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from the desk of @SoperWritings

What Makes a College Applicant Stand Out?

Since long before the Common App, students have been looking to gain an edge in the college admission process. The problem is a simple case of supply and demand: each year droves of students apply for a finite number of seats at the best colleges and universities. Some get in;  many more do not.

So what’s the secret? How can a student position him or herself to be one of the select few who receives a fat acceptance envelope instead of a flimsy one filled with disappointment?

It’s actually less complicated than you might think.

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Foster Executive Function Skills with Digital Breakouts

Students in the 21st Century need opportunities to develop a wide variety of executive function skills to prepare for success. Among these are crucial abilities like collaboration, task management, prioritization, and flexible thinking.

While there are a variety of ways to target these skills individually, digital breakouts are an engaging and fun way to tackle them together.

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Optimizing Your Student’s Summer Study Space

Studying over the summer isn’t fun. Sure there are ways to try and make it more exciting with games and engaging multimedia content, but for the most part, students study because they have to, not because they want to.

Therefore, as tutors and test prep professionals, it is crucial to ensure that the time students spend studying is both focused and productive. One of the most overlooked ways to maximize the effectiveness of a student’s studying time is taking a closer look at the studying environment itself.

A couple simple, purposeful choices can make a huge impact on the quality of a student’s studying experience! Here are some learning space hacks you can put in place for your students to help create a more optimized study space…

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7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

Sean Covey made a big splash in the world of self-help writing with his best-selling 1989 book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Often placed on a pedestal next to other classics like Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, Covey’s 7 Habits… created a recipe for personal and professional success that has transformed the lives of those who have read and followed its sage, yet practical advice.

The concepts are simple ones, yet can take on powerful meaning with the right perspective.

 

The Teenage Take

Covey has followed up on the success of 7 Habits… with a variety of other books built around numbered lists of habits, decisions, and reflections. One of the best of these follow-ups is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens.

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Getting the Rock Band Together

Back at the beginning of May, I wrote a piece about the positive impacts of music as an educational tool in the classroom. As school is winding down, I couldn’t help but reflect upon how influential music has been in my life. In most of these cases, what I learned from music came from moments outside of school.

Whether it’s singing karaoke, rocking out with a guitar, or pounding away on a cow bell, playing music can be a powerful experience. It can spark emotion, foster creativity, increase student engagement, and even make you smarter!

However, there is truly a magical quality to playing music when it is done with others. While playing music involves instruments and developing some fundamental skills, even novices can reap the benefits of finding ways to harmonize and create together.

The Power of Musical Journeys

Growing up in a musical family, I’ve always had access musical instruments and the encouragement to learn to play them. I spent hours in my room practicing for my clarinet lessons, noodling around on keyboards, and teaching myself guitar. While these efforts were personally rewarding, they pale in comparison to the experiences I’ve had playing music with others.

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