“Pay to Play”

In the perceived race for college admissions, savvy students and their families often seek any advantage to be admitted. As a high school sophomore shared recently, “If every kid looks the same, how do you distinguish yourself?” And, as the extracurricular resume is one place where students can demonstrate their uniqueness (since the academic requirements are prescribed), then many spend…

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Quote: Ferris Bueller

How to choose a summer program for high school students

Parents and students are often confused about how to choose a summer program, especially when a simple Google search merits hundreds of choices. Yet, with reflection, focused on the student’s needs, families can choose more effectively.  First, students can develop their own projects, recruiting mentors to explore their interests, all from home, saving money, while also demonstrating initiative and commitment—characteristics…

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Advice for Completing the University of California Activities & Awards Section

For those of you applying to the University of California (UC), completing the Activities & Awards section can require several hours of brainstorming, drafting and editing, over multiple drafts.  Thus, many teens will postpone drafting the detailed descriptions or conversely they may focus on drafting the descriptions, postponing their essay writing.  To balance the work of both drafting the PIQ…

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Post-Pandemic Innovation in Education a Real Possibility

During the last fifteen months of living a pandemic disrupted experience, kids experienced unstructured days amidst distance learning and suspension of regularly scheduled activities. Simply seeking to stave off boredom, many (re)discovered talents.   Perhaps a break from running on the hamster wheel of modern family life, chasing prosperity was just what we needed. Pandemics throughout history have disrupted, short-circuiting the status…

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Quote: Steve Jobs

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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Bubble cubicle

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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Chart: The Rising Cost of College in the U.S.

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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Chart: Recession opened up a gender divide in CA

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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