Wednesday’s Parent: Best question for parents to ask to help with college essays

Parents can help students crack college essay writer's block

Parents can help students crack college essay writer’s block

The single best question parents can ask themselves to best help their teens write a college or scholarship application essay is:

Who’s going to that college?

The answer puts into perspective two vital points in composing a killer essay:

  • It’s all about the college-bound
  • And how the college-bound will be an asset to a particular campus

It comes down to what the student offers and wants. To find out, he/she has to do a lot of thinking about his strengths, weaknesses, talents, abilities, interests and desires. Then he has to figure out which colleges will best help him achieve his short and long term goals. Finally, she has to write essays that along with her application convince the schools they want her to attend and/or provide financial awards.

College is a huge investment that pays off big time. For grads it means a better life style via more money earned over a career. Read this to find out how much more. Parents get an unexpected bonus, too. They live longer with healthier lives. Read this to find out how much longer.

Parents can’t expect their child to do their best if he or she is not vested in the college process from application through graduation. So it makes sense for parents to focus their energy on helping their college-bound student get motivated. For general tips read this and this.

To motivate to compose essays often means cracking the hard shell covering known as writer’s block. Writing doesn’t always come easy and many drafts are typical. That’s why it is best to start early when the clock isn’t ticking moments away before deadlines.

The essay is an opportunity to show student strength, maturity and growth and is best written from a position of leadership. Staring at a blank page isn’t fun for anyone so here are six ways for parents to help their college-bound write a super essay:

  1. Creativity is stifled by stress. Give your child time and space to think without pressure.
  2. Distractions impede focus. Provide an organized and quiet place for your child to write.
  3. Unsolicited and unappreciated advice isn’t helpful. Let your child know you are ready to listen and brainstorm should he suffer from writer’s block.
  4. Self-esteem is lowered from being overshadowed. Don’t make it a competition by over-relating your own past history of accomplishments, mistakes or desires.
  5. Over-confidence doesn’t help either. Constant reminders of past glories are more like bragging than inspiring compliments.
  6. A good support team can provide confidence. Let your child know you are available to help but so are teachers, guidance counselors and other admission counselors.

Then sit back, keep repeating the above question, and wait for your child to take the lead when she is ready to own the college process and do what it takes to get in and earn a diploma. He may even let you read his finished essay.

Read Suzanne’s Top 5 Essay Posts for Parents

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Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound. 

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

Wednesday’s Parent: 6 unexpected bonuses from summer reading

Fill your plate with reading. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Fill your plate with reading. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Childhood is not what it used to be. Our kids are over scheduled and technologically driven. Even summers are no longer filled with cloud watching, daydreaming and nothing to do. Downtime has been replaced with videos, gaming and social media. However, parents may share some good old fashioned reading habits that lead to some surprising results.

In a busy life, reading slows the pace. It is an introspective solitary experience that prepares children with knowledge, provokes thought, and inspires learning. The casual summer reader sharpens decision-making abilities by choosing the subject matter. He manages time by carving out a daily piece to read. She organizes her space for reading comfort. All of these are necessary skills for the college-bound.

Your child may be holding an e-reader instead of paper as the reading material but that’s not the point. Once the words are consumed, the plate they are served from doesn’t matter. It’s still food for thought.

Based on your child’s personality and interest, here are six ways parents may encourage summer reading and find these unexpected bonuses:

For those who resist sitting still, read to create. How-to books are perfect for active would be scientists, engineers and artists. Teens may select an area of interest and try it out with a special project or experiment. If the subject will be studied in school, students may have a leg up on the work load. If it is purely an extracurricular activity, teens may have something special to add to their college application activities and honors list.

For the go-getter, get a jump start on college essay writing. With more schools going standardized test optional, essays grow in importance during the admission process. Reading the work of great writers exposes teens to clear examples of how to craft an audience-grabbing opening line and an audience-retaining gripping paragraph. It also shows writing styles vary and it is up to the author how to best express her point.

For the quiet one, form a family book club. Libraries and social groups have them so why not a family? It gives parents and children a chance to calmly converse on a higher level as a team. Depending on the topic, it may become a broader opportunity for teens to share their developing opinions on social, political and financial issues as they grow toward their own independence. It’s a great way for families to prepare for the shift from a parent-child relationship to a parent-adult child relationship.

For the inner chef, read to cook. Many cookbooks offer more than recipes. Some provide interesting details about ingredients and fun facts about the origin of dishes. The whole family will benefit from a meal while the teen learns life skills about nutrition and meal preparation. This is good practice to avoid the dreaded Freshmen !5 weight gain that plague many new college students.

For the history buff, read about the past. Go beyond textbooks and find books authored by historical figures or about a specific era. Or delve into the pages of an historical novel. Both fiction and nonfiction book lovers can find love and war stories, inventions, poetry, thought processes and bygone life styles. When classes resume, teens may have a keener insight into the subject matter.

For the adventurous, read for travel. If your family is planning a vacation or collegecation (college visit + family vacay), why not have your interested teen help plan by learning about the attractions, events and must see and do sights. Teens curious about going away to college may also learn about what makes a particular school and their surrounding community special, different and worth further research on a college list. If a teen is thinking about enrolling in a study abroad program, reading about another country will help make this decision.

There is a physical or virtual book, periodical, newspaper or article to suit every genre and some will cross over. For example, readers of  a mystery novel set in 19th century London may be challenged to figure out the puzzle while picking up some historical tidbits about a foreign country. Something from the craft section may spur entrepreneurial talents leading to creation of a new business.

Reading may also change moods with laughter and attitudes with empathy. Parents may help their children experience the joys of summer reading today for a lifetime of learning in school and beyond.

Read Suzanne’s post: Encourage Summer Reading.

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Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

Wednesday’s Parent: 5 fantastic tips to refine a college list Part 2

Finalizing a college list. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Finalizing a college list. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

The hard part of forming a college list is whittling it down to those schools that offer a student the best chance for success. Last week had tips about information gathering to jump start the process in 2 phases, 3 points for forming a college list.

Here is Part 2 with five tips for analyzing and refining the choices.

!. Define the student’s definition of success The definition of student success varies with each student. Wednesday’s Parent: Hunting and gathering a college list Part 2 explained this and gave five ways parents may help their child find their college matches.

2. Judge the college. How good a job a will the school do to help a student achieve his vision? Use the parent-student team approach to have frank discussions about college, career and future lifestyle goals. Write them down. Go back to the college list and eliminate those that are least likely to help the student attain her dreams.

3. Take a closer look. Go over the list again twice. The first time think emotionally. How did the campus make the student feel from the college visit? Sometimes it’s an unexplainable positive or negative gut reaction. The second time think logically about the school’s academic and extracurricular offerings. If there is a wide divide between the two impressions, it’s probably not a good choice. Students have to be vested in their college attendance for best chance of thriving.

4. Get selfish. Though they may be considered part of fact gathering, brand names, recommendations and what others are doing do not determine the final college list. The focus is on what will work best for a particular student based on his talents, skills, goals and qualifications. Colleges use the admission process to find students they want. Students should use the process to find schools that will help the student get what he wants.

5. Put in the time. The more time spent on making a good college list, the better the chance for student success. Find the places where the student is most likely to get a great education that:

  • Fits her abilities and stretches her opportunities
  • Provides the tools to graduate (or go on to grad school) on time
  • Prepares him for a future with manageable debt and the ability to be self-supporting at the life-style desired

Read Suzanne’s post: Making the Illogical Logical-The Final College List

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Suzanne and I will share more insights into making a great college list on Wednesday’s Parent night (the fourth Wednesday of each month) on #CampusChat, Wednesday, July 23, 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will talk about the many factors to consider, how to finalize the list and the parent role in the process. Join us and bring your questions and comments.

UPDATE: If you missed the chat or participated and want to review the great information and links shared, check out the recap.

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Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

How Academic Performance Affects Children’s Confidence

Confidence. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Confidence. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Part of raising independent, self-supporting children is making sure they have the confidence to thrive on their own, know who to count on and ask for help when needed. Alexandra Berube shares some keen insights about how education influences student self-esteem starting with kindergarten in her guest post. Well said Alexandra.

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In my years as an educator, I have commonly found that students at all ages are good at hiding what they don’t know. It’s a basic human emotion to want to fit in with your peers and not let anyone see that you’re falling behind. I remember times myself in middle school and high school when I was too embarrassed to ask a question in front of the class and would just plod along, hoping to figure out the concepts on my own at some point. I remember in particular that I didn’t understand most of what was going on in my Pre-Calculus class, and I’m sure if you asked many adults, they would tell you the same; everyone remembers some class that completely baffled them, but their pride kept them from asking for help.

What affected me the most was my work with kindergarteners, because there is such a large range between skill levels at that age. Some students come in reading chapter books fluently, and some come in without knowing all of their letters. The ones that are behind immediately see what their peers can do that they can’t, and it makes them become more quiet and isolated. They often find opportunities to hide in the crowd so that no one can see their weaknesses. It is so sad and troubling as an educator to see the confidence of a child at such a young age already start down the path of self-doubt.

When I work with middle-schoolers, they know what their strengths and weaknesses are, and they know what they are “bad at.” There is no reason that an eleven-year-old should already have decided that they are bad at an academic subject. Of course there will always be concepts that are more difficult than others in each subject area, but at some point children internalize that they are just not going to succeed in certain areas, and this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. They learn to compensate for their weaknesses by focusing on their strengths, but as a result, their weaknesses grow and grow from underuse. How many adults do you know that say they are terrible at writing, or terrible at spelling, or terrible at math? Ask any of these adults when they decided these facts about themselves, and I’m sure many of them will tell you that those roots lie very deep in their educational history.

It is so important to encourage children at every single stage of development that no matter how difficult a task or concept might appear to be, they can master it. Yes, some children will develop to be brilliant mathematicians, and some will demonstrate a natural talent for expressive writing, but there is no reason for any child to grow up feeling like they are impeded in some way, and that they can never move past this break in confidence to be successful in their future.

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Alexandra Berube started Boston Tutoring Services, LLC., in January, 2010, while teaching her second year of Kindergarten in a small, inclusive classroom. Her background experience in test preparation, including ISEE/SSAT/ACT/SAT, led her to focus on these services in addition to academic subject tutoring. Personal attention and individualized instruction are the cornerstone of Boston Tutoring Services, and she seeks to guide and fully support every family through the process of working with her tutors. She only hires the highest quality tutors with educational degrees, teacher certification, and a superior level of expertise in test preparation. As a former teacher herself, with an M.Ed. from Lesley University, she believes that having a personal connection with parents is crucial to a child’s success, and understanding the value of an individualized approach makes all the difference.

Wednesday’s Parent: Safety revisited

STOP for safety review. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

STOP for safety review. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Safety and ways to protect ourselves and our children are topics that demand repeating. Our guard is up at the beginning and end of the school year but in between, routines may make us lax. Such is the case in summer. However, the warm weather break doesn’t make dangers disappear in camp, on vacation and even in our own backyard.

Suzanne and I are reviewing our safety tips for you to share with your teens and continue to enjoy a Happy and Healthy summer.

Here are my six ways parents can help their children of any age learn to protect themselves: Safe v. Sorry

Read Suzanne’s post: Top 5 Posts about Safety

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Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start! \

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

 Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

Wednesday’s Parent: Using irony and a proverb as self-motivation for your teen

The path to self-motivation. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

The path to self-motivation. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

The problem of motivation before the longest school break has many parents worried. The concern is teen’s thoughts of summer fun are pushing aside the facts of studies learned right before finals. It’s a big issue for the college-bound when grades matter on college applications and worse for those with college acceptances which may be rescinded for poor academic performance.

Suzanne and I already gave our tips for dealing with spring fever and senioritis. An irony and an old proverb may have the best solution now.

Irony: The longest day of the year is the summer solstice which means the days grow shorter just as summer begins.

Proverb: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Your teen probably isn’t thinking about the irony because he’s too happy focusing on summer fun, perhaps a job and definitely a break from the routine grind. As for the proverb, you probably have tried several ways over the years to motivate your child. Most likely, none of these involved teaching the skill of self-motivation.

Merging the ability to concentrate on objectives with the skill to to self-motivate sets your child on a path to independence and self-sufficiency. In college he will be able to light his own fire to complete class assignments. For work, she will be able to get the job done by set deadlines. As to meeting family and friends obligations, he will step up. All by him or herself.

Self-motivation comes from within and the result is parents may be able to put away those carrots or sticks used in the past. Think of it as a great companion to our tips for passing the responsibility torch.

Here are four ways self-motivation leads to your teen’s success:

1. Goals If your teen understands what he wants, he has a better chance of making goal attainment his own priority.

2. Empowerment If your teen knows her capabilities, she has the confidence to try it her way.

3. Urgency If your teen has a to do list and matching deadlines, his actions will lead to his own successes or failures.

4. Rewards If your teen is vested in the outcome, she will find her own satisfaction in achievement.

Read on for Suzanne’s post: Motivating an Unmotivated Student

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Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

Wednesday’s Parent: Surviving your teen’s prom

Gold star award for parents surviving their teen's prom. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Gold star award for parents surviving their teen’s prom. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

I think there should be award ceremonies for parenting. One of the featured categories should be Prom. At the very least, gold stars should be handed out.

How parents deal with this high school rite of passage runs the gamut of feelings from worry to excitement. Teen expectations are also running at an all time high.

I survived my kids’ proms and you will survive this year’s prom season, too. Suzanne and I gave our insights about partying and the college-bound teen but prom presets some unique issues. I did a quick web search and found several suggestions for parents and students. Many tips revolve around prom safety. I’m sharing 10 of my favorites:

1. Trust your parenting from about.com Teens  Prom is a way for your child to test the good decision-making skills and values you have taught. it is also a time for parents to step up their game if they are hosting or double-check their teen’s plans if they aren’t.

2. Have a plan from EmpoweringParents.com When you consider consequences should your child disregard or defy your limits and expectations, think like a business transaction rather than emotionally.

3. Initiate the conversation from USNews.com Prom provides a new venue to revisit conversations about drinking, drugs, driving, sex and other risky behaviors a few days prior to the party. Here the emphasis is on having fun and creating wonderful memories while keeping safe.

4. Provide perspective from San Diego Family Magazine Teens have a bright future of adult learning and working within reach. Bad behavior may result in more than parental ire. High schools may suspend or expel and colleges may revoke acceptance offers for illegal behavior. Definitely not a good start towards independence.

5. Communicate with others from SADD It’s good to speak with other parents and get info from the school, prom venue and driving arrangements to confirm prom plans and learn the rules.

6. Help with the prep from CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Sunburns from last-minute tanning attempts, dehydration from exercise binges to get in shape, illness from crash dieting, skin and other allergic reactions from cosmetics/dyes, and blisters from ill-fitting shoes may be easily avoided with proper planning and trial runs of products being used for prom.

7. Budget in advance from me Call me crazy but I couldn’t see why families go so financially crazy with college around the corner. As a parent/student team, we brainstormed possible expenses and ways to hold down costs to take advantage of sales, discounts and options. My children did the same with their friends so we were also able to cost share certain expenses.

8. Charge the phone from Cook Children’s Health Care System Make sure your teen’s phone is charged when he/she leaves. Decide on a code-word or phrase to use to prevent teen embarrassment if a call must be placed.

9. Take the picture and don’t cry from CommonHealth They look so grown-up, don’t they? Hold back the tears and prolonged good-byes and take a picture to celebrate your child’s growing independence. Years later, most kids will want this prom remembrance showing off freshly pressed and carefully planned attire no matter how much future styles change. You will want it, too.

10. Continue the conversation from Nassau County Security Police Information Network Pre-plan, role play, and set guidelines and curfews. Most importantly, be their back-up. If plans change, teens should know to call with revisions and if they need a ride home.

Read Suzanne’s post: Oh the conversations you should have (before Prom)

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Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

Wednesday’s Parent: Parenting the superstar and the struggler

Many paths lead to success Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Many paths lead to success Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

The college-bound often place the schools they are considering in one of three categories based on college admission requirements and student qualifications. Reach schools are those where student qualifications don’t fulfill college requirements but the student really wants to attend. Match or target schools are those where student qualifications meet college requirements. Safety schools are those where student qualifications exceed college requirements.

College choices may force a reevaluation of how parents and students view their current position as superstar, struggler or squished somewhere in between. For example, a school valedictorian may fall short compared with other applicants for admission at an elite college. Or an average student may be a catch for a college with lower selective criteria. Or a struggler may find himself on a par with other students on campus.

The college process can shake up perceptions and turn self-images upside down. Parents may prepare their students for the future with these five tips:

Recognize accomplishments Self-confidence in one’s abilities starts with recognizing the capability for achievement. Low self-esteem is the enemy here that will erode a student’s desire to try.

Praise the effort Not all hard work achieves the goal but many will say it is the failures that lead to future success. The key is finding reward in the journey as well as in accomplishment.

Provide opportunities Some things come easy and some things are more challenging. Which is which differs according to one’s talents, skills and abilities and therefore some activities are more likely to lead to positive outcomes. Look strategically for ways to increase chances for success and strengthen weaknesses.

Have options There are always obstacles to goal achievement but there are also many yellow brick paths to success. Expectations are most helpful when mingled with other choices to adjust and prepare should Plan B or C be necessary.

Keep smiling A positive attitude accepts new challenges as opportunities. Most importantly, it puts setbacks into perspective and uses breakthroughs as motivation.

Read Suzanne’s postTwo Kids; Two Academic Styles

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Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

Wednesday’s Parent: Making social media work for you

Alan Katzman Social Assurity LLC

Alan Katzman
Social Assurity LLC

Social media has become increasingly important for the college-bound and job seekers because colleges and employers have become more interested in applicants’ virtual selves. In last December’s Wednesday’s Parent, I described the who, what and why about a Social media makeover and Suzanne wrote about The good, the bad and the ugly.

We are taking it one step further by showing parents and students how to use their social media as a tool to work for them, not against them.

Follow my three C’s for social media: create, coordinate and control.

Create positive online content. Whether you are creating a blog or commenting on someone else’s material, do more than apply the Grandma rule before posting. Go beyond cleaning up your act and show yourself (abilities, accomplishments, interests, skills, talents) off.

Coordinate online information. Chances are you have a host of social media accounts. Take charge of them so they all have the common theme with no conflicting material of showing you (abilities, accomplishments, interests, skills, talents) in the best light.

Control your online reputation Whether you set up a Google alert for your name or hire a professional to check, stay informed about how you appear online and be ready for damage control.

Read Suzanne’s post: Teen Social Media Lifestyles and Outcomes.

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Expert Alan Katzman, founder of Social Assurity LLC is our #CampusChat guest on Wednesday, May 28, 9pm ET/6pm PT. He will talk about digital footprints and explain how the college-bound and their parents may enhance their online presence for when colleges, coaches and employers take a look.

UPDATE The #CampusChat was so successful that it was trending! Get the Q &A Takeaway Tweets and full Recap on Storify.

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Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

How science can help the college-bound find success and happiness

What makes students happy and successful is the question behind this cool Infographic from Happify. It is also the query stressing parents of the college-bound and students during the graduation season.

Based on the premise that happiness is a skill to be strengthened, Happify’s mission is to “make the benefits of scientific discovery readily available and usable by you in an interactive way.” To do this, they apply their expertise in gaming and technology to findings from “the field of positive psychology—the scientific study of what makes people thrive and lead meaningful lives.”

Parents and their college-bound children may use the tips from Happify, the online personal happiness trainer, as it explains the scientific research on education, striving for success and happiness.

Check out Happify Infographic’s suggestions about becoming “grittier” and the pointers about what benefits and matters to students. Perhaps the most interesting tidbit is the last one that explains the good lifelong news for college grads who earn their degrees during an economic recession.

Infographic: What makes students happy and successful? – Happify

Happify - Infographic - Graduation and Education