College Admissions: complexity and emotion in a time of increasing demand

Every Spring, students and parents confront the subjectivity of the college admissions process, where “No’s”, “Yes’s” or “Maybe’s”, are all equally unexplainable, given the complexity inherent to the admissions evaluation process.  Thousands upon thousands of applicants are evaluated in under five months, read multiple times by at least two different individuals, who are all susceptible to bias, as well as…

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College Acceptances: the clouds will part and the sun will shine on a whole new day

Students who applied to colleges will now confront the need to grieve and celebrate simultaneously, as they receive admissions decisions. Acceptances eliciting an elation will be diminished by denials, which sometimes arrive on the same day, as well as by reactions to the success and failures of their peers.    In their grief over a denied admissions, students can desperately seek…

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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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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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Kurt Vonnegut’s Advice: Trust Your Experience

Sometimes, we gain clarity and/or confidence about our aptitude when the thoughts of another like Kurt Vonnegut, author of Slaughterhouse Five, reflects our own experience: When I was 15, I spent a month working on an archeological dig. I was talking to one of the archeologists one day during our lunch break and he asked those kinds of “getting to…

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Do I Take the May 2021 AP Exams?

For students questioning whether to take the AP exams, wondering if they’d score a 3 or higher to merit college credits, especially since adjusting to virtual learning may have detracted from learning subject material, I offer the following advice:   First, consider what information on the test may not be presented in class before the test date, and what effort would…

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Is Fall 2021 University of California Applicant Increase Year Over Year Due to Change in SAT/ACT Policy?

According to a recent Los Angeles Times article, preliminary application counts for Fall 2021 released by the University of California show a 15% increase from last year’s Fall 2020 applications, netting nearly 250,000 single applications. Yet, will increases in applications render to more acceptances and more enrollment? Some speculate that the increase in applications is a consequence of newly implemented…

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Beware of unmet expectations

The root cause of the financial crisis was purely human factor. This human factor is the completely false sense of omnipotence, self-importance and entitlement among the country’s elite, as well as the nurturing of these beliefs at Ivy League colleges and other elite universities the US will be doomed to suffer other calamities every bit the equal of the financial…

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The Downside of the Academic Meritocracy

The sentiments of a current second-year college student attending a public flagship university in California when reflecting on the perils of the academic meritocracy: Rewarding/punishing requires less effort [by faculty and students] though, making it the easier default [system for measuring academic performance]. Assigning expectations, whether positive or negative, is a low-effort path that leads to lots of power/authority [on…

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The Mental Health of the Young

March 13, 2020 is Gen Z’s “Day of Infamy”, when K-12 school campuses closed due to COVID-related health risks, sequestering an entire generation of youth in the midst of their coming of age. Amidst the sudden, and now ever-extending health emergency, precipitating continued distance learning and canceled extracurricular activities, the emotional toll on teens only exacerbates existing pressures.  But there…

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Put Down Your #2 Pencils: The University of California Will Eliminate SAT/ACT Scores by 2025, Part 14

First year and transfer applicants are evaluated individually at each University of California (UC) campus, applying the parameters of the 14 Comprehensive Review criteria. Since the totality of a student’s experience is reviewed in the application, each UC campus’ readers can determine if the student qualifies for admissions to the specific UC campus.  In understanding the 14 Comprehensive Review points,…

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The Oxymoron of Learning from a Distance

Many students are dismayed, their hopes for a return to a long-established normal this fall, dashed, as school administrators continued suspending or severely curtailing in-person classes, as well as most clubs and sports through at least the end of 2020, due to the on-going COVID-related health risks. Continued distance learning has disrupted the coming of age process, ushering in a…

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An Inconvenient Truth

Since 1635, the three-dimensional American classroom, now replicated amongst thousands of school districts comprising millions of school children and teachers, is relatively unchanged.  Yet, starting in mid-March 2020, a single RNA sequence causing COVID-19 and the subsequent social response to the health risks, has holistically breeched the brick and mortar walls of the modern American classroom. Instead of accepting the…

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The Enigma of the Local Context

For Fall 2021 first year applicants, earning the academic designation, Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC) for University of California (UC) admissions, may be more difficult than in past years. Given the Spring 2020 implementation of Pass/No Pass grading systems, thus the loss of a semester’s worth of letter grades for GPA calculations, Class of 2021 seniors’ GPA’s could be…

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PUT DOWN YOUR #2 PENCILS: THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA ELIMINATE SAT/ACT SCORES, COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW: PART 8

Starting in Fall 2021, without required standardized test scores, University of California (UC) admissions evaluations will likely be more subjective, as the interpretation of an applicant’s qualifications may not be balanced by a more objective test score.  As the suspension of test score requirements will extend through Fall 2025, which includes current seventh graders, potential applicants can prepare for admissions…

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