prom and the senior skip-day.

3 Types of Students that may be a fit for Bard

There are three types of students that may find this Bard experience appealing:

  1. A student who has already exhausted the curriculum at his current high school – this student may have already taken all the available AP courses or the highest levels of math and science courses in high school. If your senior year schedule is likely to be overfilled with study halls, then Bard at Simon’s Rock Early College may be a fit.
  2. A student who is unchallenged in high school – this is a dangerous place to be, for sure. We all know though that there are far too many students who claim that they’re “bored” or “unchallenged” in high school. Bard at Simon’s Rock Early College may be a fit but the next option must be met . . . .
  3. A student who is “ready” for college – Being ready for college requires maturity, independence, a healthy dose of curiosity, and more. Students who apply to Bard at Simon’s Rock Early College must have the academic and social-emotional wherewithal to excel in such a program. The admissions officers mentioned that they may communicate with a student for a year before the student applies for admissions. This kind of attention and care is important with the transformational experience of college. In other words . . . college ain’t for punks! 🙂

Bard at Simon’s Rock Early College is a separate campus from its sister, Bard College. The 400 students at the Early College campus reflect a diverse, global community of students where the innovative, independent thinkers (aka smart kids) are really cool.

Getting ready for Parent-Teacher Conferences

As parent-teacher conferences are around the corner, here are some quick tips to ensure a meaningful and productive time with your child’s teacher. .even in high school. If the conference can be student-led, please make sure that your son/daughter takes advantage of the opportunity to take ownership of their learning experience.

I like the ideas that this author offers to teachers. Parents, however, may find this list insightful as they consider their role in the parent-teacher conference. As with any communication . . . it goes both ways:

 Some ideas:#1 The point of a conference is not to display the student’s current averaged grade, point out missing assignments or contrive ways to achieve/maintain a particular grade. There are better ways to keep track of grades–which should largely be the student’s responsibility by middle school, anyway. If the only reason we hold conferences is to talk about grades, then teachers are complicit in elevating grades over learning. If a parent leaves a conference with a list of grades and nothing else, it’s wasted time.

#2 Conferences are an opportunity for two-way communication. They’re not merely a stage for teachers to give parents information on classroom performance, although many teachers do just that. Conferences are also a place for parents to tell teachers things about their child: How he likes to learn. What she says about the class at home. How he enjoys spending free time. What she says about other students in the class. After a good conference, both the parent and teacher know more about how things could be better.

#3 A conference with parties sitting on either side of a table or desk reinforces hierarchies. Figure out comfortable seating with no barriers. Making parents queue up outside your door–or sit in little tiny chairs–is neither efficient nor courteous. If Disneyland can figure out how to expedite lines and take turns, so can schools.

#4 If a parent seems to be exaggerating, there’s an underlying message. My child sits at the table every night for three hours, doing homework! If a teacher seems to be testy, or resistant I only give 15 minutes of homework per night!–a different message. Somewhere between the two claims is truth–but finding it will take some clarifying questions. Is the student unwilling to admit he doesn’t understand something? Is the teacher tied to unnecessary homework? It’s hard to ask uncomfortable questions. Do it anyway.

#5 Teachers should share stories about what each student does in class. This might involve an artifact as evidence of learning an essay, project, lab report or even a test, but sharing narratives of kids’ behavior as learners is essential. Invite parents to tell stories about the child’s use of math, language, logic, or music at home.One of the most heart-warming observations I heard as a parent was when my son’s 8th grade English teacher showed us sketches of cars Alex drew in his journal during free-writing. “Aren’t these cool?” he said. “Someday that boy’s going to work in the automotive industry.” What that told us: He’s paying attention to Alex. He knows Alex, and values Alex’s interests.

#6 Ask parents how they want to stay in touch about important things not reporting a weekly running grade. Open that channel by sending a quick initial e-mail or calling. The conference should merely be the first contact, the open door. Even if you never use the channel, it’s there.

#7 Most parents come to conferences to get a deeper sense of who’s spending time with their kids. Tell them the truth.

via Seven Ideas for Meaningful Parent-Teacher Conferences – Teacher in a Strange Land – Education Week Teacher.


Teens’ concussion risk higher among girls and not just football

One of my students recently returned home from school due to a concussion that occurred during wrestling practice. I was somewhat surprised to hear a) that a tall guy like him was wrestling and b) that he suffered a concussion in this sport, rather than football (his Fall sport)!

We often associate concussions with football, but a recent study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine found that students in other contact sports, such as girls’ soccer or basketball, ice hockey, and lacrosse are also at risk. As lacrosse season is about to begin, let’s take note…

Estimates of the number of Americans suffering sports-related concussions have been climbing in recent years. That’s partly because more people are playing contact sports, young athletes are training more aggressively at an earlier age, and doctors are more aggressive about diagnosing concussions. A recent study found that in 2008, there were five concussions for every 10,000 U.S. high school athletes who hit the playing field. That was up from just about one per 10,000 a decade earlier.  . . . .

The other interesting finding is that girls had a higher concussion risk than boys.

In “gender-comparable” sports, girls had a 70 percent higher concussion rate than boys.

via Teens’ concussion risk not limited to football | Reuters.

As a side note, a number of colleges are adding girls’ lacrosse, such as the University of Southern California and Furman.

As teens continue to participate in sports throughout their high school and college years, it’s incumbent on parents, coaches, school administrators, and the broader community to be aware of the symptoms of concussion. Those symptoms, which may occur many hours after a blow to the head, include:

  • Ringing in the ears
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

Let’s keep our teens safe!

Admissions decisions released in March

Students around the world will learn in March the admissions decisions on applications to summer programs, boarding schools, and colleges. The month of March is an emotional ride of highs and lows. Years ago, students would receive notices via postal mail. Now, many students find out either in their email inbox or through an online website. At least with the postal mail, you could sometimes tell the decision by the thickness of the envelope. All you have to do now is hold your breath when you click to see whether the top line begins with “Congratulations!”

If you’re admitted

I encourage all students who gain acceptance to a boarding school or college to take advantage of the special Admitted Students events. These events offer an opportunity to see the campus again (or for the first time) more personally. Sure, there will be alot of “wining and dining” to get you to come to their school, but that’s OK. You will have an opportunity to meet faculty, current students, administrators; eat in the dining halls; and maybe stay overnight. It’s during these events that you really decide whether you want to attend this institution. In the past, I’ve had students change their minds altogether about which school to attend. (On a personal note, I visited an Admitted Student event at Columbia University, as a high school senior. It was so much fun that I knew I couldn’t attend college there. . . . too many distractions in Manhattan for my personality type!)

By May 1

You must notify all colleges or your decision by May 1 (For boarding schools, it’s usually in April. Please check your letter.) This means that even if you’ve decided that you’re not attending that college, you must still let them know. And please, please, only send one deposit!

All the best to families as they wait to hear the news!

Where have you been accepted?