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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Zoom School.Joe Visitacion

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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Navigating Fall 2021 College Admissions: Test-Optional Policies

Current high school juniors who will apply to colleges this Fall are anxious about amending their college plans, given the numerous cancelled SAT and ACT tests this spring, distance learning for the end of the spring semester, as well as not adding to their weighted GPAs as the academic progress of many is indicated with mandatory Pass/No Pass-style marks.  Additionally,…

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Modern Adulthood

“Adulting” classes may likely be the byproduct of a generation raised by “Helicopter Parents”, parents who don’t encourage self-sufficiency as their kid matures. Many students’ sole responsibilities have been managing schoolwork and extracurriculars, punctuated with the occasional “clean your room”, yet rarely do students I advise have part-time jobs. And, until the shelter-in-place, when school campuses closed, many did not…

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Understanding “Why College?” Is More Important Than Ever

On May 11, administrators at Northwestern University, a 169 year old institution, ranked #9 National University according to US News & World Report with a $10.8 Billion endowment fund, announced expense reductions, including: furloughing 250 staff, halting hiring, suspending contributions to pensions, as well as cutting salaries for university administrators. For the second year in a row, Northwestern administrators are…

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The value of a college education

In my recent conversation with Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle, I discussed the changes to the college admissions process starting in Fall 2021, as well as sentiment about the value of a college education. Although colleges are non-profit organizations, which in the collective culture are imagined to be altruistic endeavors where the potential of the young is discovered,…

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AP Adversity

Beginning with the first Advanced Placement (AP) exams on Monday, May 11, thousands of students were unable to submit their answers. As students continued taking additional tests during the week, more and more students reported technical difficulties and expressed frustrations about not being able to submit their answers. For the students who experienced technical glitches during AP Exams the week…

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