College Ready

Sharing strategies for student success, college readiness and academic coaching


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Questions are King of the Classroom

Questions are the sign of a healthy classroom. Encourage students to ask all sorts of questions, especially open-ended questions that require process, experimentation, and research. Let them see that the instructor doesn’t “own” all the knowledge or have all the answers. You will be creating a classroom culture of inquiry & critical thinking.

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The Top 10 Secrets of College Success

This article from US News & World Report “Top 10 Secrets of College Success” outlines the way college students can soar to the top of the class. Don’t let nerves get the best of you. Set out to succeed, make a plan and stick to it. The 10 tips in the article are a good starting point. 

Top 10 Study Tips:  Know your tasks: organize your study material and schedule so you know exactly what chapters or lectures you need to review. ...

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Be There.

As a college prof who has been in the classroom for 17 years, I have to agree with the list. I am especially fond of #3: “Get to class!” and #8: “Get to know your prof!” I would say that in my many years of experience, with countless numbers of students, the ones that consistently do the best are there. In the seat. At every. Single. Class. Yes. We did something important today at that class you missed. 

Check In.

And they come to office hours. When they can’t make office hours, they send me an email to set-up an appointment. Don’t be afraid to reach out like that. We really (REALLY!) want you to come talk with us at anytime, not only when you are having difficulties, but for mentoring, advice about classes, and just to connect. And I promise, it is so NOT like getting sent to the principal’s office. We are kinda cool peeps in a “tweed jacket with elbow patches kind of way.” (Just kidding. I don’t own a tweed jacket.) Again, students who do connect with their instructors tend to do better overall, according to the research.

Get Involved.

I’m going to put in a quick plug for one that isn’t on the list. #11, if you will. Make sure to get involved in campus life. There are literally hundreds of clubs, organizations, sports team (and not just varsity athletics, intramural, too!), and a variety of other groups to check out. Find what fits for you. It’s a great way to meet other students, make some new friends, and to really invest in college life.

College planning timeline: Grades 8-12  More tips for college readiness and student success at collegereadycoach.com

Students that feel connected, with their peers, their professors, and their college, actually graduate at much higher rates of completion! So not only are you having fun & getting better grades, you are making progress toward your long-term academic goals.

Good luck to all of you as you start the new semester. If I can be of any help to you, please reach out. The comments are open. You can also follow us on facebook to get quick updates, articles and advice for college success. You know what to do…just click that blue button at the top of this page that says “Like.” Consider me your virtual college coach…here to help you make it to the finish line.

Go Team!!

~~Lisa (aka, The Happy Teacher)


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It’s Our Anniversary!! One Year Old Today!

Happy Blogaversary!  It’s been exactly one year since I started College Ready Coach. What a year it has been! I’ve learned so much, and met so many great bloggers, writers, students and educators along the way! The one common denominator we all share: a passion for learning.

Gift in celebration

I could not have anticipated what the year would hold, but decided to take that leap, jump in and get started. It’s meant a lot of writing, amazing opportunities, more writing, and new adventures, as the message of College Ready has been shared & spread around the globe. Now, 12 months later, with over 6700 visitors from 93 countries, I am grateful, humbled, and excited to embrace the next step!

Thank you so much for making this blog a place for students, parents, and educators to have a conversation, share ideas, and support one another. We need opportunity, access, and mentors to make sure every student has a chance to be college ready. For more on helping first-generation college students succeed, check out this article.

Making smart college choices means not being buried in debt when you graduate. Here's why students are rejecting America's top college: ROI

I truly believe that “Education is the movement from darkness to light,” (Allan Bloom). Reach out to me if you have any questions, or need help shedding some light on the process of getting from high school to college.

I am happy to feature guest bloggers, especially international students , college freshmen, and parents of college students. Feel free to message me if you have ideas or suggestions.

Happy #Teachers: Changing the World in Three Easy Steps: education, confidence, hope equals #peace  visiting collegereadycoach for more teaching inspiration

For more on why I started the blog, and the importance of being a mentor in a student’s life, you can read this post: 1 Easy Way to be a Hero.

To find out more about CollegeReadyCoach, check out our About page.

Many thanks~~~Lisa

aka, The Happy Teacher


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Cowabunga!!! 1000 Visitors to my Blog! #Happy!!

I am so #Happy. To celebrate, I’m having a party…

Ok, it’s a virtual party but consider yourself invited. This milestone is a big one:  over 1000 of you have stopped by College Ready, making it the “Little Blog that Could.”

Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could... | A. A. Milne Picture Quotes | Quoteswave

THANK YOU! I am so thrilled with the support that you have given me over the past 2.5 months. I wish I had something profound and meaningful to say to mark this occasion. Instead, I’ll just say THANK YOU. For reading, for visiting, for “liking,” for following, for sharing, for commenting and again, for reading what I had to say. I hope that something in what I call my “Ed Soup” has been useful in your professional or personal life, or just to warm your soul.

I also want to thank all of you for inspiring me. The blogging community is sassy, smart, and full of ideas that launch conversations. And so many of you do it so well! While making it look easy. Anyone who writes knows that push and pull of fear, and risk, the anticipation of audience reaction. And the writer’s block, and the deadlines that you missed hours before the clock read 2 am. Far from easy, but you all write on.

WRITING ADVICE: At my last milestone (500 visitors on 9/30), I posted some writing advice from Hemingway. I’ll continue that tradition with one of his better-known quotes on the writing process:

Here’s what Philip Roth said of the writing process: “You build a book out of sentences. And the sentences are built up out of details. So you’re working brick by brick. And the bricks are heavy.”

And finally, here’s a post, courtesy of the amazing Brain Pickings where Jack Kerouac cites his 30 Beliefs and Techniques for Prose and Life.

As I continue this journey, I look forward to working & writing alongside so many inspirational colleagues, who happen to be damn fine writers, creative thinkers and bleeding edge thought leaders. I am so lucky to know you all, whether F2F, or just here… In the Soup.

GOING FORWARD: College Ready Coach is a resource for parents and students who are navigating the college admissions process. We work together to evaluate what the student needs to be prepared. Academic coaches serve as mentors, and have been found to be the key ingredient in a successful college “launch.”

MY PART: In addition to working with a small number of clients each semester, College Ready Coach–hey, that’s me :)–commits to mentoring one student from a traditionally under-served population each semester, free of charge. We simply have to provide educational equality to students, and this is one small way for me to give back and “walk the walk.” Please do contact with me if you wish to nominate a highly-motivated high school student for this mentoring opportunity.

AND THEN, THERE’S YOU: You can be part of the journey by following the blog here, or liking the College Ready facebook page, and learning more about helping your students or your own children be “college ready.”

Together, let’s turn the crazy maze of college admissions into a road map to success. 

xo, Lisa


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Wanted: Happy Teachers

For all the amazing educators who help make the world happy! It’s about that “Back-to-School” time around here and…

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The energy we bring to the classroom makes a profound difference on our students and their learning outcomes. The brain “at positive” is 31% more productive than at negative, neutral, or stressed.

What can you do to be a Happy Teacher? I write, share ideas with colleagues, and mentor as ways to stay focused. I also employ “playful learning” strategies, because a place of learning needs to be welcoming and inspiring. Oh, and don’t forget to smile, laugh, and share a little bit about yourself with your students.

How about you? Can you share one idea in the comments for being a “Happy Teacher?” Post your suggestions, tips, and hints here, please. Merci!


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5 Ways to Have a GOOD Mornin’

Improve your Morning! Hint, just add coffee. Problem solved, right?! Ha!

Ok, we all know the benefits of the mornin’ cup o’ joe! Here are some suggestions beyond coffee to add to the mix:

College Prep

One of my go-to ways to improve my morning is by waking up earlier than everyone else in the house.  It is so quiet and peaceful. So mornings, it even gives me the chance to watch the sunrise while I drink my coffee.

That quiet time–whether it’s 30 minutes, or even 5–really gives me the opportunity to get focused for the day. I end up feeling relaxed and ready to tackle the challenges of the morning routine–whether it’s prepping kid lunches, hectic school drop-offs, or taming an unwieldy stack of essays that need grading!

Is your a.m. routine listed here, or do you have some other suggestions for making the most of your morning? What helps you wake up with a smile on your face?


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Wise Words

I start with this quote on day one of my classes. Great advice from one of the best in his profession, and it never fails to inspire.