Why Teens Should Master the Skype Interview

These days, connecting with admissions officers, coaches, and potential employers via Skype (or FaceTime) is becoming more and more common.

Video interviewing represents a new "life skill" that high schoolers should embrace and practice sooner rather than later.

Most of my mentoring sessions with PrepWell students are held via Skype (or FaceTime) to maximize efficiency.

Not only does this help me stay in touch with them, but it allows them to practice this important skill in a non-intimidating setting.

I'd rather that they learn and make mistakes with me, than with a college admissions officer, coach, or potential employer. I'm their mentor and part of my role is to provide praise and constructive criticism where appropriate. 

I even mentor my own children via Skype when we are in the same house.

PREPARATION STILL WINS THE DAY

Just because an interview is conducted remotely, doesn't mean it's any less important. First impressions count whether in-person or online.

Students...

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Sweet & Sour Summer

Summer is a few weeks away. Does your child have a plan?

Within PrepWell Academy, I spend significant time helping students plan their summers. This entails several weeks of advice, recommended websites, prompts for self-reflection, and interest inventories.

Why are summers so important?

  • An opportunity to learn and grow
  • Time to prepare for standardized tests
  • A chance to "test a theory" about careers
  • A break from over-scheduled school year
  • A time to earn money
  • Exposure to college coaches
  • and more...

If you would like your child to get the full playbook on these options and their pros and cons, enroll them in PrepWell Academy.

I do have a general recommendation, however, that applies to all high school students.

Have your child pursue a "sweet and sour" summer. That is, 50% sweet (or fun) and 50% sour (or hard). I'm sure they will have plenty of ideas for the sweet part.

For the sour part, they get to pick from these options:

  1. construction work
  2. landscaping
  3. moving and storage company...
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The Chore Wars

My wife and I understand the importance of chores. They teach responsibility, accountability, discipline, pre-planning, and the value of money.

Our four children, apparently, never got the memo.

We have tried many times, unsuccessfully, to create a chore system that works. Each attempt has gotten progressively more serious.

The length of this email is reflective of the months it took us to get it right.  If you value chores - but haven't quite cracked the code - it may be worth the read.

In military terms, we have now reached DEFCON 2 (Defense Condition 2: one step before maximum readiness for nuclear war).

Here is our journey to the brink of a nuclear chore war:

DEFCON 5 (lowest state of readiness): Just Tell Them
At first, we just told our kids what their chores were and expected them to do them. What a rookie mistake. Who were we kidding? It was a disaster. They claimed they didn't know what to do, wondered why they had to do X when their brother could do Y, insisted they...

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New Lacrosse Recruiting Rules

In case you haven't heard, the NCAA just passed a proposal that would eliminate recruiting in high school lacrosse until September 1 of a student's junior year. The proposal hasn't been officially adopted yet, but most people say it will pass.

Yes, feel free to take a long, drawn-out, sigh of relief.  You deserve it!

For those who don't appreciate this development, here's what's been going on: 

Top college lacrosse programs have increasingly been making verbal "offers" to kids while they are still in 8th grade. I won't get into how messy this has made the recruiting process for all involved. I'm sure you can imagine the pressure, anxiety, and craziness that this has wrought for coaches, parents, and students. 

Assuming the proposal passes, here's how things will likely change:

College Coaches
This is a big bonus for them. They didn't like this process either. They didn't enjoy having to keep track of middle school prospects. It was like a lottery, where coaches had to...

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Role-Play with Your Kids

Role-playing can be a great way to teach kids how to deal with uncomfortable (and sometimes dangerous) situations.

For instance, consider the conditions surrounding a teenager when it comes to drinking alcohol for the first time.

Typically, this scenario plays out at a friend's house with a small group of friends or teammates. One of the kids has access to alcohol and suggests that they "try it".

If your son or daughter is part of the group, the pressure to conform can be daunting.

To prepare my kids for this scenario, I role-play with them.

Scenario #1: Sneaking alcohol

Teammate: "Hey, wanna try some beer? I took some from the garage. My parents have no clue."

Your child (reluctantly): "I'm not sure. I haven't ever tried it."

Teammate: "Dude, so what. Everyone has to start sometime. Try it..."

Your child: "Nah, no thanks."

Teammate: "Dude, what's the big deal? Just take a sip. It's not going to kill you. I do it all the time."

Your child: "I don't want to barf, man."

Teammate: "You...

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Best Summer Job: Career Shadowing

In addition to last week's question regarding How do I build a list of colleges? the next biggest challenge I hear from parents (and kids) seems to be:

"What should my child do this summer?"

Of course, the standard, generic advice is:

  • find a job
  • find an internship
  • volunteer

I like to provide more unconventional advice to my PrepWellers.

Cast a Wide Summer Shadow

If your child wants a unique summer experience, encourage them to "shadow" as many people in as many careers as possible.

These days, kids have no clue what people do at their jobs.

They see people rush into buildings, shuffle around the streets with their Starbucks coffee, and sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the freeway.

What happens the other 97% of the time?

My 8th-grade son is obsessed with the question:

"Dad, what do people do all day at work?"

He is fascinated by the whole concept.

Unfortunately, I haven't the foggiest idea what to tell him.

I haven't had a conventional job for many years so I find it difficult to...

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11 Ways to Help your Child with Homework

By the time your child gets to high school, they should be completely self-sufficient when it comes to homework.

This skill comes more naturally to some children than to others (first-born children seem to "get-it" a little sooner than second or third, for instance).

As parents, it's our responsibility to ensure they have this skill mastered by the time they reach 9th grade.

Consider these factors when helping your child build this important habit:

Same time: Establish a specific time to complete homework and stick to it. Ideally, this would be right after school and prior to sports, social activities, and entertainment. My favorite quote is "Do the hard stuff first".

Same place: Identify a place for homework and make it the same spot every time. (e.g. kitchen table, bedroom, home office, Starbucks, etc.)

Clutter free: Clear the workspace of non-homework related items - even if it means moving items into a different room temporarily during homework time. The fewer things on the desk...

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How a Navy SEAL studies for the SAT

If your son or daughter is taking the SAT or ACT in the coming weeks, here are some tips to help them maximize their score:

Common (but good) advice

  • Register for the exam
  • Prepare well in advance
  • Match study style with learning style (e.g. book, online, classroom with students, tutor, etc.)
  • Learn tips and tricks to help manage time, guessing strategies, etc.
  • Get plenty of sleep the night before

PrepWell's "uncommon" advice

Take practice tests under real test-taking conditions - over and over again!

Let me elaborate. Many students spend a lot of time looking for hacks, tricks, and shortcuts to improve their test scores. They also normally study in "short bursts" (e.g. Study Math for 40 minutes every M, W, F) - when they really should be spending a lot more time and effort simply taking more full-length tests.

In my opinion, a large component of how well you perform on the test will be based on how much mental endurance you have built up by test day.

Most high school students aren't...

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How to Build your List of Colleges in 4 Steps

 

I talk to parents and students every day about college prep, class choices, SAT or ACT, summer jobs, etc. I love it!

Parents and students are very receptive and appreciative of the information.

There is one topic, however, that strikes fear into most people.

The question is,

"How do I build my initial list of colleges"

After all, there are over 4,000 colleges to choose from. How do I shrink that number to 20?

It's a very daunting task that begs to be put on the back burner...until now!

The video below provides a 4-step method that will help you get the ball rolling. I can't claim that this method will build the perfect list on Day 1, but it can get you close.

This is just a small example of how PrepWell Academy breaks down complex issues into small, digestible, and actionable tasks.

Technically, this Lesson gets introduced to enrolled PrepWellers in 11th grade, but it is certainly something that parents of 9th & 10th graders should be aware of as well.    

...

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Why I turned down a $25K coaching gig

I just got back from a mastermind weekend with a few business associates where we exchanged ideas about our business prospects, challenges, and best practices.

I had a chance to introduce PrepWell Academy to the group. Needless to say, they were very excited, as many of them have children in 6th - 11th grade.

One particular participant, however, took me by surprise.

He told me he had a 9th-grade son who would be thrilled to do any one of the things I've done in my life.

This guy absolutely loved the idea of PrepWell and having me as a role model for his son; however, he wanted more. He wanted me to be his son's full-time college coach.

"I'll pay you $25,000 to coach him over the next 3 years," he told me.

Wow! I wasn't expecting that.

We spent the next 15 minutes chatting about his son, his $25,000 offer, and what type of coaching I thought would be most useful to him and his son.

By the end of the conversation, I had talked him out of spending $25,000 and into enrolling in PrepWell...

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