What are Non-Traditional Teen Activities?

Assume a group a college applicants have similar:

  1. GPAs
  2. standardized test scores
  3. and high school course loads

but participate in different "Extracurricular Activities" that could be categorized as Typical or Non-Typical Teen Activities.


TTA (Typical Teen Activities)

  • VP, Spanish Club
  • President, Student Government
  • Corresponding Secretary, Recycling Club
  • Jazz Ensemble member
  • Mathletes Competitor
  • Captain, Soccer Team
  • Chess Club Member
  • Book Club participant
  • School Tour Guide
  • Sales Clerk, Forever 21

NTTA (Non-Typical Teen Activities)

  • Founder, SlimeFest (World's Largest Slimemaking Convention)
  • Skateboard Artist and Instagram Influencer (250K followers)
  • Founder, Bird Scooter Services (maintenance, repair, charging)
  • Subject Matter Expert, 19th Century Military Leaders
  • Professional Nerf Gun Collector (350+ different Nerf weapons)
  • Khan Academy Expert (completed 750 unique learning modules)
  • TEDx Speaker (topic: the demise of local newspapers)
  • Airsoft Military Simulation World Games...
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PrepWell Podcast - Ep. 12 | Should my child take the SAT or ACT?

prepwell podcast Dec 15, 2019

Today, we’re talking about how to approach the SAT and/or ACT - the two standardized tests that most colleges will use to assess your child’s readiness for college.
 
This is a very important topic. As with most things related to college admissions, students and parents should get involved far sooner than they think - if they want to do well.
 
That’s the entire point of this podcast, and PrepWell Academy - to give you the early head’s - to help you prepare early - so that your child can perform well.
 
Here are some questions I address:
  • How do I approach these tests?
  • When should I take these tests?
  • Which test should I take?
  • What’s the difference between the tests?
  • How do I compare an ACT and SAT score?
  • Should I take one or both?
  • How big a deal is my score?
  • How many times should I take it? 
  • How much should I expect to improve?
  • What are the best ways to prepare for these tests?
  • What if I don’t want...
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How to Audit Your Child's Extracurriculars

Before we get too far into the new school year, I encourage you to perform an extracurricular activity audit with your 8th, 9th, or 10th-grader. Sounds like a blast, right?

This will either reinforce that you're on the right path, or open your eyes to a world you never knew existed.

Extracurricular activities are a critical component in the college admissions process - especially for very or most-selective colleges (Top 75).

Admissions Screen #1

There are 3 primary factors that determine whether or not your child will pass through the first admissions screen:

  1. GPA
  2. Rigor of course work (number of AP, Honors, IB classes)
  3. SAT or ACT score

As you move up the selectivity scale, the holes in the screen get smaller and smaller.

Admissions Screen #2

Once your child gets through Admissions Screen #1, admissions officers will then review their extracurricular activities:

  • sports
  • clubs
  • theater
  • music
  • family support (child or elder care)
  • job
  • summer experiences
  • internships
  • shadowing
  • volunteer...
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PrepWell Podcast - Ep. 11 | Everything you Need to Know About College Affordability

prepwell podcast Dec 08, 2019

In this episode, I break down the financial terminology and buzzwords surrounding college affordability. Unlike most generic overviews, however, I explain how these terms actually affect our lives. How much will college actually cost? At what income level does need-based aid disappear? And other difficult questions...

Show Notes:

In this episode, I advise parents on what they need to know about paying for college - before it’s too late. If parents put their heads in the proverbial sand until junior or senior year of high school, their financial flexibility may be severely limited. Listen to this podcast to orient yourself to the timing, relevance, and potential risks associated with today’s college costs and what you can do about them.

In this Episode:

0:00:51 Why is it hard to get straight answers from parents about financial aid?
0:02:00 What matters when it comes to paying for college?
0:03:15 The importance of early planning 
0:03:23 A...
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PrepWell Podcast - Ep. 10 | What to Expect of Your Freshman

prepwell podcast Dec 01, 2019

This podcast explores the life and times of freshmen in high school today. What are they up to? What's going through their minds? How motivated are they? How motivated should they be? Are we expecting too much or too little? How do we guide our freshman so that they start off on the right foot?

If you want to support the show, here are three immediate steps to take.  

  1. Subscribe to the podcast where ever you listen to podcasts
  2. Follow me on Instagram or Facebook
  3. Give us a review
  4. Join our mailing list
  5. Enroll your 9th or 10th grader in the program

What I discuss in this episode:

0:01:37 What is life like for today’s high school freshman?
0:02:14 The importance of peer groups
0:03:02 Why do freshmen do dumb things?
0:03:30 What do we want from our freshman?
0:04:14 How to avoid the big 4 life-altering mistakes
0:05:10 How do we get teens to think about the future?
0:05:24 How to build great habits (e.g....
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Are Kids Specializing in Youth Sports Too Early?

What Happened to All the 3-Sport Athletes?

These days, many parents (and their children) are feeling pressure to specialize in a particular sport earlier and earlier.

The pressure can come from coaches, parents, trainers, kids, or the media. A billion-dollar industry has emerged to meet this growing trend

In some cases, a child's first taste of athletic success (at age 5) will send a parent on two wheels to Dick's Sporting Goods. The sales associate sees this parent from a mile away. Hello daily sales quota!

I know it's flattering when the volunteer coach tells you that Ricky or Samantha has a "big league swing". You wonder, "Could it be? Could my son/daughter be that special athlete? Could I be the next Archie Manning?"

But before quitting soccer and dance and buying Ricky a $299 T-ball bat or Samantha a $199 softball glove, consider whether specializing so early is in their best interests?

This blog post makes the case for a slower transition to specialization - or no...

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PrepWell Podcast - Ep. 9 | Phil Black Answers Most Popular FAQs

prepwell podcast Nov 24, 2019

In this episode, I answer a ton of popular FAQs from parents, students, and PrepWellers. Check out the timeline below and see if any of these questions pique your interest.
If you want to support the show, here are three immediate steps to take.  
  1. Subscribe to the podcast where ever you listen to podcasts
  2. Follow me on Instagram or Facebook
  3. Give us a review
  4. Share this episode with a friend
  5. Join our mailing list
  6. Enroll your 9th or 10th grader in the program

Here are the questions I answer in this episode:

0:01:03 Do I have to take SAT Subject Tests?
0:03:01 Do colleges care if I take the SAT or ACT?
0:03:11 Is it true that Ivy League schools do not give merit scholarships?
0:03:49 How many times is too many for taking the SAT?
0:04:48 Is it possible to get a full-ride scholarship in baseball?
0:06:00 How many colleges should I apply to?
0:06:46 Is it better to get an A in a non-weighted class or a B in a weighted...
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3 Ways to Demystify College Admissions

As you probably know, there is a lot hype surrounding the college admissions process - probably too much.

Yes, it can be tricky if you wait until junior or senior year to start the process. The "wait-and-see" approach can lead to anxiety and broken dreams.

It doesn't have to be that way.

As you know, my deep conviction is that the college admissions process should be introduced to teenagers gradually beginning in 9th or 10th grade.

This early introduction puts families in the driver's seat.

Here are three steps you can take to help demystify the process.

STEP 1: CAMPUS VISITS THAT INSPIRE

How can we expect our children to care about college if they've never stepped foot onto a college campus?

Campus visits can often spark interest and curiosity in the process. Motivation can be triggered by the strangest things - a certain vision, feeling, or personal encounter they experience during their visits.

Of course, there is no guarantee that visiting colleges will motivate your child, but...

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PrepWell Podcast - Ep. 8 | Should I Seek College Admissions Advice for my Freshman or Sophomore?

prepwell podcast Nov 17, 2019

Show Notes:

Should you look for someone to help your freshman or sophomore with the college admissions process? If so, whom might that be, what might that person bring to the table, when should you start, how much should it cost, what should you expect, and what role should your child play (if any) in this decision? 
 
Questions to consider:
  1. Has your child ever been coached in a sport?
  2. Has your child ever had an instructor for a musical instrument?
  3. Has your child ever had a tutor to help with school work?
  4. Have you ever hired a plumber?
  5. Have you ever used an accountant?
  6. Have you ever engaged a lawyer? 
 
Options (assuming you agree that early engagement is important):
  1. Put your child in charge of their own preparation
  2. You take control of your child’s preparation 
  3. Pay an advisor for a 1-time assessment
  4. Enroll in PrepWell Academy
If you want to support the show, here are three immediate steps to take.  
  1. ...
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You made my son do what?

Would you want your son to experience this?

On a cool Friday afternoon in San Diego, CA, 36 high school lacrosse players (9th - 12th) were leisurely stretching out on a well-manicured grassy knoll 300 yards from the Pacific Ocean.

This was the group's final day of tryouts for the JV and Varsity lacrosse team. The participants were told to show up with a t-shirt and running shoes and to be prepared for a 3-hour workout.

Halfway through their stretching routine, two other former Navy SEAL Instructors and I emerged from of our cars and walked over to greet them. This was no ordinary greeting.

Here's how the next four hours unfolded for the group:


Activity: Introduction and (Dis)orientation

With bullhorn in hand, we told the group that the original plan had changed. The 3-hour workout had been extended to a 24-hour Hell Night where they would be tested with a series of mental and physical challenges that would last until the next day. This was not true, but we had to get the athletes...

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