Student Academic Support

High School Transition

Special Services

Entering a rigorous high school environment can be an intimidating task for a teenager having to navigate many social, extra-curricular, and academic challenges that were not part of their lives previously.  This experience tends to be jarring and disorientating and often needs a supportive guide to negotiate these challenges.  While many schools have complimentary support services such as counselors, learning specialists, and tutors, many of these services are overbooked and spread too thin to truly support these students.  The quality of the can also be mediocre or limited in actually helping the child to cope, adjust, and thrive.

Our educational transition expert, Alex Merrill, draws on the experience of nearly twenty years, teaching, tutoring and coaching students in institutions such as Philips Andover, Taft and Dartmouth College.  Alex, a one-stop shop resource, can provide support to your new high school student in a variety of areas with one primary and focused goal: the help you child thrive in the academic, extra-curricular and social forums of high school.

His services are highly customizable, but here are the potential areas of focus:

  • Reading Skills: Providing some skills for annotation and close reading for increased reading level demands.
  • Study Skills: Preparing effectively for quizzes and tests outside of class time.  
  • Essay Writing: Providing a structured model based on extensive experience with analytic writing composition.
  • Executive Function: Setting up and checking with a student on their planning and self-management, with classes and extra-curricular activities.
  • Developing Relationships: effectively beginning and pursuing relationships with teachers.
  • Social Challenges: non-invasive coaching through complex social issues and their interface with academics and extra-curriculars.
  • Mental Health: Negotiating mental health and its role in maintaining a healthy balance for success.
  • Life Management: Guidance on course selection, extra-curricular commitments, and balancing the demands of family life.  
  • Conducting Research: searching online for resources such as scholarly articles, online encyclopedias or academic journals for assignments that require these resources.

The meetings can be conducted online through user-friendly software, a recommended three times per week in frequency, offering excellent flexibility in scheduling and availability.  If the student believes they have all extra-curricular management of their life covered on their own, the sessions can take a largely academic quality, spanning a great breadth of disciplines, focusing mainly on course material, with some coaching built in to the instruction of approaches to the course.

Given the pressing need for such a resource for many teenagers entering unfamiliar circumstances, this transitional educational specialist offers a tremendous opportunity for the kids using RNG services.  A supportive, caring, and well-educated adult squarely in their corner, supporting them through all facets of their new school life can make all the difference in their success in a demanding environment.   

College Transition

Services

The general attrition rate for most colleges is around 25%, meaning that one in four students who begin a college in the fall will not complete the degree, many of them not making it past the first year before dropping out.  There are a variety of explanations for this startling number, but for most they lack the resources needed to make the difficult jump into higher education.  While most colleges have services designed to support their young students, such as academic support centers, counselors, residential monitors and a host of academic specialists, many of them are overbooked and spread too thin to take personal interest in the success of individual students.  The staffs are also frequently drawn from the school’s own student body or recent graduates, lacking the experience to be able to provide the know-how needed to guide them effectively.  Moreover, the systems can often be abstract or difficult to use, resulting in many students simply giving up on them.  

Our educational transition expert, Alex Merrill, draws on the experience of twenty years, teaching, tutoring and coaching students in institutions such as Philips Andover, Taft and Dartmouth College.  Alex, a one-stop shop resource, can provide support to your new college student in a variety of areas, with one primary and solemn goal: to assure they are able to make the transition to college and its academic, social, and extracurricular rigors effectively.  While every situation is different, here are the potential areas of focus: 

  • Executive Function: Setting up and checking with a student on their planning and self-management, with classes and extra-curricular activities.
  • Study Skills: Providing some skills for annotation and note-taking and assisting with working through more difficult texts in college reading.
  • Essay Writing: Providing a structured model, if needed, or more advanced feedback on essay writing, based on extensive experience with analytic writing composition.
  • Conducting Research: searching online for resources such as scholarly articles, online encyclopedias or academic journals.
  • Developing Relationships: effectively beginning and pursuing relationships with professors.
  • Social Challenges: non-invasive coaching through complex social issues and their interface with academics.
  • Mental Health: Negotiating mental health and its role in maintaining a healthy balance for success.
  • Life Management: Guidance on course selection, extra-curricular commitments, and assistance in planning for summers.  

The meetings can be conducted online through user-friendly software, recommended three times per week in frequency, offering excellent flexibility in scheduling and availability.  If the student believes they have all extra-curricular management of their life covered on their own, the sessions can take a largely academic quality, focusing mainly on course material, with some coaching built in to the instruction.

Ultimately, the goal for these teens and young adults is to create autonomy and self-actualization, but throwing some one young into the deep end at the Y who has not yet ventured into such open water is rarely a good way to teach the freestyle.  Having this type of individual and devoted service in taking off the metaphorical training wheels can make a huge difference.x  With so much care in finding the right place for your teen to succeed, it only makes sense to follow that up with the resources to allow for their transitional success.  

news / blog
When your child isn’t making friends — boarding school?
June 12, 2019

There is a special heartache for the parent of the lonely child. More than academic, athletic, artistic or any other success, parents seem to first want children to feel loved and accepted… to have friends and be invited places, to have a tribe. So, what to do. Is boarding school a good idea for this…

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Five Signs a College Student may Benefit from Extra Support
May 22, 2019

Challenge is a part of the normal transition to college. The difficult parts of life are the parts where we learn and grow. And, sometimes students struggle an extraordinary amount and require support. Here are five signs a college student may benefit from extra support: 1. Communication: What is communication with home like? Are students…

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Six Questions to Ask When Choosing the Right Boarding School
May 22, 2019

How do you choose a boarding school with so many good schools throughout the United States, how do you distinguish which one is best suited to your child’s needs? In my work as an educational consultant, I’ve visited more than 200 boarding school campuses, many multiple times. While I have a good sense of most…

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10 Most Important Things To Look For In The Campus Visit – Especially If You Live Overseas
April 12, 2019

by Rebecca Grappo, M.Ed, Certified Educational Planner For most families, especially those that live abroad, it is very difficult to visit all of the boarding schools or colleges/ universities in which a student might be interested unless they have a magic carpet, or unlimited time and funds. However, I would argue that a campus visit…

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Testimonials

A young man, 18, was admitted into a very selective and competitive college. However, having just been diagnosed with ADD, he was overwhelmed with all the independence, lack of structure, freedom, and new responsibilities. By the end of first term, he was nearing failure. It was imperative to get him in touch with student counseling…

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A fifteen year old male student was extremely bright, but also had major struggles with ADD, depression, and behavior issues at school, resulting in numerous suspensions. The relationship at home was fraught with conflict and the family was at the breaking point. He was belligerent about the thought of going to boarding school, and opposed…

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A young man, 15, started looking for a boarding school for his junior and senior years. He had everything going for him – stellar resume, grades, sports, and personality. The conversation focused on just how much academic pressure he was willing to take on. He was adamant he wanted to push himself, and was given…

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A young woman of 17 moved to a remote location for what would have been her senior year of high school. She had never lived overseas before, and her school only offered the International Baccalaureate program. Therefore, she was put back a year to start the IB curriculum. She was miserable, and things finally reached…

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A family with a son who had significant development delays contacted me regarding life as an internationally mobile family and wondered about embarking on such a lifestyle. We spent hours of counseling up front while they were still in their home environments, and the family prepared to homeschool their son, knowing few schools overseas would…

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A family with two employed parents was suddenly separated by an evacuation, leaving them with some important decisions to make quickly regarding the children’s education. The older daughter remained in her boarding school and became the school’s star student; the younger one remained with mom and came back to the U.S. The father remained overseas…

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A sixteen year old girl came to me feeling very depressed and uninspired by school. Her mother was extremely concerned by her lack of engagement. This girl was extremely bright but did not do well in a traditional setting. Her mother said her creative side needed to be encouraged in order to get her engaged…

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I wanted to tell you I spent last weekend in Arizona having a reunion of friends from Beijing days 20 years ago…..and guess who was there…a dear friend…..I said, you don’t happen to know Becky Grappo and her words, exactly, “She saved my life!!!!” I thought you would like to know that….she is in fine…

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Speaking of professionals, please accept my sincere gratitude for your brilliant work. This all really started happening after you challenged our son to give you something concrete to work with. Your strategy was perfectly planned and executed. Good Show!

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I just wanted to thank you for getting me through the most painful and difficult thing I have ever had to do.  I know that there is a lot of work to be done but I feel we are finally on the right track. I know that you put a lot of effort into helping…

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My husband and I cannot thank you enough for coming through for our son, when he needed someone like yourself to come for his rescue. Our son is a changed young man – full of confidence and joys of life. It is simply wonderful to see him doing so well and it is all thanks to you.

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My son is doing incredible!! I cannot believe the difference in him. He still has a way to go, but he even knows it and he is just so open and honest with us and himself. I am proud of him. Thank God for all of you that help us realize that we and our kids…

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I will take this opportunity to thank you for all your assistance and support over the last few months. This period could have been most stressful but was not due to your support, cool guidance and highly professional approach.

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I have seen a lot of maturity and sense of responsibility in him. No matter how much I miss him not having him home with the family, both his father and I realize that sending him to boarding school was the best things that we have done for him. The staff is wonderful at his…

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I don’t think I have adequately thanked you for the superb work you did for us this past year. We went from being nowhere, to getting our son into some excellent, superb schools. You should be so proud of what you do, because it’s clearly an art. No rules, but a lot of gut feelings….

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You have already helped him, by giving him hope that his unique voice can be heard and celebrated. Thank you so much for that gift!

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I wanted to thank you for your helpful emails and staying in contact with me even now that I’m in college. I wanted to at least give you a quick reply and let you know that I’m loving it here at my college and feel like it is the perfect place for me. More than anything,…

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I would like to thank you personally for everything you’ve done for our son, actually for both my children. My husband and I were have been suffering (not so silently) for the past month with our son and his essays, or their non-existence. Even though we felt he had good chances of getting in, one…

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I just want to make the point of thanking you formally for all the great work that you did with our son this last year! It was wonderful and so reassuring to know that you were there with him throughout the whole process of university applications. We all know it can be stressful for most and…

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I just wanted to let you know I could not do any of this without you, and I am so thankful for someone that cared enough to help me become successful.

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I gotta say I couldn’t have done it without you.

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