Applying to College is Often A Long and Winding Road

Writing college essays is an intricate dance, often not a project that’s completed according to scheduled benchmarks and not without conflicts along the way. Often, applicants work in fits and starts, and typically, not in accordance with a parent’s expectations.  Seventeen years of expectations, emotions and experiences can obstruct the effort to draft autobiographical essays. Furthermore, teens are reflecting on…

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To Interview or Not That is The Question

Many private university admissions officers invite applicants to schedule an evaluative admissions interview before they apply. Typically, applicants need to complete interviews by December of any admissions cycle. However, students should check the deadlines for interviews on admissions websites. Admissions interviews are optional, meaning if a student cannot or does not schedule an interview, no penalties will be assessed nor…

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Supplemental Essays Matter: view from someone who matters, an admission officer

“A” students, who also happen to be college applicants, notoriously follow directions to the T. So, the lack of a rubric, standard, or other detailed set of directions for writing the college essays, beyond the confirmation bias of an acceptance letter is disconcerting to say the least.  Seeking to reduce confusion, the following is an analysis of Sam Prince’s, Bard…

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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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Dear Teachers Who Write Letters of Recommendation

Thank you for writing numerous letters every year, often an extra duty added to an already lengthy list of duties.  When teaching, it took me a while to figure out how to write a letter of recommendation, piecing together advice from more veteran colleagues. So, having asked many different admissions officers about useful letters of recommendation over the two decades…

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The Struggle to Realize Genius and the Cost of Failing to Do So

Everyone has genius. Yet, few discover their genius.  Every parent intends to unleash their child’s genius. Yet, the endeavor to help one’s child discover genius requires the intricate, on-going, at times, herculean effort to challenge expectations—one’s own, one’s extended family’s, as well as one’s culture’s and community’s—not to mention reconciling any gaps in a parent’s own undiscovered genius, a separate…

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Required Math Courses Changing at the University of California (UC)

Students applying to the University of California (UC) for Fall 2022 admissions and beyond can now fulfill their third year of required mathematics with a variety of math courses, no longer required to take Integrated Math III, Algebra II or an equivalent. However, potential first year UC applicants should still take a Geometry or Geometry-equivalent course as one of their…

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The Top 100 Colleges in the U.S. Ranked by Tuition

How to assess the value of a college education in order to avoid malinvestment

Comparing the published price of tuition along with the size of the student population can be one metric to value a university education. However, “shopping” colleges on price alone is shortsighted, thus families may overlook valuable educational opportunities.  Instead families should determine the value of any college education by discussing answers to reflective questions, starting with, “Why is a student…

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Live Long & Prosper, Class of 2021!

Congratulations to the Class of 2021 students we had the great pleasure of advising during Winter 2020, who will be proudly attending the following colleges starting in Fall 2021:  On the West Coast: Cal Poly, Pomona California State University Fullerton California State University Monterey Bay Chico State University Cosumnes River College Gonzaga University Oregon Institute of Technology Reed College San…

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The UC Extends Test-Free Admissions Through Fall 2025

On May 14, 2021, University of California (UC) officials agreed to extend “test-free” admissions policies through Fall 2025, meaning SAT or ACT scores will not be required nor considered in either admissions or scholarship considerations for the next four application cycles. Current Class of 2022 high school juniors through current eighth graders will be affected by the settlement agreement in…

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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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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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Introducing our Fall 2021 Educational Retainers: The Selective Tier

To assist the diversity of high school seniors and their families as they seek the greatest value in higher education, we offer a variety of retainers which are a culmination of our nearly twenty years of practice as educational consultants, as well as our understanding of the current trends in education.  Seeking higher education isn’t simply filling in boxes with…

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Community Service: Motivation is Important

Parents routinely ask how many hours of community service their kids must complete in order to be competitive in the college admissions process, essentially commoditizing generosity for their personal gain, which is at odds with serving the needs of others. What, then, is community service and why can volunteerism be included in the college admissions process? To effectively practice philanthropy,…

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