college prep

NYU Study Examines Top High School Students’ Stress and Coping Mechanisms

Article published by NYU, Press Contact: Christopher James.


The study shows that there is growing awareness many subgroups of youth experience high levels of chronic stress, to the extent it impedes their abilities to succeed academically, compromises their mental health functioning, and fosters risk behavior. Furthermore, this chronic stress appears to persist into the college years, and researchers warns it may contribute to academic disengagement and mental health problems among emerging adults.

  • Over time selective high schools have oriented themselves to address a context of increasingly competitive college admissions
  • School work, college applications, extracurricular activities, and parental expectations all contribute to teenagers’ stress
  • Youth, schools, and experts identified substance use as a common strategy for coping with stress

“School, homework, extracurricular activities, sleep, repeat—that’s what it can be for some of these students,” says Noelle Leonard, PhD, a senior research scientist at the New York University College of Nursing (NYUCN).

This article was republished from NYU,  read more.

Using Summer to Prepare College Applications

Wading through college application season is a stressful task for even the brightest, best prepared students. So how can your student mitigate the pressures of applying to college? For starters, students should use the summer to get a valuable head start on college applications. With that in mind, here a few ways for students to use their summertime to maximum benefit before the time comes to complete the stack of applications that await.  

· Create a detailed game plan.

Students can avoid getting overwhelmed by creating an explicit road map for college application season. Creating a calendar of important dates and deadlines, along with a corresponding checklist for each college or university’s required documents are helpful ways to streamline the application process and remove some of the anxiety from the equation. The summer gap is also an excellent time for students to connect with those they’ll be asking for letters of recommendation, providing plenty of time to tailor their letters accordingly.

· Deepen your research.

The relaxed pace of summer gives students a chance to dive into the details of the universities to which they plan to apply. A student can improve his or her odds of admittance by getting to know admission statistics made public by potential universities, which can add an edge to the application process. For instance, applicants are often grouped by geography, and certain areas may require a higher GPA to stand apart from the pack. Likewise, students who plan ahead during the summer months can determine whether applying Early Action can increase their chances. Research can also relate to scholarships, too. Direct your student to spend a lazy summer afternoon digging around for scholarships or grants that can make a difference in your bottom line when it comes time to attend university. 

· Focus on the essay section. 

The essay portion of college applications often intimidates student, who are insecure about their writing skills, or apprehensive about which topics to tackle.  That’s why it is so important that students plan ahead when it comes to college essays. The first order of business should be to zero in on a specific topic. It’s well known that subject matter which a student cares about will be far easier to write about at length, than a subject they don’t like. Students should dig into their activities, personal history, or interests to uncover and write about a lesson learned, a goal fought for, or an opinion to argue. Colleges are in search for specifics, and students can start by focusing on the details, rather than writing about broad concepts or qualities that don’t demonstrate individuality. 

Making the most of summer can give students a hearty advantage in the application process—including greater preparedness, a longer window to edit personal essays, and plenty of time to secure a letter of recommendation ahead of time from a favorite teacher. As a full-service tutoring and test prep services company, we understand the ins and outs of the college application process and can offer students comprehensive help on all aspects of academic

preparedness, standardized test prep, and skill building. Contact us today to help your student can get the head start that he or she needs to stand out this application cycle. 

New Year’s Resolutions for the College Bound Student

From freshmen to seniors, there are worthwhile strategies that students can employ in 2017 that will vastly improve the college admissions process ahead. With the clean slate of the New Year upon us, consider these academic resolutions as you and your student make your way through 2017, together. 

•    For Freshmen

First year students should create specific college application goals early on. Of course, interests and plans will evolve as the high school years go by, but that doesn’t mean he or she can’t make a timeline for college visits, prepping for the PSAT, SAT, and/or ACT, scoping out potential AP courses, extra-curricular activities of interest, and the like. By creating an overarching outline of their college preparedness plans now, freshman students can greatly reduce the stress associated with test prep and applications when the time to apply arrives.

•    For Sophomores
Many high school students wait until junior year before considering college admissions tests, but sophomores who take a hands-on approach to test prep won’t have to work their way up from a low score, or agonize over last-minute cram sessions. By encouraging your child to prepare for the PSAT, as well as research the right admissions test for their skillset (SAT II subject tests, the ACT vs. the SAT), he or she can focus clearly on honing their scores come junior year. 

•    For Juniors
In the midst of maintaining a solid GPA, prepping for the ACT/SAT, participating in activities, and the like, most students have to hustle to complete applications on time. Proactive juniors should use their valuable third year of high school to make a game plan for applications, allowing themselves enough time to create multiple essay drafts, seek letters of recommendation, and thoughtfully engage with college apps at an unhurried pace that’s ideal for best results.

•    For Seniors
Take a deep breath. For parents and students alike, the college application process has likely been a whirlwind. Even for families that prepare early and in detail, the emotional rollercoaster of college admissions merits you and your student some well-deserved time off. Don’t forget that the journey is just as important as the destination. The hard work and preparation he or she has put in will pay dividends in the future, no matter where he or she arrives for college in the fall. 

At Achieve Academics, we recognize that academic preparedness begins early on in a student’s life. That’s why we’ve identified and possess the tools and resources necessary to make your student’s high school career and college transition a positive and successful evolution. Whether your student is prepping for the SAT or ACT, AP tests, or brushing up on the basics, we have small groups classes and one-on-one tutoring that can make 2017 a year of life-changing academic growth for your student. 

What Colleges Look for in High School Student Transcripts

Because college admissions are more competitive than ever, an accepted application often comes down to the details. For instance, high school transcripts are an excellent way for students to positively differentiate themselves from other applicants. But what exactly are colleges looking for in a transcript, other than good grades?

·       It’s All About Balance

You and your student should consider a holistic approach to course selection. While your child may favor history courses over science, his or her transcript should display a willingness to explore and master a range of disciplines. Not only does a balanced transcript indicate broad academic capability, it also demonstrates a willingness to be challenged. Students with specialized academic talents should feel free to explore their favorite subjects, just not at the expense of a balanced academic course load.

·       Consider the Context

In addition to GPA and course selection, admissions committees also consider the curriculum offered by a student’s high school. If your student’s high school offers a wide range of AP or IB courses, he or she should take advantage of the most challenging courses available. However, different schools require and offer different courses, and students applying to college will have their transcripts assessed with access in mind.

·       Keep Rigor in Mind

Just as balance is important in course selection, level of difficulty is also a key component in a competitive high school transcript. Succeeding in rigorous, high-level courses—from upper division math and language classes, to AP and IB courses—clearly conveys a student’s readiness for college, as well as his or her ability to manage and prepare for a challenge; both are attributes that college admission committees seek.

·       Stay Consistent

College admission committees like to see students ascend the ranks of a discipline, so be sure that your student follows through on math, science, English, and history courses from freshman year through senior year, graduating to a higher level of difficulty as he or she goes. Also keep in mind that colleges use transcripts to confirm a student’s track record through senior year, so don’t let your child coast along in the home stretch—his or her transcript will show it. At Achieve Academics, we understand the demanding, detail-oriented nature of college admissions. From prepping for the SAT/ACT to brushing up on academic basics, we provide a range of small group classes, plus one-on-one tutoring, to ensure that your child demonstrates his or her strongest self when it’s time to apply to college. As you and your child work to sure up his or her transcript and course selections, keep in mind that you don’t have to do it all alone—we offer strategic, tailor-made academic resources for students of all learning styles and goals.