Blogs - 4/109 - Merit Educational Consultants

The May 1st deadline for all high school seniors to choose the colleges they plan to attend in the fall may not be the end of the admissions cycle this year. Normally, students apply to colleges as early as October of their senior year (for Early Decision and Early Action), by November/December for large public universities, and by January for Regular Decision for most private colleges and universities. Most students receive admissions decisions between December and March – giving them the month of April to compare financial aid offers and to visit campuses.

Amidst the pandemic, many colleges are struggling to get admissions decisions and financial aid offers to students and some have announced that students may not hear from them until the end of March or the beginning of April. With most colleges conducting remote learning, students are having to do virtual tours and participate in online activities that would typically take place on campus. This is all unsettling for students and their parents.

But now that the Biden Administration has announced that there will be enough vaccines for all Americans by May 1st, everyone is hopeful that students can start visiting college campuses and make decisions about where to go to college the good old fashioned way.

Many colleges have extended the May 1st deadline to June 1st or 15th. While this may sound altruistic, colleges are extending deadlines so they can ensure that they get their yield for the 2021-2022 academic year. Colleges are also wait listing many more students this year, for the same reasons. The good old fashioned way.

Many colleges have extended the May 1st deadline to June 1st or 15th. While this may sound altruistic, colleges are extending deadlines so they can ensure that they get their yield for the 2021-2022 academic year. Colleges are also wait listing many more students this year, for the same reasons. The good news is that students may be able to take their time to decide where they plan to go to college this fall.

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March 14, 2021

Students may have an extension on their May 1st deadline to choose their colleges

The May 1st deadline for all high school seniors to choose the colleges they plan to attend in the fall may not be the end of the admissions cycle this year. Normally, students apply to colleges as early as October of their senior year (for Early Decision and Early Action), by November/December for large public universities, and by January for Regular Decision for most private colleges and universities. Most students receive admissions decisions between December and March – giving them the month of April to compare financial aid offers and to visit campuses.

Amidst the pandemic, many colleges are struggling to get admissions decisions and financial aid offers to students and some have announced that students may not hear from them until the end of March or the beginning of April. With most colleges conducting remote learning, students are having to do virtual tours and participate in online activities that would typically take place on campus. This is all unsettling for students and their parents.

But now that the Biden Administration has announced that there will be enough vaccines for all Americans by May 1st, everyone is hopeful that students can start visiting college campuses and make decisions about where to go to college the good old fashioned way.

Many colleges have extended the May 1st deadline to June 1st or 15th. While this may sound altruistic, colleges are extending deadlines so they can ensure that they get their yield for the 2021-2022 academic year. Colleges are also wait listing many more students this year, for the same reasons. The good old fashioned way.

Many colleges have extended the May 1st deadline to June 1st or 15th. While this may sound altruistic, colleges are extending deadlines so they can ensure that they get their yield for the 2021-2022 academic year. Colleges are also wait listing many more students this year, for the same reasons. The good news is that students may be able to take their time to decide where they plan to go to college this fall.

SOURCE:

March 11, 2021

My first harvest of microgreens!

I just harvested my first crop of microgreens – successfully — last week. While it is supposed to be really easy to grow, I tried to grow them 3 years ago but it was a complete failure. I bought the trays, poured potting soil, and sprinkled microgreen seeds on top and left them in the greenhouse. The growth was spotty, and when I went to harvest them, they were tangled in clumps of soil that made them inedible.

Wanting to have microgreens for my salads and sandwiches because of their incredible nutrients, I did some research and started growing them again.  This time, I used coconut coir, or coconut husk, instead of soil. I also poured lots of seeds on the coir and I watered them every day. It’s amazing what happens when you pay attention to your garden! In just a few days, I saw sprouts that grew into a lush thick blanket of microgreens.

My new plan is to grow less but start new batches every 2-3 weeks so I could have a steady flow of microgreens. To help me remember to water them, I placed them next to the fish in my aquaponics system so I feed the fish and water the microgreens at the same time.

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.