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Topic Archives: College & Career

Happy Student, Happy Life

August 31, 2016

When parents are asked what they desire most for their children’s future, not surprisingly the overwhelming response includes the word happiness. And yet, we grown-ups might be doing just the opposite. Regardless of what we tell our children, they primarily learn by our example. And when our heartfelt efforts to give our children the very best sometimes violate what we believe or know to be right, we understandably forgive ourselves. But our children? Our children model what they see, not what they’re told. And that implies that we might be inadvertently instilling behaviors and beliefs that will make their long-term happiness that much more elusive. But we can, and should, change. Here’s how. Our Top Science-Based Strategies of What Parents Should Stop Saying and Start Doing Stop Saying “You need to work hard… Read More

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What’s the Goal? “Top 100” Grad or “Top 100” Career?

April 20, 2016

by Nancy Weinstein For the hundreds of thousands of students that applied to selective colleges this year, the short-term goal was clear: Getting In. And while many of those students are actively rejoicing, many more are lamenting the thin envelope that came in the mail. Now what?! According to personal accounts from concerned parents across the nation, unless your child is a recruited athlete, getting into a top college is a virtual crap-shoot. The perception is that too many qualified, legacy applicants means “safety school” is as anachronistic as the rotary telephone. And while the debate rages as to whether perception is reality in college admissions, the reality that stress levels have risen significantly among teens is indisputable. As many of our nation’s best and brightest… Read More

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Does Your Child Have the Right Skills for the WEF’s “4th Industrial Revolution”?

January 28, 2016

By Mindprint Staff A new report out of the World Economic Forum last month says that over one-third of the most important workplace skills will change over the next five years. That’s a rate of change that we know our schools can’t possibly keep up with. So what’s a concerned parent to do? Not panic for starters. Parents who are pleased with their own child’s school, and surveys show that 75% of parents are satisfied, need first and foremost to continue to support their children’s academic learning. Historically, schools have focused on teaching students content knowledge, leaving career skills for on-the-job training. It’s not necessarily the wrong approach. Foundation skills such as vocabulary, reading comprehension, math rubrics, and factual knowledge in history, science and social studies are the essential building blocks… Read More

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In 650 Words or Less: The Common App Essay and an Expert

August 22, 2014

By Sarah Vander Schaaff In 650 words or less, describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there and why is it meaningful? Or In 650 words or less, recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn? Or In 650 words or less, discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.   You are now sitting in the shoes of a high school senior, thank you very much. These questions are a few of the prompts on the 2014-15 Common Application for college. They are the… Read More

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Parents with Agendas: Back Away from the Lemonade Stand

July 24, 2014

By Sarah Vander Schaaff And so we have come to this, a headline: “Let’s stop trying to turn lemonade stands into MBA programs.” In the post in Fortune that followed that headline last July, Dan Mitchell says, essentially, “enough already.” Mitchell’s argument is more nuanced than the headline but his point is blunt: let the games of childhood serve their own purposes. The only thing to squeeze into an afternoon pitching refreshments to the neighbors is a bag of lemons, not lessons in profit margins. Mitchell refers to Michal Lemberger in Slate, who in her post, “Down with Lemonade Stands” debunks the idea that lemonade sales teach entrepreneurship because customers don’t actually compare prices and the quality of the lemonade…. Read More

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Good-bye to the Test?

October 1, 2013

By Sarah Vander Schaaff What does it take to get into college? For that matter, preschool? Two recent stories in The New York Times address changes in the admissions process for some schools and both look at efforts to take the focus off standardized tests. First, there was the attention-grabbing headline: “Private Schools are Expected to Drop a Dreaded Entrance Test.” The test, as the story states, is “commonly known as the E.R.B.” and the organization that is dropping it when a contract expires next spring is the Independent School Admissions Association of Greater New York, which represents 130 schools. E.R.B. is shorthand for many things. Officially, it stands for Educational Records Bureau, a company founded in 1927. Today the… Read More

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Everybody’s Doing It: What To Say

March 13, 2013

By Sarah Vander Schaaff As parents, we often talk about peer pressure, but how often to we talk about the effects of pluralistic ignorance? It doesn’t roll off the tongue, does it? But, it’s worth knowing about and perhaps even adding to our conversations. I didn’t know anything about pluralistic ignorance until I heard an evolutionary biologist speaking on the radio last week. He was discussing the “hook-up” culture of young people. An individual may not particularly think “hooking-up” is the type of relationship pattern he wants to have, the biologist said, but pluralistic ignorance drives him to conform to what’s perceived as the norm others have embraced. How many individuals within the group actually like the norm? That’s the… Read More

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It’s time to meet the MOOC

February 12, 2013

By Sarah Vander Schaaff I was amazed to read that Stanford’s six Massively Open On-line Courses, or MOOC’s, reached over 300,000 people. But it wasn’t until last week that I realized the MOOC, or a future incarnation of it, would most likely be part of my daughters’ experiences, even if they weren’t pursuing something in the field of Computer Science in college. I remember when a new thing called the “Ethernet” was going to be installed in my college dorm room. But as many have said, MOOC’s not only expand knowledge, they can cut down the cost of it, an idea no parent can completely scoff at unless spending more than $300,000 for a four year private college education in… Read More

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CHEATING in the Internet Age

January 15, 2013

By Sarah Vander Schaaff I didn’t go to Harvard, so I don’t often spend my afternoons perusing Harvard Magazine, but it’s sometimes nice to have a friend or colleague share the news of her esteemed alumni publication. In this case, it was a story “Investigating Academic Misconduct” that caught my interest. We’d all heard some of the details of the recent episode, but this story had an inside perspective. The world could hardly conceal its schadenfreude at the scandal that involved more than half of a large Government class last spring. More than a hundred students, it seemed, had cheated on a take-home exam, their written answers so similar they were suspected of collaborating on their compositions. But the article… Read More

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The Grade

December 31, 2012

By Sarah Vander Schaaff Imagine you had a child in high school who faced this choice: take a history class taught by a school legend, the kind who challenges her students to be deeper thinkers and better writers and is known for being a tough grader. Or, take the same class taught by a competent teacher who just happens to be known for giving a lot of A’s. Any seasoned parent would stop me there. “How do we know the first teacher is a tough grader?” That’s a good question because it speaks to the very nature of grades: they are personal. But as we all know, in practice, they cease to be. Grades may or may not accurately reflect… Read More

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