Community Service: Motivation is Important

Parents routinely ask how many hours of community service their kids must complete in order to be competitive in the college admissions process, essentially commoditizing generosity for their personal gain, which is at odds with serving the needs of others. What, then, is community service and why can volunteerism be included in the college admissions process? To effectively practice philanthropy,…

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To Wait or Not To Wait, That Is the Question

Waitlist offers—the no man’s land of college admissions, an offer for the B Team, a “we’ll call you, don’t call us”—hope and doubt all wrapped up in a single “Maybe”. Students, although navigating through the emotion of wondering why one wasn’t quite “good enough”, can still lobby for an offer of admissions. But, should they?  First, do you still want…

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Reopening Dead Ahead…Maybe

More K-12 school administrators are either preparing or have already reopen(ed) school campuses amidst subsiding COVID related health concerns, declining infections, hospitalizations and deaths.   Of course, variants (viruses evolve) or declining vaccination rates leading to worsening infection, hospitalization and even death rates, would lead to a likely-swift reversal of school reopenings.  Reopen, yes, but not fully business as usual as…

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College Admissions Isn’t a Game

Students and their parents worry, as is often the case in this springtime of year, about who will be admitted and/or rejected at what college, believing that the outcome of a meritocratic, formulaic decision making process that defines winners (those accepted) and losers (those denied) is the final arbiter of who succeeds in life and who doesn’t.   The quest to…

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Knowledge seekers never graduate

To learn effectively is to practice humility, to admit how little we know, and recognizing the cost of remaining ignorant is the antidote to pride and the beginning of the journey of discovery, fueled by curiosity which results in the acquisition of knowledge which applied in a continuous collaboration with others who are willing, results in resilience needed to navigate…

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Labor Market Mirage

In February 2020, approximately 165 million people were employed out of an approximate civilian population of 250 million Americans.  In the economic recession of March 2020, 20 million jobs were lost. Since then, in the interim 12 months, only 10 millions jobs were re-created, leaving 10 million people still seeking employment. Of that 10 million, roughly 4 million people have…

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Major Problems

In spring when high school juniors begin devising their lists of colleges in preparation for fall applications, panic can quickly arise, when asked the typical first question, “What do you want to study in college?” which to a teenager translates to: “I must choose a career, right now at seventeenish years old, sign my name in blood and risk sacrificing…

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Common Application Prompts to Change for Fall 2022 Admissions

A new 650 word Common Application (bolded in the list below) essay prompt is being added for Fall 2022 admissions, as a replacement for one prompt being “retired”.  Regardless of any prompt chosen, I recommend to avoid approaching the college essay as yet another school assignment, where students try to write and edit simultaneously, crafting one maybe two drafts and…

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College Grads Confronted by Diminished Employment Prospects

Many soon-to-be college graduates—in a time of economic upheaval and pandemic induced doubt—fatalistic and full of dread can relate to the most recent college student-produced meme.   Currently, unemployment and underemployment of new college grads is increasing, and gateways to employment like internships and other extracurricular activities are drying up or are suspended at closed or severely-restricted campuses resulting in fewer…

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CA State University

All California State Universities Are Test Blind for Fall 2022

The following is the emailed response from the California State University (CSU) Chancellor’s Office in relation to our Open Letter to California State University Chancellor Castro, asking for clarification about the CSU Fall 2022 testing policy. Of note: Dr. Grommo, CSU Systemwide Director of Enrollment Management Services, states that all 23 CSU campuses will enact test-blind admissions policies, not considering…

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Re-Opening Quandary

As the numbers of diagnosed COVID cases wanes and more Americans are being vaccinated, the desire to re-open schools seems to be increasing. In a recent Pew Research poll, more Americans believe that students need in-person interaction to continue their academic progress:  Yet, in the same poll, 59% of respondents also believe schools should wait to reopen until all teachers…

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Choices

The Responsibility of Choice

This spring, like every spring, after years of struggle, high school seniors will finally experience acceptance in the form of an electronic letter or alert in an applicant portal offering admissions to this or that college. Once the initial elation fades, families begin deliberations in earnest to make a final selection by the May 1 national college enrollment deadline.* Essentially,…

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CA State University

Open Letter to California State University Chancellor Castro

Dear Chancellor Castro: I respectfully seek clarification about the suspended requirement to submit SAT or ACT scores for Fall 2022 admissions, concerned that Fall 2022 applicants may wrongly assess their opportunities for admissions, thus potentially affecting their decision to submit a CSU application.  In preparing to advise clients about Fall 2022 admissions, I noted a discrepancy between the California State…

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Deferred Student Loan Payments and Interest May Diminish Tax Deduction

Starting in March 2020, first former President Trump, then President Biden have automatically suspended accrual of Federal student loan interest, as well as deferred student loan repayment for every borrower. According to Federal tax law, all borrowers can claim a deduction of the student loan interest paid during the previous tax year. Yet given the automatic deferment of interest for…

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