Friday, October 30, 2009

Cautionary Advice Before Hitting the Early Decision Button

Cautionary Advice Before Hitting the Early Decision Button By Elizabeth Pleshette, NYTimes Blog: The Choice
"If I ruled the world – and who am I kidding, my children don’t even listen to me — I would do away with colleges’ binding early decision programs, or at least the versions many colleges implement today. In my perfect universe, all high school seniors would be allowed to have their choices evolve naturally. If a student has a first choice, let her articulate that in January of her senior year, after she has done all the work and submitted applications to all of her schools."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Meaning for Night Class at 2-Year Colleges

New Meaning for Night Class at 2-Year Colleges By ABBY GOODNOUGH
"Virtually every state is dealing with enrollment booms at community colleges, the American Association of Community Colleges says, with some in California reporting increases of 35 percent. The demand comes amid deep cuts to higher-education budgets, but also at a hopeful time for community colleges: President Obama recently announced a $12 billion plan to increase the number of community college graduates by five million by 2020.

“It shines a spotlight on a sector of higher education that by and large has been viewed as the lowest rung on the ladder,” Dr. Fifield said. “Now we have the president of the United States talking about community colleges as an engine that will drive and sustain economic success in this country.”

Classes at Midnight: Rising Enrollment’s Impact on Community Colleges By Jack Kadden, NYTimes Blog: The Choice

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Colleges Are Pushed to Convert Loan System

Colleges Are Pushed to Convert Loan System By TAMAR LEWIN, NYTimes

Most of the nation’s 5,000 colleges and universities have not taken the necessary steps to adopt a new lending plan, nor has Congress given it final approval.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Debating the Merits of Leaving High School Early to Go to College

Debating the Merits of Leaving High School Early to Go to College By Jack Kadden, NYTimes Blog: The Choice

What should you do if you’re a high school junior who feels that spending one more year in high school would be a waste of time? A thread on College Confidential raises that question.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Helping Teenagers Find Their Dreams

Helping Teenagers Find Their Dreams By EILENE ZIMMERMAN, NYTimes

If you’re anxious to guide your children to the ideal career choice, remember how often adults change professions before finding the right fit.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

In Praise of Amy Tan and San Francisco's Literary Life

In Praise of Amy Tan and San Francisco's Literary Life by Bruce Weber, NYTimes

An event to honor the novelist Amy Tan captured San Francisco literary life in a nutshell, especially its sense of community and school spirit.

*Amy Tan's Anxiety Tip of the Day (and other fun stuff)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

College Costs Keep Rising, Report Says

College Costs Keep Rising, Report Says By TAMAR LEWIN, NYTimes

The average annual cost of tuition and fees at four-year public colleges rose 6.5 percent from last year, to $7,020, the report said.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NYC Teen Iron Chef Competition

Serve.gov: NYC Teen Iron Chef Competition

Students from 11 New York City schools competed in the first Teen Iron Chef competition of culinary skills and talent organized by HealthCorps, Family Cook Productions and Urban Assembly School of Music and Art.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Book Report: 'Admission Matters: What Students and Parents Need to Know About Getting Into College'

Book Report: 'Admission Matters: What Students and Parents Need to Know About Getting Into College' By Rebecca R. Ruiz, NYTimes The Choice blog

“Admission Matters,” by Sally P. Springer, Jon Reider and Marion R. Franck is a direct and human companion to the college admissions process . . .The authors seek to minimize the hype surrounding the admissions process. They spend a lot of time describing the intensity of competition today and the fallacy of associating the quality of a school’s education with its selectivity. (Read more)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The NEW NYTimes Learning Network BLOG!

The award-winning Learning Network was created in the fall of 1998. In October 2009, it was re-launched it as a Times blog.
Current features:
  • Lesson Plans — Daily lesson plans based on New York Times content.
  • Student Opinion — News-related questions that invite response from students age 13 and older.
  • Word of the Day — Vocabulary words in the context of recent Times articles.
  • 6 Q’s About the News — An activity in which students answer basic questions (Who, What, Where, When, Why and How) about an article.
  • News Quiz — Interactive daily news quizzes on current top stories.
  • Student Crossword — Topical puzzles geared toward teens.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saturday Arts 2009.10.17

Schools Adopt Art as Building Block of Education By WINNIE HU, NYTimes
A growing number of newly built or renovated public schools across the country are incorporating art in their buildings to inspire and teach.

A New Arts School Prepares for Its First Act NYTimes
Student and faculty voices from the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria, Queens, share their thoughts on the first day in the brand-new facility.

A Modern Spin on Spirituality By SONIA KOLESNIKOV-JESSOP, International Herald Tribune
The outdoor exhibition ''Li Chen: Mind.Body.Spirit'' in Singapore shows how the sculptor melds a contemporary style with his study of Buddhism and Taoist philosophies.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Guidance Office: Answers from the President of the College Board Part 5

Guidance Office: Answers from the President of the College Board Part 5, By Gaston Caperton, NYTimes The Choice Blog, October 16, 2009

This week in the Guidance Office, The Choice is featuring answers to select reader questions by Gaston Caperton, who has been president of the College Board since 1999. The board is the nonprofit association of 5,000 schools and universities that is best known for overseeing the SAT and Advanced Placement programs.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Guidance Office: Answers from the President of the College Board Part 4

Guidance Office: Answers from the President of the College Board Part 4, By Gaston Caperton, NYTimes The Choice Blog, October 15, 2009

This week in the Guidance Office, The Choice is featuring answers to select reader questions by Gaston Caperton, who has been president of the College Board since 1999. The board is the nonprofit association of 5,000 schools and universities that is best known for overseeing the SAT and Advanced Placement programs.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Guidance Office: Answers from the President of the College Board Part 3

Guidance Office: Answers from the President of the College Board Part 3, By Gaston Caperton, NYTimes The Choice Blog, October 14, 2009

This week in the Guidance Office, The Choice is featuring answers to select reader questions by Gaston Caperton, who has been president of the College Board since 1999. The board is the nonprofit association of 5,000 schools and universities that is best known for overseeing the SAT and Advanced Placement programs.

On Wednesday, Mr. Caperton discourages students from taking SAT prep courses, in favor of hard work in tough courses in school. His answers are scheduled to continue throughout the week.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Guidance Office: Answers from the President of the College Board, Part 2

Guidance Office: Answers from the President of the College Board Part 2, By Gaston Caperton, NYTimes The Choice Blog, October 13, 2009

This week in the Guidance Office, The Choice is featuring answers to select reader questions by Gaston Caperton, who has been president of the College Board since 1999. The board is the nonprofit association of 5,000 schools and universities that is best known for overseeing the SAT and Advanced Placement programs.

On Tuesday, Mr. Caperton, he explains how applicants can withhold some test scores from some colleges, and how the College Board considers requests by those taking the SAT who wish to use a computer on the essay portion. His answers will continue throughout the week.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Guidance Office: Answers from the President of the College Board, Part 1

Guidance Office: Answers from the President of the College Board, Part 1 By Gaston Caperton, NYTimes The Choice Blog, October 12, 2009, 2:29 pm

This week in the Guidance Office, The Choice is featuring answers to select reader questions by Gaston Caperton, who has been president of the College Board since 1999. The board is the nonprofit association of 5,000 schools and universities that is best known for overseeing the SAT and Advanced Placement programs.

On Monday, Mr. Caperton answers questions about minority access to higher education, and whether there is a place for “reflection in the AP testing process.” On Tuesday, he explains how applicants can withhold some test scores from some colleges, and how the College Board considers requests by those taking the SAT who wish to use a computer on the essay portion. His answers will continue throughout the week.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Leaner Times at Harvard: No Cookies

Leaner Times at Harvard: No Cookies By ABBY GOODNOUGH, NYTimes

With the value of its endowment down by almost 30 percent, Harvard is learning to do without, including the free cookies at faculty meetings.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

SAT Oct 2009

Week (0r Two) Before the Test

  • Gather all your completed SAT Practice Tests into ONE pile.
  • Review a completed test every evening before the Night Before the SAT Test.
  • Look-up any difficult vocabulary.
  • Note how you used POE (Process of Elimination) to get the right answers.
  • Analyze your wrong answers, and adjust your POE.
  • Re-read NYTimes The Choice Blog: For Those Withholding SAT Scores, Advice on Completing the Common Application By Jacques Steinberg
The Night Before the Test
  • Don't cram for the SAT!
  • Follow you normal Friday Night Homework routine.
  • Go to bed early.

Day of the Test:
  • Wake up fifteen minutes early to focus your thoughts.
  • Eat breakfast
  • Bring Student ID
  • Bring pencils, calculators, ear plugs, water, energy bar, etc.
  • Arrive early--use the spare time to encourage yourself and your friends to do your best.

During the Test

  • Stand up and stretch!

Essay:

  • Read the Prompt
  • Read the Quote
  • Read the Prompt again.
  • Think for 1 minute (don't write).
  • Brainstorm. Focus, focus, focus your examples. Organize. (2 minutes)
  • Write (20 min)
  • Intro Paragraph:
  • Thesis plus preview of your examples
  • 3 body paragraphs. Topic sentence plus 3-4 sentences of concrete detail.
  • Transition between paragraphs.
  • Conclusion.
  • Fix errors and upgrade vocabulary (2 min).

Writing Section

  • The Fist of No Error (see sidebar)

Critical Reading

  • POE (process of elimination)
  • Avoid answers that are too extreme (narrow, general, always/never, etc)

Sentence Completion--1 Blank

  • Cover the answers.
  • Read the sentence.
  • Note trigger words (ex: conjunctions, prefixes, modifiers, negation) which change the meaning of the sentence.
  • Read the sentence again, substituting your own word in the blank.
  • Match your choice with the supplied answer choices.
  • Not sure of the meaning? Look at the root--is similar the root similar to the root of a word that you know?
  • Use POE to target the correct answer.
  • Yes, the word you don't know can be the correct choice.

Sentence Completion--2 Blanks

  • Cover the answers.
  • Read the sentence.
  • Note trigger words (ex: conjunctions, prefixes, modifiers, negation) which change the meaning of the sentence.
  • Read the sentence again, substituting your own word in the blank.
  • Uncover the first column of words. Match them with your choice in the first blank (two answers should be retained, the other three should be dismissed).
  • Not sure of the meaning? Look at the root--is similar the root similar to the root of a word that you know?
  • Uncover the second column of words. Match them with your choice in the second blank (the target choices in the 1st blank are usually synonyms of each other; and the second blank is usually opposite of each other; OR the target choices in the 1st blank are antonyms of each other and the second blank is are synonyms).
  • Remember: there is only one correct answer!).

Short Parassage (new)

  • Read the questions first.
  • The short passage questions are usually about the tone, main idea, or inference.
  • There is usually one dual short passage set per SAT test.
  • Each of the four questions compare/contrast both passages.
  • Draw a quick Venn Diagram to organize the info.
  • The dual passages may not contradict each other (i.e. +/-), but one passage may be general, and the other passage may be more specific. Remember WHAT the topic is about, and the AUDIENCE.

Long Passage

  • Read the blurb (who? what? where? when?)
  • Skim & underline for information (Proper Nouns, Unusual Punctuation, Lists)
  • Mark-up the passage as per the Questions (Beware of stealth EXCEPT and Inference Questions)
  • Read the passage critically (why? how?)
  • Answer the questions via POE

Dual Passages

Dual Passage--Intro

  • Draw a Venn Diagram
  • Read the blurb (who? what? where? when? audience? type of text?)
  • Fill out the Venn Diagram

Dual Passage--Passage 1

  • Skim & underline the First Passage for information (Proper Nouns, Unusual Punctuation, Lists)
  • Mark-up the passage as per the First Passage Questions (Beware of stealth EXCEPT and Inference Questions)
  • Read the passage critically (why? how?)
  • Answer First Passage questions ONLY via POE
  • Skip all Second Passage and Dual Passage Questions

Dual Passage--Passage 2

  • Skim & underline the Second Passage for information (Proper Nouns, Unusual Punctuation, Lists)
  • Mark-up the passage as per the Second Passage Questions (Beware of stealth EXCEPT and Inference Questions)Read the passage critically (why? how?)
  • Answer Passage 2 questions ONLY via POE
  • Skip all Dual Passage Questions

Dual Passage--Dual Passage Questions

  • Update Venn Diagram (tone +/-) (note if there is a switch in tone/argument)
  • Answer Dual Passage questions via POE
  • Finish!

After the Test

  • Don't just go home--celebrate with a special lunch or snack.
  • Go on to your next task!

GOOD LUCK!

Friday, October 9, 2009

For Those Withholding SAT Scores, Advice on Completing the Common Application

NYTimes The Choice Blog: For Those Withholding SAT Scores, Advice on Completing the Common Application By Jacques Steinberg

As high school seniors and their counselors get deeper into fall, they will surely find themselves wrestling with the fine print and ramifications of the College Board’s new Score Choice policy.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Stress, the Tears, the Moods: 11th Grade, Through a Parent's Eyes

The Stress, the Tears, the Moods: 11th Grade, Through a Parent's Eyes By Caren Osten Gerszberg , NYTimes Blog: Mom U.

Occasional reflections on the admissions process by Caren Osten Gerszberg, the mother of a high school junior.

While taking a walk the other day with my daughter Nicole, a nearly 16-year-old high school junior, I launched into a conversation about stress. What I was I thinking? The discussion about how to reduce the stress in her life — “Maybe you should drop an honors class or cut piano from your schedule?” — became stressful in itself, with one of us ending up in tears...Read more

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Student-Athletes Once Again

Student-Athletes Once Again By JONATHAN ABRAMS, NYTimes

The players union estimated that 10 percent of the N.B.A., about 45 players, including several elite names, took college classes during the off-season.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Prepaid College Savings Plans Might Not Cover All Costs

Prepaid College Savings Plans Might Not Cover All Costs By SEAN D. HAMILL, NYTimes

The stock market slump and rising college costs have combined to drive all but two of the nation’s 18 such funds into the red.

Monday, October 5, 2009

M.I.T. Taking Student Blogs to Nth Degree

M.I.T. Taking Student Blogs to Nth Degree By TAMAR LEWIN, NYTimes

Dozens of colleges are embracing student blogs on their Web sites, seeing them as a powerful admissions tool.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Book Bike



ALA: The Book Bike

Attending the Banned Books Read-Out on September 26, 2009, was Gabe Levinson, operator of the Book Bike. The concept is simple: Levinson travels around Chicago giving away books. He spoke to AL Focus about his efforts and motivation. The Book Bike's web site, somethingtoread.net, is currently under construction.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Widow's Mural for Health Care

USNico: A Widow's Mural for Health Care
A mini-documentary about artist Regina Holliday, and her very symbolic and both public and personal view of the health care system in the United States.

Regina Holliday's Medical Advocacy Blog
Details about the creation of the Mural and people's responses to the Mural.

Open Salon sWell: Regina Holliday & The Art of Health Reform
"These days you'll find Regina Holliday on NW Connecticut Ave, painting her mural on the side of a gas station across from a CVS Pharmacy and near Politics and Prose bookstore."

DC9T Flickr Set: 73 Cents Mural Washington DC
"Regina told us her story in person, accompanied by the notebook of her husband?s medical record, which she was only allowed to get on paper, at $0.73 a page."

Friday, October 2, 2009

Science Friday 2009.10.02

Fossil Skeleton From Africa Predates Lucy By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD, NYTimes
Scientists said that Ardi, short for Ardipithecus ramidus, was the earliest known skeleton from the human branch of the primate family tree.

Finding Order in the Apparent Chaos of Currents By BINA VENKATARAMAN, NYTimes
Scientists have made strides in making images of the underlying mechanics of flowing air and water.
Red Planet May Be Better Known as the Wet One By KENNETH CHANG, NYTimes
Scientists, using images taken by a camera on a Martian orbiter, discovered signs of water ice in craters far from the planet’s poles.

Interactive: Beautiful Universe Astronomy Quiz, NYTimes
Take an astronomy quiz illustrated with images from an exhibit celebrating the 400th anniversary of Galileo's telescope.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

China Celebrates 60th Anniversary of Modern State's Founding


On October 1, China celebrates the founding of the People's Republic with great fanfare. Over the past sixty years, the world's most populous country has transformed itself from a struggling poor civilization to an industrial and military power with few rivals.