Supporter or boss?

This upcoming online session, “Homework and the Self-driven Child,” makes a compelling promise for parents: “In this class, we’ll explore the importance of helping children develop a sense of agency and responsibility so that your role becomes a consultant and supporter, rather than a boss.” I don’t have any affiliation with the class, but I […]

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College essay writer’s block?

If you’ve tried attacking one or more of your college essay prompts, but ended up staring at a blank screen only to vow to return later, you’ve got college essay writer’s block. And here’s a sure way to cure it. 1. Imagine you were told: “Submit a response to the prompt in the next 15 […]

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Rested is resilient

Positive psychologists Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielen share this snippet in their recent Harvard Business Review piece, “Resilience Is About How You Recharge, Not How You Endure”: “The misconception of resilience is often bred from an early age. Parents trying to teach their children resilience might celebrate a high school student staying up until 3AM to finish […]

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Is your story working?

Students, as you progress through high school, what stories are you telling yourself? This question is not the same as “What’s happened in your life in high school?” What actually happens is not always the same as the stories we tell ourselves. If your coach decides to start the new transfer student in the spot […]

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Be the different one

I’ve never been a Star Trek fan. But I heard an interview yesterday morning that included an anecdote about Leonard Nimoy’s character, Mr. Spock, that resonated with me. During one of the early episodes, the script called for seemingly every crewmember on the Starship Enterprise to panic about impending danger. But the director pulled Nimoy aside […]

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Join me to learn how to write better college essays

I’ll be teaching a free college essay webinar in two weeks. How to Craft Compelling, Cliché-Free College Essays Wednesday, August 21 2019 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. PDT All the details and registration information are here. I really enjoy speaking with students and parents about this topic, and I hope you’ll join me.

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Alarmism

I had a great visit with my parents last weekend but a less pleasant visit with my mother’s car. The vehicle is equipped with a warning system to alert you if you’re about to collide with something. It sounds great in theory. But in practice, any time you’re within fifteen feet of a solid object […]

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Are you mentorable?

I appreciated this recent piece, “Are you mentorable?” from the group who produces the TED Talks (appropriately, the article also includes a TED Talk video of the same name). I’ve often heard students or working professionals lament the lack of a mentor in their lives, as if they’re passive observers just waiting for the opportunity to […]

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Bite-sized chunks

Any big, long-running project, from college applications to a professional’s initiative at work, can feel overwhelming at the start. An as yet undefined but probably long list of to-dos. Difficult choices to be made. A feeling of urgency without a clear triaging of priorities. It can be enough to paralyze you to inaction or to […]

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How, not who

I’ve heard the conversation-starter, “Who would play you in a movie about your life?” But for parents of kids going through the college admissions process, I think it’s more compelling to consider the how, not the who. If a movie were made that accurately depicted your words, your actions, your relationship with your student, and […]

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