Blogs - 3/107 - Merit Educational Consultants

UCs will start notifying freshman applicants of admissions decisions in the next few weeks, and transfer applicants by end of April. Normally, April is the month to visit college campuses to make final decisions colleges, but the UCs will not have on-campus Admit Days this year. Instead, they’ll all have virtual activities and seminars that include financial aid/scholarships, choosing majors, housing, support services, and student organizations.

Here are the dates for each UC campus:
UC Berkeley: April 3, Cal Week: April 24 —30
UC Davis: March 30 — April 3
UC Irvine: March 26 — April 17
UCLA: April 5 —16
UC Merced: March 9 — April 24
UC Riverside: April 5 — 7
UC San Diego: April 10, with other events continuing throughout April
UC Santa Barbara: March 22 — 25 and April 26 — 30
UC Santa Cruz: March 20 — April 10

To accept to one UC, pay your Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) and pay the $250 deposit by May 1st. The SIR is nonrefundable and non-transferable, but the payment does go towards your first enrollment term tuition.

Students will need to satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR) by taking the Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE) on Saturday, May 22nd or by satisfying the requirement with qualifying SAT, ACT, AP or IB scores or receiving a C or higher in a college English composition course. Check with your college before signing up for the AWPE because UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Santa Cruz are not requiring the AWPE but have other rules.

March 10, 2021

UC Update

UCs will start notifying freshman applicants of admissions decisions in the next few weeks, and transfer applicants by end of April. Normally, April is the month to visit college campuses to make final decisions colleges, but the UCs will not have on-campus Admit Days this year. Instead, they’ll all have virtual activities and seminars that include financial aid/scholarships, choosing majors, housing, support services, and student organizations.

Here are the dates for each UC campus:
UC Berkeley: April 3, Cal Week: April 24 —30
UC Davis: March 30 — April 3
UC Irvine: March 26 — April 17
UCLA: April 5 —16
UC Merced: March 9 — April 24
UC Riverside: April 5 — 7
UC San Diego: April 10, with other events continuing throughout April
UC Santa Barbara: March 22 — 25 and April 26 — 30
UC Santa Cruz: March 20 — April 10

To accept to one UC, pay your Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) and pay the $250 deposit by May 1st. The SIR is nonrefundable and non-transferable, but the payment does go towards your first enrollment term tuition.

Students will need to satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR) by taking the Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE) on Saturday, May 22nd or by satisfying the requirement with qualifying SAT, ACT, AP or IB scores or receiving a C or higher in a college English composition course. Check with your college before signing up for the AWPE because UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Santa Cruz are not requiring the AWPE but have other rules.

February 28, 2021

Fool-proof plan to grow veggies from seeds

Getting a head start on my veggie garden – one of the benefits of sheltering in place! I’ve always bought starter plants at the nursery because I could never grow plants from seeds. I think I was too impatient and got busy with other things after planting the seeds so they just dried up or wilted. But this year, I tried something new.

Using a 10-foot rain gutter with end caps, I screwed it below my south-facing window in my office. My thought: it’s the warmest spot in the building and I pass it about a dozen times per day so I can’t forget about it. I planted 26 different types of veggies in individual containers and watered them. Within 2-3 days, 24 seedling varieties popped up. I carefully misted them with water twice a day and they’re thriving.

I’ll move them to the kitchen window sill until spring, and then I’ll plant them in my aquaponics media beds and in dirt pots in the greenhouse. If I’m brave enough, I might experiment with planting them in planter boxes in my garden, but they’ll probably just be donations or gifts to the gophers.

I plan to keep starting new seeds every month to keep a constant flow of veggies to eat all season. Well, that’s my plan for now. I don’t have a green thumb and have never grown enough veggies for my family. Maybe this will be one positive thing to come out of this pandemic.

February 28, 2021

Still learning the art of growing mushrooms

Just because mushrooms grow in forests, under trees, and in unexpected areas does NOT mean that they’re easy to grow. On my first attempt, I bought mycelium spawn that was completely ready to go into grain. I prepared 4 beds in the greenhouse and 4 beds in an outdoor mushroom grove. So far, I have only gotten one batch of Golden Oyster mushrooms – still it was exciting, and delicious. But my other 7 beds haven’t produced any mushrooms. Ugh.

Today, I inoculated millet grains that I soaked, cooked, and sterilized. This time, I bought the mycelium syringes filled with 7 different types of mushrooms spawn. I even made a glove box to prevent contamination – one of the biggest problems with growing mushrooms. I learned how to use a lighter to flame sanitize the needle (think: drug addict!) and carefully inoculated 12 jars of mycelium in my glove box.

I have to admit that I enjoyed conducting this science experiment in my kitchen. I watched dozens of YouTube videos and worked with one of my Merit Specialists to get detailed instructions. Now my grain jars are sitting in my office, living room, and bedroom closet waiting for the mycelium to grow. Once they completely fill the jars, I’ll put them in the beds I’ve made with a new batch of substrate (soil, compost, coffee grounds, and sawdust). That’s where they actually turn into mushrooms. Learning something new every day!

February 26, 2021

Dirty little secrets about college athletics and student tuition

College athletics is big business, and colleges fund expensive athletic programs because it’s great advertising. Coaches make $700,000 or more per year, while professors make about $100,000. Student athletes with much lower GPAs and SAT/ACT scores are admitted to improve game performance – well, because it brings free publicity to the school.

But universities are supposed to be think-tank or research institutions that give students access to the best professors, labs, and departments so that the students can graduate with a solid academic foundation that prepares them for graduate school or careers. Isn’t that why students go to college?

Students across the nation are challenging their universities about how their tuition is allocated. During the pandemic, many students demanded reduced tuition and activity fees because they were forced to take classes online and couldn’t participate in on-campus programs. Sports were cancelled and so too were games – games that were funded through Incidental Fees by student tuition. At the University of Oregon, 10% of the student government budget ($1.7 million) went to the athletics department.

This pandemic has opened Pandora’s box for colleges that were happy to conceal the amount of funds allocated for sports and other activities. When students are struggling to pay tuition, room and board, and other costs directed to their education, it seems only fair that they shouldn’t have to fund athletics programs that they don’t participate in or attend. According to Oregon Athletics, only 65% of students attend games, which means that 35% are funding athletic programs that neither have anything to do with higher education or their personal interests.

Universities are supposed to be think-tank or research institutions that give students access to the best professors, labs, and departments so that the students can graduate with a solid academic foundation that prepares them for graduate school or careers. It’s time for colleges to restructure tuition to make it more affordable and more alignable with student interests, not college’s marketing plans.

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February 7, 2021

My Valentine gift to Honey Bees!

I’ve never liked Valentine’s Day. It seems like a Hallmark advertising campaign to beef up sales after the slump when Christmas, New Years, and Super Bowl celebrations are over. A dozen roses can cost over $100, and a dinner for two (pre-pandemic) would cost twice as much as a regular night. But, I am completely supporting our honey bees for Valentine’s Day, and hope you’ll join me.

Roundup (weed killer) has an ingredient (glyphosate) that kills bees. With all that is going on in the world today, we need to protect bees so that they can provide us with the food we need to survive. The last time I went to Home Depot, there was a whole aisle dedicated to pallets filled with Roundup.

I took this picture right outside of Home Depot carrying a little sign that asks Home Depot and Lowe’s to stop carrying Roundup in their stores. If you’d like to bring awareness about Roundup to protect our bees, join the Friends of the Earth organization. There are 3 ways you can support bees during Valentine’s Week:

  1.  Print a little sign (click here)
    Take a picture of yourself in front of a Home Depot or Lowe’s sign
    Send photos to beeaction@foe.org
  2.  Print and sign letter to Home Depot or Lowe’s (click here)
    Mail letter to Home Depot or Lowe’s
    Email beeaction@foe.org (to let them know you sent the letter)
  3.  Post on social media (like me!)
    Share this post — it’s easy to do and will bring awareness about Roundup and   it’ll put pressure on Home Depot and Lowe’s to stop carrying poisons that are   killing our precious bees.

I had fun taking these photos. I also gave signs to friends so they could snap a few photos and printed letters so they could mail them with ease.

#RejectRoundup

February 4, 2021

Why did UCs get so many freshman applications this year?

The University of California received more than 200,000 freshman applications for fall 2021 – that’s an 18% increase from last year. This came as quite a surprise because we were expecting for applications to decrease due to the pandemic. With parents losing their jobs, students disillusioned about higher education, and uncertainty about careers and the future, most colleges have received fewer applications this year. So why did the UCs receive more applications than they have at any time in its history?

The UCs announced that they will NOT consider either the SAT or the ACT as part of their admissions requirements this year and in the future. Black applicants rose by 22% and Latino students by 12%. That’s about 45% of the total applications to the 9 UC campuses this year.

UCLA received the most freshman applicants, followed by UC San Diego, and then UC Berkeley. For transfer applicants, UCLA received the most applications followed by UC Irvine, then UC San Diego, and finally UC Berkeley.

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February 3, 2021

National Women Physicians Day

Two hundred years ago today, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first American woman to earn her medical degree. She was allowed to attend medical school as a joke, but proved everyone wrong about her “intellectual inferiority” because she was a woman. In 2019, 50.5% of medical students were women, and 49.4% were men. We’ve certainly come a long way! My daughter Nicole and her fellow female ER doctor friends and colleagues have worked hard to reach their goals, while also having fun. Glad to see female physicians getting recognized today.

February 3, 2021

National Women Physicians Day

Two hundred years ago today, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first American woman to earn her medical degree. She was allowed to attend medical school as a joke, but proved everyone wrong about her “intellectual inferiority” because she was a woman. In 2019, 50.5% of medical students were women, and 49.4% were men. We’ve certainly come a long way! My daughter Nicole and her fellow female ER doctor friends and colleagues have worked hard to reach their goals, while also having fun. Glad to see female physicians getting recognized today.

January 28, 2021

How propaganda fueled by “Patriotic Education” may enter our history textbooks

Did you know that former president Trump snuck in a final push for his “Patriotic Education” on his last day in office? Historians say that this report released by the Presidential Advisory 1776 Commission is garbage. It focuses on the radicalization of American politics and values from the 1960s forward while eliminating actual historical events and ethnic groups entirely. It’s an attempt to incorrectly instill inaccurate historical facts under the guise of history education reform.

As expected, there are no professional historians on this commission. This was a common practice of placing as executive officers people who have little or no expertise in the areas they were supposed to lead. Wow. This Patriotic Education was put in place to create a larger divide about historical issues like slavery and indigenous people, all while touting “unity” to confuse Americans.

Experts believe that the Biden Administration will discontinue this commission. We need to be vigilant in making sure that corrupt and misleading messages don’t infiltrate our history books, and the minds of our children.

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January 24, 2021

Where do viruses originate?

Worried about when the next virus will cause another pandemics? According to Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the Univ of Edinburgh, three to four new species of viruses are discovered every year, and most of them originate from animals.

The rising number of viruses is a direct result clear-cutting rainforests and wildlife trade. When their habitats are destroyed to make way for grazing cattle (for beef) or wildfires burn thousands of acres, the wildlife move closer to cities where they carry diseases that are transferred from monkey, bats, or rats, to humans. This is called zoonosis, or animal-to-human transmission.

A 2017 study determined that 25 of the 27 Ebola outbreaks in Africa began in places where deforestation took place two years prior. They’re not sure how the virus leaps from animals to humans, but they believe it might take place when wild animals are butchered.

“Bushmeat” is a traditional source of protein for people who live in the Congo rainforests. It has become a delicacy and 5 million tons of bushmeat is traded globally each year. Smoked colobus monkey carcass sells for $22, and has been hunted to extinction in parts of the Congo.

Trading live animals like young crocodiles, tortoises, and chimpanzees is a huge market for pet collectors. The avian flu (H5N1 virus) and SARS both emerged from the transport of these exotic animals to metropolitan cities. The next virus that can cause another more dangerous pandemic can be brought from the Congo to Europe or the United States to serve the exotic tastes of the rich.
We need to protect the forests — to protect humanity.

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