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Making College Affordable: 5 Tips for Securing Scholarships

College planning can be both exciting and stressful. While students and parents ...

The Best Strategy for Building Strong Student-Teacher Relationships

When I had to move when I was in college, I did what most people do: I asked my ...

Freshman Social Jitters? 5 Tips to Making Friends in College

As August nears its end and a new school year waits around the corner, a certain...

Making College Affordable: 5 Tips for Securing Scholarships

College planning can be both exciting and stressful. While students and parents celebrate this new stage and its milestones, for many, one question looms large: “Can we get help paying for this?” The answer to this question is, most often, yes. There are many sources of funding available other than student loans. The five tips below can help simplify your search by offering strategies for planning...

Back to Campus: Insights for Parents' Top 5 College Transition Worries

Transitioning to college is always difficult, but for the semester ahead, students and parents alike are more anxious than ever about the upcoming fall. During a year filled with upheaval and uncertainty, college life shifted dramatically, eliminating the traditional college experience many students had anticipated. But this fall, students are likely looking at a more “normal” semester of in-perso...

Answers to Parents' 5 Biggest Questions (From Student Success Experts)

One benefit of having over 400 coaches at Beyond BookSmart is the ability to gather insights from such a wide field of Executive Function experts. And given how chaotic this past academic year has been, our coaches have become accustomed to answering some of the most pressing concerns that parents have about their kids’ learning. In this week’s article, two of our coaches, Diana Horan and Sarah Va...

Inside a Master's Mind: How Chess Builds Executive Function Skills

2020 was a year filled with discovering (or rediscovering) new activities to keep us occupied in a COVID world: the joy of baking banana bread, learning a new instrument, decluttering long-neglected areas of our homes - and, more recently, the mental workout of playing chess. Thanks to the popular Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit,” chess has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. And unlike the ext...

What High School Juniors Can Do Now to Make Senior Year Less Stressful

Editor’s note: This week, we feature guest blogger Emily Toffelmire, Senior Manager of Educational Counseling for Bright Horizons College Coach. Please read more about Emily below. Senior year of high school can be one of the most memorable and fun times in a young person’s life. But for students who put off all things college-app related until then, that first semester can be a stressful and slee...

When Your Technology Fails: 6 Tips for Calm Solutions

Imagine this - it’s the day of your World History exam. You’ve studied all week and are feeling confident. Your workspace is cleared and ready to go. Five minutes before the start time you attempt to log on to the main classroom page. A screen that says “no internet connection” is staring back at you. No, this can’t be happening! There are only four minutes left until everyone else will be startin...

The Best 15-Minute Strategy for Overwhelmed Parents

Ah, the pandemic... Overnight, many of us parents became a nurse, a short-order cook, a guidance counselor, a teacher, and - most of all - a multitasking pro. From worried, sleepless nights to tired workdays, life as a parent in 2020 has been a challenge with seemingly no end in sight. How can we as parents possibly help our children when we are feeling totally overwhelmed?

How Establishing Routines Helps Students Cope with the Pandemic

Predictability. Just the word itself provokes a sense of calm. Unfortunately, the world we live in at the moment is probably going to be the most unpredictable we have and will ever experience and none of it is in our control. We have a choice to allow this fact to overwhelm us or we can focus on what we can control. What can we do to make our personal worlds more calm, stable, and enjoyable?  

Gaining Calm by Organizing: How to Clear Your Space & Mind

We are living in an unprecedented time. As easy as it is to become overwhelmed amidst the chaos, there are things we can do to take control of the world around us in order to bring about a sense of security and calm. One of the most effective steps we can take to do this is by first getting a grip on our organizational skills. With so many of us being stuck at home, this may present the perfect op...

The Anxious College Student: An Executive Function Connection

College students have plenty of fuel for anxiety. They’re in a social and academic environment that’s significantly different than any that they’re used to. They’re often trying to balance course work with a job - in addition to social and family obligations. And they’re doing all this while also trying to chart out a plan for their entire future (and trying not to think too hard about all the stu...

Why Smart Kids Can Struggle in School

The first part of the school year is almost in the record books, and already you see the writing on the wall. Your bright, funny, curious child brought home a backpack crammed with crumpled worksheets, last week’s hummus snack, and teacher comments that were less than stellar. You know she can do better. Her teachers know she can do better. Your child wants to do well - but is at a loss as to how....

The Anxious Elementary Student: An Executive Function Connection

Students in elementary school often have good reason to feel anxious. Whether it’s taking tests in class, handling unexpected changes in a schedule, or remembering to take their materials home or to school, young students have a number of daily demands that require using their Executive Function skills. And because those very skills are still developing in their brains, elementary-aged kids won’t ...

How to Feel Less Overwhelmed During Final Exams

Recently, a college freshman (who happens to be our founder’s daughter, Jenna) shared with us her detailed plan to get through the first finals period of her college career. What do you notice as you look at this plan? To start, if you’re a parent, maybe you’re whispering a fervent “Thank goodness I’m done with school!” as you look at the work ahead of this student. Maybe as you look closer, you n...

A Day in the Life of a 10th Grader with Executive Function Challenges

Morning Mad Dash: 6:57 AM - Scrambling Out the Door Olivia has to catch the bus at 7:30, and she likes to sleep in until 6:45 … and maybe hit the snooze button one or two times after that. That leaves her about half an hour to madly dash about the house eating breakfast, choosing an outfit, brushing her teeth, packing her lunch, changing after reconsidering her outfit, texting her friends, returni...

Allowing Your Child to Fail: When Rescuing Impedes Learning

With a new school year beginning, it’s a perfect time to anticipate some bumps in the road and have a plan in place to navigate them with your child. If you’ve seen a pattern of needing to rescue your child from poor planning, the odds are that theme will creep up again this year. Before you rush to be a first responder to your child’s next Homework 911 call, consider what might be gained from all...

How to Manage a Busy Schedule: The Planning Power of Shared Calendars

My sister is going to visit my parents this weekend; maybe I should plan to do the same. My dog has a vet appointment next week at the same time that my fiancé has a meeting; I guess I’ll be on my own with doggy duty. There’s a Red Sox home game at the same time as my field hockey game near Fenway on Monday; I’ll need to leave pretty early to get there. Am I blessed with clairvoyance? Well, almost...

Can Overwhelmed Students Achieve Work-Life Balance?

Last week, I had a meal at one of my favorite Italian restaurants. The food there is simplicity at its best; the chefs use straightforward, focused ingredients to create one delicious dish in which you can taste every hint of flavor. Everything on the plate has a purpose, and there are no frills- just good, tasty food. The ability to create a menu in which all elements harmonize together to accomp...

Can Executive Function Coaching Improve Relationships?

Over the winter break a friend of mine tells me about one of his coworkers, and his story sounds something like this: “I had an important work meeting last month that was scheduled to begin at 9am, sharp. At 9:03 I start pacing a bit because Jackson, my colleague who’s supposed to be presenting with me, hasn’t shown up yet. He texts me at 9:06 saying “running late. start w/o me.” So, I just dive r...

Homework Help: Plan Your Study Breaks

We’ve all been there. A mountain of homework sits in front of your child. He’s feeling overwhelmed. You’re feeling anxious. It seems like he’s barely into the first row of problems on that math worksheet when he asserts his urgent desire to take a break. Before you know it, homework time stretches into dinner time and family time and bedtime. And nobody is having a good time. You're looking for ho...

Planning and Prioritizing: A Moving Story from an Executive Function Coach

On August 17th I walked away from the closing table with a single key in my hand that had “41” written in marker on the keychain.  This item would let me into my new home, my FIRST home ever.  And with that realization, I began to panic. I spend the majority of my career working with students on their Executive Functioning as it relates to academic success. I often share with students the ways in ...

Academic Coaching in Action: Transforming Disorganized Students

As academic coaches, our goal is to teach students how to study and to provide them with tools, strategies and Executive Function support. This particular story is not necessarily one that happens with every student, but it demonstrates the power of coaching combined with a student who is open and willing to learning new ways to manage to their academic demands. As the old proverb goes..."Give a m...

Executive Function Skills: Weathering the Storm of College Applications

If you are the parent or guardian of a rising high school senior, then you know that this time of year has guidance counselors gearing up for their busy season (kind of like tax preparers in April).  With the college application process close at your heels, your Executive Function skills are put to the ultimate test: Can I stay cool, calm, and collected throughout this project? Can I assist my chi...

Executive Functions Make the Grade

Projects and essays and tests, oh my! Previously we looked at 5 red flag statements that could signal difficulties with your child's Executive Functions, or self-management skills. Maybe they sounded familiar to you. Having coached hundreds of students with Executive Functioning challenges, we've heard a wide variety of statements that set off our coaching alarms. Some of the most commonly heard s...

Mommy Brain: From Good Executive Functioning To Goo

According to the urban dictionary, “mommy brain” is “the phenomenon known to mothers where their brains become useless piles of goo after being around their children for too long.” In my world, the useless pile of goo is what remains of my once perfect ability to plan and prioritize, manage my time, sustain attention, and regulate my emotions. In short, my children have devoured my Executive Funct...

Planning & Prioritzing: Packing 101

My oldest and best friend was turning a milestone age (use your imagination), and we headed to NYC for a quick overnight visit to celebrate her birthday. She knew I was terrified of driving in the city, so she happily took over for me somewhere in Connecticut. A crazy stroke of luck found us free parking yards away from our hotel. She expertly manuevered my car into the shoebox-sized spot. I flung...

The Lost Art of Planning

Is our ability to plan ahead becoming a vestigial organ?

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