What’s their challenge around change?

To make improvements in any organization means to change it. To move (figuratively or literally) from one place to a different place. But when the potential for change hits people, they often get defensive and shut it down. The familiar is a comfortable place to be. And the unknown is easier to avoid if we […]

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Self-explanations are the best explanations

I’ve written often that the surest way to learn any new material is to teach it back to an imaginary audience. The act of explaining something clearly and cogently activates a different part of your brain and is a lot more effective than passively reviewing or memorizing. Here’s more evidence–a study showing that self-explanation turns […]

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Authoritative is not helicoptering

The title of Pamela Druckerman’s recent New York Times piece, “The Bad News About Helicopter Parenting: It Works,” will delight those parents who are running their children’s lives. But a closer read–and the referenced research–reveals that she’s not really talking about helicopter parenting. From the article: The most effective parents, according to the authors, are […]

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Self zero-sums

The zero-sum approach dictates that for one side to win, the other must lose. There’s no win-win, no version of an agreement where both sides get some of what they want and still feel whole at the end. It’s all or nothing, one winner, one loser. If you sit down at the lunch table ahead […]

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The effort to save

While financial aid officers use formulas to determine a family’s financial need, they also retain a lot of latitude to make decisions that might go against their calculations. And one potentially important and often overlooked way to influence that decision is the degree to which a family has made an honest effort to save, regardless […]

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Do them anyway

Students and their parents often lament the qualities, talents, and contributions that colleges won’t see during the application process. If only the college could see how nice you are to your younger siblings, the way people respond to you at the counter of your part-time job, the relationships you build or focus you maintain or […]

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What are your ideas worth?

If you’re in a club, organization, or company, you’ve probably come across people who have lots of ideas. They’ve always got a suggestion about what the group should change, initiate, or roll out. And they often express those ideas with some version of, “We should…” “We should do a different fundraiser this year—nobody likes selling […]

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Distraction out, focus in

Imagine you’re struggling in a class, so you ask your teacher if you can get some extra help at lunch. Your teacher agrees, but when you arrive, ready to explain where you’re struggling, they say, “I’m just going to grade these papers. But keep talking.” You sit down with your college interviewer who says, “Tell […]

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You see what you look for

Families tend to see what they look for as they move their way through a student’s college preparation process. If you look for perceived advantages others received that somehow hurt you, you’ll find them. If you look for experiences that left you smarter, more mature, or otherwise better prepared for college, you’ll find them. If […]

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Giving kids agency

It’s a difficult balancing act for parents to help their kids develop the skills to be successful while simultaneously letting go enough to allow them to develop the agency to become capable young adults. If you’re a parent struggling with this challenge, give this 40-minute interview with author and former Stanford dean of freshmen Julie […]

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