The New College Student Dilemma

Three tasks not likely a part of a standard College Move-In Checklist, yet are on every first year college student’s mind:  Establish new community (i.e. make new friends), and how do I make new friends in COVID-related restrictions? Adjust to new, constantly evolving academic expectations “What am I going to be when I grow up?” existential questions Second year students…

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The 2021-22 School Year Dawns and The Plague Remains

COVID fatigue: borne of that daily reminder of our own mortality and the mortality of those we care about, of the suffering of illness, the suffering of trying to stave off illness only to fail. We’re a global society trying to out-think, out-science a sequence of RNA which is out-mutating our collective human intellect.  In the midst of such an…

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The Summer of the Long Goodbye

Soon-to-be first year college students all over the world are separating from their childhoods—saying, “Goodbye” to friends, leaving their childhood bedrooms, and now emerging as an adult, learning to partner with their parents. They’re establishing their first households outside their family homes, a complicated endeavor often involving new responsibilities.  In readying to move, students are combing through a childhood’s worth…

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The search for merit aid begins with the proper valuation of a college degree

“Do you help with scholarships?” is often one of the first questions that parents ask me. Fearful of the ever-increasing cost of college tuition, they (mis)perceive a college education as a large purchase, rather than an investment.  To invest in a college education, both institution and family mutually consent to a partnership. Yet, in any partnership, both parties must first…

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Coming Changes to the FAFSA

Over the next three years, the Federal Department of Education will phase in changes to the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Aid, which may increase out of pocket college costs for families, yet reduce the complexity of applying for need-based financial aid. The following are highlights of the changes, as well as recommendations for families to consider:   NUMBER OF…

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A chance for real education reform borne from the struggle with COVID exists today

As millions of students (and their parents) discovered the potential of learning from home during the COVID-induced dispersion of entire schools into an educational diaspora, some lessons learned will endure. As we recall students and teachers onto campuses, attempting to reconnect school communities, an opportunity for real innovation in education dawns, though not without struggle. In response to Ms. Washington’s…

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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…

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Tests assess but don’t always determine aptitude

And, as Bart Simpson exemplifies once again, a test without context can create conflicting results far removed from reality. Answering standardized multiple choice questions, at a single moment in the time-space continuum, subject to emotional reactions and human temperament, then interpreted in a formulaic analysis, identifying aptitude without ever seeking the view of the kid whose future has now been…

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COVID Effect On Colleges Extends to Fall 2021

Every day, college administrators are announcing Fall 2021 COVID vaccine policies, stoking lively conversations on social media about the requirement to be vaccinated, as well as continued social distancing protocols.  While many colleges continue debating how they’ll conduct the business of education in Fall 2021, and others have announced that they’re re-opening campuses for business as usual, students should be…

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Changes to The Common Application Could Improve Access for Students

Dear Common Application CEO Jenny Rickard: In advising transfer students, I discovered several incongruencies which, although did not prevent a student from submitting his applications on time, created undue stress and confusion in the hours before the deadline expired.  I offer the following feedback for you and your colleagues to consider, as a means of continuous improvement to provide the…

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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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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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Success Redefined

Artie Shaw, the renowned Jazz clarinetist said, “Success is an opiate.” Success is not what people think of you, not what you do, the awards you receive or the material trappings you have collected. Instead, confidence in one’s purpose, a calling that defines a higher esteem, an evolution of our spirit, often requires a Guru to show us the path. …

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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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