Executive Function Strategies Blog

Activating Teens with a Summer Project to Build Executive Functioning

This turbulent school year has finally reached its end! But now that summer is here, many of you may be shifting into this new season with some concerns: What will my teen do if they’re not returning to camp? Will my teen be screen-bound for hours on end? Will my teen sleep all day and stay up all night, messing with their circadian rhythm? All of this upcoming downtime provides a host of new challenges, especially if you’re beginning to play the perilous game of overseeing your teen’s summer without creating conflict or managing outright rebellion.

But what if this surplus of free time could be viewed as an opportunity for your teen to explore their interests in order to build skills?



How Non-Cognitive Variables Can Help in the College Admissions Process

Editor’s note: This week, we feature guest blogger Karen Spencer, Director of Educational Counseling for Bright Horizons College Coach. Please read more about Karen below.

Ask any high school junior going through the college search process about the one thing that scares them most and you’ll usually hear them say “standardized tests.” The SAT and ACT tests have been around for a long time (the SAT will be 100 years old in 2026!), and so have students’ fear and loathing of them. While I don’t know any students that love standardized tests, they tend to be more problematic for some students than others. The bright side is that many, many schools read holistically in their admissions process, which is to say that they look at many factors outside of just the numbers—the “non-cognitive” aspects of an application—and this focus can be very helpful for a student who struggles with standardized testing. 



The Anxious, Stressed High School Student: An Executive Function Link

Adults don’t always think of high school as the “real world,” but for students navigating that stage of life, the stress is entirely real. The academic obligations start to get more challenging and the social expectations feel more intense — just when students are beginning to add college and career decisions into the mix that will affect the rest of their lives.

While that is a lot to handle, some of that stress can be mitigated with changes to the way that they manage their demands. The two students described below illustrate the connection between stress (and the anxious feelings that come with it) and executive functioning - and how learning more effective executive functioning techniques can bring down the anxiousness and increase their success.