Helping Our Teens Prepare For College and Beyond

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Maddie and Ashley are both preparing for college and we are sharing information about Sylvan Learning and their college prep programs in this post in partnership with them.  


Parenting teens is a whole different thing than parenting younger children. Instead of teaching them their ABC’s, we are teaching them lessons for the next part of their lives like how to change a tire and how to prepare for college.

lessons for older kids

It’s a really fun time because there are so many opportunities available to them. They can be anything they want to be and this is the start of a whole new adventure for them. I try to encourage both of my teens to think about what they love and find interesting when we talk about their future college plans. I know that they are both so different and that their happiness and success depends on finding a career that they really enjoy and have a natural talent in.


Maddie has always loved learning and has gravitated towards science-based careers. Since she was little she has said that she wanted to find a way to harness plants ability to regrow after being cut back to be able to work on humans! With big plans like that, she is going to really need top test scores to get into a college with a strong research program.


Ashley, on the other hand, is all about fitness and nutrition. She believes that a healthy body is the key to staying illness free. She has big plans to start a company providing personalized plans to help people stay on track with their health goals.

lessons for teens

As parents, we learned early on that having open conversations with our kids about their future and their goals is the best way to raise children that are happy, well rounded, and excited for the future.


We have no doubt that both of our teens will succeed at their career goals, but we also know that it is up to us to help them be their best when it comes time to applying for college. As we learned more about Sylvan Learning during our partnership this year, we were drawn to learn more about their College Prep programs. Geared towards those in grades 9th -12th, Sylvan Learning test prep programs and college prep courses lead to real results. Some of these results are higher scores on the ACT and SAT to standout college application essays and greater success in advanced courses.

Sylvan Learning has ACT/SAT Prep classes with small group instruction, or independent learning, on the skills and strategies needed to obtain higher scores. These scores are just as important now as they were when we were in college, and I love that they can get the skills to master the classes and the confidence that comes from really knowing the material. Sylvan also has expert ACT and SAT tutors who know the college entrance exams inside and out. Along with these options, they also provide students with personalized homework to help improve the skills that your child needs to work on the most. I know that my teens excel in most areas, but they each have one area that is always a bit more challenging than others. Having this personalized attention assures that they are getting the help in the areas that they really need it.

We (like most families today) have busy schedules and Sylvan Learning offers flexible class hours to fit our busy lives. They even have a program that our girls can participate in when we are on the road and traveling. Sylvan Prep Online is a personalized online learning environment which is included in the in-center instruction and can also be a stand-alone class. The online learning environment has thousands of detailed video lessons on how to approach SAT/ACT test problems with subject-specific video lessons to help improve areas of need. It also has an interactive vocabulary builder with hundreds of common test words and features full-length, timed practice tests to prepare for the pace and format of the SAT and ACT which ultimately builds confidence for test day.

You can learn more about Sylvan Learning’s programs on their website.

Do you have a teen getting ready for college?

Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


  • My sister in law (who lives in San Diego) does SAT prep. That’s her job, so when the time comes I will have her help my kids hopefully pass 🙂

  • Those SAT prep classes can really help. All the students at my daughter’s high school were required to take this class.

  • Thanks so much for sharing this. I really thought that Sylvan was just for kids who were struggling with academics. I didn’t know they helped with SAT prep.

  • I love this! My oldest daughter is already headed to the old higher education, and my middle is almost there. He could use some SAT prep help.

  • The Sylvan prep classes sound like they are very valuable and helpful for those who are starting to prepare for college like your daughters. I can remember the days when I was preparing for those tests and a program like this would have been very helpful. Thankfully, I have years before I need to think about this, I am barely able to cope with thoughts of kindergarten in the near future!

  • I remember my years leading up to college and how my parents and teachers would heavily prepare us for what was to come. I really appreciate your blog post because now that I’m a parent, I’m on the other side of the preparations.

  • As my son gets older I hope that he finds what he loves to do and follows his dream! We also have very open conversations about the future with him and try to guide in the way that he needs to go.

  • Having teens is lots of work, but it’s all so rewarding! I am currently paving the way for my kids for college – it’s an exciting step to take!

  • It’s so true kids today are so busy. That extra help is so needed though, they have to be prepared for it all I believe!

  • I still remember the years of college prep I did in high school. It can be tough to know where to being preparing!

  • I can still remember my SAT days. I was so stressed out but in the end everything worked out just fine!

  • The SAT prep will definitely help them to be prepared for the test! I am sure they will do great, they have great, caring parents to help them and push them along the way.

  • The competition to get into college is sure tougher than back in our day. So many things to know about, glad there are ways to prepare and help have an edge on the process.

  • This is great to know! It is so important to be prepared for those tests because they really do have an impact on the rest of your life. That is great that Sylvan has so many options to help kids prepare themselves especially with lessons while you travel. I will have to keep this in mind as my son gets closer to college.

  • I have heard so much about Sylvan, but never knew if it would be for us! Definitely going to give it a try

  • Our district starts pushing the kids to get ready in 8th grade! I don’t remember my schools starting that young – hopefully it makes a difference!

  • My boys are ages 2 and 4, it’s scary to think that I will be preparing my kids for college in the not so distant future. We are homeschool through pre-school and loving it. Already started a savings account for college and instilling a love for learning 🙂

  • Our son is going into high school next year and we already know that we will be regulars at Sylvan. It is cool that they have one for your girls while traveling!

  • Sylvan Learning Centers sound like a great way for teens to prepare for College. I will have to look into their college prep programs.

  • My Daughter just graduated from College. I wish she would have done the Sylvan Learning Centers college prep program.

  • We have a Sylvan close by. I was thinking about taking my 11-year-old for some extra help. Great that your girls can also access Sylvan when you travel.

  • College counselling is must. Kids should know all the pros and cons of their highlighted colleges. And it is must to be prepared for those tests because they really do have an impact on the rest of your life.

  • This is good to know. I only have one child in college and hopefully, he will be done in a year’s time. It is stressful for both parent and child to prepare for college, wishing to get accepted to their university of choice. I will let my sister know about Sylvan learning. Her son is in 10th grade and needs to really focus on his studies right now.

  • It’s nice to be able to provide them with enough tools for college since it’s one step towards their future. I think it’s awesome that you found a program that will help them get ready.

  • When I was a senior in high school, we were made to take an assessment test (I forgot what its called) but the results showed what your core strengths are and provided you suggestions of what would be the best career path. I am happy you support your daughters’ dreams and aspirations. I know they are going to be successful with you as their parents.

  • this is a very helpful article to those who have teens! i only have toddler so it will be more years before i can relate to this! gonna bookmarked for reference!

  • My kids are far from this age, but personally I remember this being such a confusing time with all there is to do. Great advice!!

  • This is so helpful! My kids are so little and it they are still in elementary. But I surely could use these tips and share these to my friends. Bookmarking this for future use!. 😀

  • We aren’t quite there yet, we are just getting ready to send our oldest to high school! I am so glad to know there are places like this for the future though!

  • Its our jobs as parents to prepare our kids as much as possible for adulthood. We still have a long way to go, but I am already starting to prepare them for it.

  • I have heard good things about Sylvan Learning. My daughter is looking to start university in the fall. Being prepared is important.

  • It’s never too early to get prepared. My daughter has a few more years before she will be done high school.

  • I’ve never heard of this one before. It’s good to make sure that our kids have everything they need to prepare for college. It’s a huge step towards their future and we really should shower them with support.

  • I have to admit that I wish my daughter had taken advantage of Sylvan Learning Center’s help. She is doing okay as it is, but she may have excelled had she listened to some advice from the folks at Sylvan. I think they have a great program.

  • They’re so grown up looking now!! Young ladies, for sure. My teen heads to college for the first time in the Fall. She’s a little nervous. 😉

  • This such a great post, and I’ll definitely share it. i’ll share it with my friends that have kids

  • Oh man! I wish someone taught me how to change a tire. I’ll be sharing this with my little cousin, she will be graduating soon

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