Marie Schwartz on Remote Based Opportunities for Teens During COVID-19

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Welcome to College Admissions in the Era of COVID-19 Virtual Summit! On today’s episode, we give you a glimpse into Dr. Legatt’s conversation with Marie Schwartz.


VO: Welcome to College Admissions Real Talk with Dr. Aviva Legatt, a podcast for students seeking to get admitted to top-tier colleges. Each episode will feature an important tip for your college admission success, delivered with candor and love. If you’ve ever wanted to take a peek inside the mind of a college admissions officer, this is your chance. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222-5762. So, what’s your dream school? 

AL: Welcome to College Admissions Real Talk. I am Dr. Aviva Legatt, founder and elite admissions expert at Ivy Insight and author of “Get Real and Get In”. You’re going to be hearing today from our summit speaker, and I’m so excited to share just a glimpse of the summit with you. I wanted to give you a sense of what you missed if you had to miss it and invite you to get a VIP All-Access Pass to the summit. This access pass will allow you to get full, unlimited and lifetime access to all those session recordings. This is just a clip. You’ll also have the ability to attend live Q & A session with me where I will answer your questions about college admissions right on the spot. And you’re going to also gain access to my personal Ultimate College Application Template bundle with bonus materials and that has a value of $397. So click on the show notes. Go ahead, reserve your VIP ticket so that you can gain access to the full summit experience and all its perks. See you soon. 

Marie Schwartz is a CEO at Teen Life Media. She founded Teen Life media in 2008 to support parents in her community and make it easier to find meaningful learning experiences for students between the ages of 13 and 18. Fortunately, there are so many opportunities offered today. Teen Life has curated over 10,000 opportunities consisting of summer programs, gap years, volunteer experiences after school, high schools, and colleges. So there’s a huge listing on teenlife.com of all different kinds of opportunities. And Marie is at the home of this community and gathering all the opportunities for us. So today we’re going to be talking all about these kinds of opportunities, both virtual as well as some that are coming back in person. The name of the game has been “What can we do on Zoom?” And “where can we find our kids things to do online?” And now this year we’re looking online and we’re also looking at some opportunities in person. Hi, Marie. Welcome! 

MS: Nice to see you. Thank you for having me. 

AL: My pleasure. So I just shared with the audience a little bit about your work, but would love to hear from you what has been going on in your world over the last year or so. And what are you working on now? 

MS: The great news is that the industry that caters to families who have children between 13 and 18 are as passionate as ever and committed as ever to giving students a meaningful experience. So last summer or last March, I should say when all this starts started happening, a lot of panic about what would happen. So we saw panic on the provider side. We saw panic on the family side. It seemed like the colleges that were offering precollege programs, which are experiences for students who are not yet college age. They were more successful, I would say, than any other type of organization that we saw to pivot from an inperson experience to an online experience because they had needed to do that for their college students. Already we were really prioritizing in person experiences previous prior to COVID-19 there weren’t that many, frankly, virtual experiences for teams, and we felt that that inperson component was really critical to the learning experience. What we’ve since found out is that going virtual doesn’t mean that it’s awful. And so I would like to speak to you today about what kinds of experiences there are and allow you to think about what would work best for you and your child. As we know, the teen years are quite turbulent, and I always saw that in my children certain things were much further along than others. And depending on your child, you may choose to prioritize experiences where they’re gaining a skill or they’re learning about a specific type of career. And it’s more of a 1 on 1 experience or they need to do some more social and emotional learning, getting along with their peers. It’s not so much about the content as it is about the interaction with other students. I like to say that there are 10 critical skills for success in life that have nothing to do with academics. And a parent should think about how to a should think about how their students stacks up for these 10 skills and then think about how to improve those areas that maybe are not as high as others. Curiosity, intellectual curiosity is very important to cultivate. So you may have a student who love certain subjects, doesn’t love others, love school, doesn’t love school. Almost every student has some interests that they would gladly get up for in the morning. And what’s great about summer is that there are no exams. There are no grades. The summer learning opportunities are purely for the joy of learning. So the first thing I would totally emphasize that you do is ask your students, involve your students in the selection of a program on our site. We have a giant search bar on the home page and you should put in a very specific interest. It could be music production. It could be ceramics, it could be aerospace engineering. It could be something super specific like that. Space, astronomy, anything that your student kind of thinks they think is cool. You can choose online, you can choose in person. The choice is yours. We did a survey recently of summer program providers and about half of them are in person, and the other half are online, and then a smattering are, of course, both. But it’s not out of the question that you couldn’t find an in person opportunity. So let me go back to the types of online opportunities that exist. So there are three kinds of summer programs out there, those offered by colleges. There’s those offered by private schools. And then there are those offered by specialists. I would call those education companies almost like travel companies, companies. Their passion is providing these travel experiences for students. They are usually led by educators. I would say they’re not out there just to make a buck. Just because somebody is not affiliated with a college or a school doesn’t mean that what they have isn’t good. They’re all good. Then you should look at the length of the session. The cost of the session. I will say that online experiences are quite a bit less costly than an in person program because you don’t have to pay for supervision, room, and board. And that probably takes two thirds of the cost out of the content. So one of the best, I think, returns on your investment dollar could be to take a pre-college online program held by a college that your child may be interested in attending. I think that is a great idea, because then usually these programs are led by the professors of a specific school, and the other students may or may not be obviously interested in what the same topics and may end up being classmates. If your child ends up going to college there, there’s a lot of different flavors of online programs. I’d say the majority are academic, but not exclusively. You’ll be amazed how creative some of these providers have become.

VO: College Admissions Real Talk is hosted by Aviva Legatt, edited by Stephanie Carlin, and produced by Incontrera Consulting. I’m Caroline Stokes and this has been your daily boost of college admissions insight. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222-5762. For more information on Dr. Legatt and Ivy Insight visit www.ivyinsight.com. And you can pick up Dr. Legatt’s book, “Get Real and Get In”, at major retail outlets across the world. Insight out.