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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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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Common Application Prompts to Change for Fall 2022 Admissions

A new 650 word Common Application (bolded in the list below) essay prompt is being added for Fall 2022 admissions, as a replacement for one prompt being “retired”.  Regardless of any prompt chosen, I recommend to avoid approaching the college essay as yet another school assignment, where students try to write and edit simultaneously, crafting one maybe two drafts and…

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Should I take the SAT or ACT? Part 2

Many high school juniors who will be applying to college for Fall 2022 admissions are desperate to understand whether major universities will require SAT or ACT scores as part of their applications.  I would first caution parents and students to be patient and flexible when defining an SAT or ACT test-taking strategy given admissions policies regarding requiring test scores, in…

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Students select colleges, colleges don’t select students

The criminally fraudulent actions of Rick Singer and 50 parents and college administrators indicted in the college admissions scandal in 2019, highlighted the disparities and weaknesses in the college admissions system, as well as the cultural bias that a college degree is a salve for life’s uncertainties. As Washington Post journalist, Jeff Selingo writes: These rich and powerful parents —…

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Should I take the SAT or ACT?

As many U.S. universities have not yet announced any extended test-optional or test-blind policies for Fall 2022 admissions, meaning applicants are not required to submit SAT or ACT scores for admissions, many current high school juniors (in the Class of 2022) are in limbo about the necessity of taking the SAT or ACT. Yet, given SAT and ACT registration deadlines…

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Cal State Universities Test Optional for Fall 2022 Admissions

The 23 campus California State Universities (CSU) system is extending the test-optional admissions policy for another year, through Fall 2022 admissions. In other words, current high school juniors in the Class of 2022 will NOT be required to submit SAT or ACT scores as part of their applications to any CSU campus for Fall 2022 admissions. As the University of…

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