CHS Counseling Connections

January/February 2019

New Front in College Admissions: Nudging Students to Decide Early

Some colleges and universities have started asking students who have applied through the regular admissions process to try a binding option that would boost their chances and help the schools lock in acceptances.

It’s hard to keep up with college admission because every time you turn around there is a new angle on what has largely become a game of marksmanship during which everyone (schools and students alike) tries to be strategic and up their odds of coming out of the process on top.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal New Front in College Admissions: Nudging Students to Decide Early tells us about a “new twist” on the admissions process. Some colleges (Tulane University, Colorado College and Lehigh University among others) “reach out to students who have submitted an application but have not yet received a decision, asking them to commit to their school early,” if their application is successful.

This allows students to raise their odds of getting into the school in question and it enables the schools to bind good students to their school. Schools prize their yield rates (the percent of students who accept offers to their school) because those rates are a factor in college rankings, so it’s easy to see how this system would benefit a school. It’s slightly more difficult to understand how it might benefit students.

This year Tulane told its students, ‘“If Tulane is your first-choice school, you may want to consider switching to Early Decision II,” according to an email sent to an applicant and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. “If you are admitted, your college search is over.”’ The flip to early decision in no way guarantees acceptance but telling an applicant that their college search, their tortuous college search can be over is like catnip to a cat, unbearably tempting to some young applicants.

The schools who take the “flip to early decision approach” say that they are merely letting prospective students know that there are several options. But do these emails force a young person’s hand and nudge them into committing to a school before they are ready to do so?

In response to complaints that early decision keeps students from being able to compare different financial aid packages, Satyajit Dattagupta, dean of undergraduate admissions at Tulane admitted that he had heard some of these complaints on online forums but says, “We all want to serve the students, but at the end of the day I’m the dean of admissions and I have a responsibility to my institution.” In Tulane’s case, the email strategy was introduced last year and yielded an additional 625 early decision applications for the school.

(Adapted from an article by David Prutow of College Goals LLC)

Teenagers and sleep

Some Facts About Teens and Sleep

  • Sleep research suggests that a teenager needs between eight and 10 hours of sleep every night.
  • Most teenagers only get about 6.5-7.5 hours sleep per night.
  • Teen's body clocks naturally shift to make them feel tired later in the evening, but early school starts do not enable them to sleep in the mornings.
  • Chronic sleep deprivation can have dramatic effects on a teenager’s life, including affecting their mental well being and reducing their academic performance at school.
  • Smart phones and other devices used around bed time reduce sleep time.
  • Avoiding stimulants such as coffee, tea, soft drinks and energy drinks in the evening can help to promote better sleep.

Regularly not getting enough sleep leads to chronic sleep deprivation. This can have dramatic effects on a teenager’s life, impacting their mental well being, increasing their risk of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. It can also affect academic performance at school.

Causes of teenage sleep deprivation

Some of the reasons why many teenagers regularly do not get enough sleep include:

  • hormonal time shift – puberty hormones shift the teenager’s body clock forward by about one or two hours, making them sleepier one to two hours later. Yet, while the teenager falls asleep later, early school starts don’t allow them to sleep in. This nightly ‘sleep debt’ leads to chronic sleep deprivation
  • using screen based devices – smart phones and other devices used around bed time reduce sleep time. Teens who put down their smart-phones an hour before bed gain an extra 21 minutes sleep a night, (that's one hour and 45 minutes over the school week) according to a study by Vic Health and the Sleep Health Foundation
  • hectic after-school schedule – homework, sport, part-time work and social commitments can cut into a teenager’s sleeping time
  • leisure activities – the lure of stimulating entertainment such as television, the internet and computer gaming can keep a teenager out of bed.
  • light exposure – light cues the brain to stay awake. In the evening, lights from televisions, mobile phones and computers can prevent adequate production of melatonin, the brain chemical (neurotransmitter) responsible for sleep. Many devices automatically shift the colors of their display to the warmer end of the color spectrum after dark. This may help your child get a better night's sleep.
  • vicious circle – insufficient sleep causes a teenager’s brain to become more active. An over-aroused brain is less able to fall asleep.
  • social attitudes – in Western culture, keeping active is valued more than sleep
  • sleep disorder – sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome or sleep apnoea, can affect how much sleep a teenager gets.

Effects of teenage sleep deprivation

The developing brain of a teenager needs between eight and 10 hours of sleep every night. The effects of chronic (ongoing) sleep deprivation may include:
  • concentration difficulties
  • mentally ‘drifting off’ in class
  • shortened attention span
  • memory impairment
  • poor decision making
  • lack of enthusiasm
  • moodiness and aggression
  • depression
  • risk-taking behavior
  • slower physical reflexes
  • clumsiness, which may result in physical injuries
  • reduced sporting performance
  • reduced academic performance
  • increased number of ‘sick days’ from school because of tiredness
  • truancy.

Preventing sleep deprivation in teenagers – tips for parents

Try not to argue with your teenager about bedtime. Instead, discuss the issue with them. Together, brainstorm ways to increase their nightly quota of sleep. Suggestions include:
  • Allow your child to sleep in on the weekends.
  • Encourage an early night every Sunday. A late night on Sunday followed by an early Monday morning will make your child drowsy for the start of the school week.
  • Decide together on appropriate time limits for any stimulating activity such as homework or screen time. Encourage restful activities during the evening, such as reading.
  • Avoid early morning appointments, classes or training sessions for your child if possible.
  • Help your teenager to better schedule their after-school commitments to free up time for rest and sleep.
  • Assess your teenager's weekly schedule together and see if they are over committed. Help them to trim activities if they are.
  • Encourage your teen to take an afternoon nap after school to help recharge their battery, if they have time.
  • Work together to adjust your teenager’s body clock. You may like to consult with your doctor first.

Nurtured Heart Approach Training for Parents

What is the Nurtured Heart Approach®?

The Nurtured Heart Approach® is a relationship-focused methodology founded strategically in The 3 Stands™ for helping children (and adults) build their Inner Wealth® and use their intensity in successful ways. It has become a powerful way of awakening the inherent greatness in all children while facilitating parenting and classroom success. The essence of the Nurtured Heart Approach® is a set of core methodologies originally developed for working with the most difficult children. It has a proven impact on every child, including those who are challenged behaviorally, socially and academically.

The objectives of the training are to:

• Explain why conventional methods of parenting, therapy and teaching often fail with intense children, despite the best of intentions.

• Shift a challenging child to using his or her intensity in successful ways, even if the child is diagnosed with ADHD, ODD or exhibits other difficult behavior.

• Apply the core methodologies of the Nurtured Heart Approach to build Inner Wealth in all children and create a richer social-emotional environment.

Our next six-week training begins February 20 through March 27 from 6pm - 8pm. The training will be held on Wednesday evenings at the Board of Education Administration building in the large conference room.

If you are interested, please RSVP here.

Counseling Calendar


Post-secondary planning for juniors. All juniors meet with counselors for post-secondary planning.

January 4

Registration deadline for February 9th ACT (administered at CHS)

January 10

Junior College Planning Night -- For parents of juniors and junior students. Learn about the college process. Presentation from 7-9pm in the CHS PAC.

January 24

College Admissions Director's Panel -- For parents of juniors and junior students. Get a chance to hear about he college process from the College Admission Directors of a number of colleges. Starts 7pm in the CHS PAC.

January 26

SAT/ACT Practice Test -- Kaplan will host this prep session from 9am-1pm at CHS. Please RSVP at 1-800-KAP-TEST. Tell them your child wants to test at CHS.

January 31

8th Grade Parent Night -- CHS Program of Studies presentation for 8th grade parents in the PAC beginning at 6pm


Seniors pursuing post-secondary education: CHS sends mid-year grades to colleges through the month of February

February 9

ACT -- Report to CHS at 7:30am and proceed to the cafeteria. Bring #2 pencils, calculator, picture ID and registration ticket to the exam.