It’s Decision Time Already for May 2022 Advanced Placement Exam Registration

A month into the current school year, and The College Board is already calling for students to determine if they’ll take Advanced Placement (AP) tests in May 2022. Thus, high school site based AP Coordinators and teachers are asking students their intentions as well as sending parent emails asking for registration fees. Potential AP exam takers have also recently returned…

Continue Reading

Gen Z: The Young and Increasingly Disaffected

As of First Quarter 2021, 3.8 million 20-24 year olds are not in school nor employed, 740,000 more young adults adrift than in First Quarter 2020. While wondering, “Where are they?”, more disturbing to consider is, “What are the long term consequences of a delayed entry into adulthood?”  First, dismay may be transforming into disaffection. The current generation of 20-24…

Continue Reading

Comic: I'm more confused than a chameleon in a bag of skittles

BEWARE: Adulting May Not Meet Expectations

For many, we longed to be an “adult” from early childhood, seeking freedom from restrictions imposed “for our own good” by well-intentioned adults (namely our parents and teachers). However, perhaps what we’re seeking is simply agency to determine our own life’s course.  But, two years into college, now on the cusp of assuming responsibility for their lives, but somewhat novice…

Continue Reading

A meditating frog

Keep Calm and Learn On

Calm and concentration are essential to learning. Yet, in the high stakes, fast-paced, memorize and regurgitate modern American academic meritocratic classroom, where secondary school students switch from learning Calculus to Shakespeare in five minutes or less after deftly navigating the social complexity in crowded (even in COVID-affected days) hallways from one class to the next, calm is difficult to find…

Continue Reading

Has the college admissions bubble finally popped?

The law of supply and demand dictates that when prices rise, demand shrinks. Yet, demand for college education post-WWII seems to be inelastic (meaning that demand does not seem to react to increases in price), has only increased, despite the four-digit increase in tuition and costs that has been leveraged to the tune of $1.7 trillion in student loan debt…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading


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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading


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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

See, Speak, Hear no evil monkeys

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…

Continue Reading

Quote: Zhuangzi, 286 BC

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…

Continue Reading