College Admissions In the Time of COVID

Recently, I spoke with families at the Sacramento Buddhist Church about the current state of education, particularly changes to the college admissions process as a result of the near holistic COVID-induced disruption. I’ve highlighted several issues in the following post, as well as included the full recording. Questions about widespread test-optional admissions dominated our conversation, as a multi-generational precedent in…

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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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Kids Return to Campus, But Not to Normalcy

As the number of diagnosed COVID cases plateaus and more Americans are vaccinated, more K-12 administrators are reconvening classes in person, while educators who had already implemented a hybrid schedule during the past few months are now returning to full five day a week, everyone together on campuses. Yet returning to classrooms may be more complicated than expected with modified…

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Paying for College: Risk Versus Reward

The 1200% increase in college tuition over the last four decades, outpacing inflation by nearly 1000%, is Reason Number One parents often anxiously ask me about how their kid can apply for scholarships. As the conversation unfolds, many often also reveal having saved some for their children’s college expenses, though the amount is woefully inadequate, and are now looking for…

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Mind the Generational Gaps by Playing Games Today

Members of one generation can’t seem to avoid falling into gaps of mis-understanding regarding another generation. Eventully, they hit bottom, stumble around in the darkness of their own ignorance, often manufacturing a conclusion to ease their anxiety, at the cost of understanding the other generation. I’ll offer gaming in the digital versus real world, as a case in point. Parents,…

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Motherly Unemployment Blues

Two income families have become synonymous with modern parenting. Yet, in the recent COVID-induced economic disruption, when women are more likely to be unemployed or underemployed than men, the family dynamic may also be shifting.  ….by April [2020] the COVID-19 crisis had created a 3 percentage point gender gap in unemployment.  A similar gap emerged in the share of men…

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2020 COVID-Induced Retreat

First, in Spring 2020, as we retreated into our homes concerned for the health risks of contracting COVID, we re-centered our lives. Following stringent social distancing guidelines, we imported the world to our personal fiefdoms. Thus, we’re spending more on groceries to prepare our own meals, purchasing cable and satellite TV for news and entertainment, and cleaning products attempting to…

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Put Down Your #2 Pencils: The University of California Will Eliminate the SAT/ACT Scores by 2025, Part 12

Since the University of California (UC) has suspended the requirement of SAT and ACT scores for all admissions cycles through Fall 2025, which affects current (2020-21) 8th graders, subjectivity in admissions evaluations will likely increase, as officers will lose a standardized metric as a comparison for the GPA, extracurricular resume and essays, utilizing the UC’s 14 Comprehensive Review points.  UC…

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Put Down Your #2 Pencils: The University of California Will Eliminate SAT/ACT Scores by 2025, Part 10

Since UC admissions officers utilize 14 Comprehensive Review Points, no one single factor determines admissions or not, instead the totality of a student’s high school experience is considered. Additionally, with Comprehensive Review, a student’s entire experience can be considered on a campus by campus basis, according to campus-specific needs. Consequently, when applicants understand each of the 14 Comprehensive Review points,…

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The Shrinking American Middle Class, Part 3

The American middle class is shrinking in comparison to nations around the world. Yesterday, I proffered the view that those Americans wishing to sustain or aspiring to achieve a middle class standard of living may not be obtaining the academic preparation necessary, especially as indicated by their average performance on international educational assessments. Yet, their middling academic attainment does not…

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Paying for College…Before College

Parents, no matter their net worth, readily take risks, if they believe their children will benefit. And, the risks parents will take know no bounds—as seen in those facing federal prison trying to guarantee a college admissions to those who go into debt to pay for extra-curricular activities. However, why are parents so willing to take such risks for their children?…

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Selfish Caring

Not a day goes by, when I don’t hear from a concerned parent that their kid isn’t doing enough community service. The unsaid part of the concern is “not enough for a competitive college admissions resume.” Although community service IS recalled in college applications and can matter in demonstrating the interest and commitment of an applicant outside of her/his academic…

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The University of California Unveiled Brand New Application Essay Prompts

In Fall 2016, both freshman and transfer applicants to the University of California (UC) will choose from brand new writing prompts when composing the required personal application statements.  After ten years, the UC has retired their previous two essay prompts. With annually record-breaking numbers of applicants—which increases the selectivity in admissions—admissions officers are seeking a fuller understanding of each applicant.