UC TAG Deadline for Transfers

TAG applications Sept 1-30 for Fall Transfers; May 1-31 for Spring Transfers

Students interested in applying to a UC as a junior transfer must complete their Transfer Admissions Guarantee application by September 30th.  Six UC campuses offer guaranteed admission to students from all California Community Colleges.

Here are the basic requirements and information:

  1. Must be transferring directly from a California community college.
  2. Must have 30 semester (45 quarter) UC-transferable units
  3. Must not have a bachelor’s or graduate degree
  4. Must not have attended a UC
  5. Must fulfill all remaining coursework and GPA requirements designated on the TAG
  6. Must also apply for admission between November 1-30 (in addition to the TAG application)
  7. Davis, Irvine, Merced, Riverside, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz offer TAGs


Think Child Care is Expensive? Just Wait for Elder Care

If you think child care is expensive, brace yourself for elder care. Nursing homes charge upwards of $100,000 per year, which is about EIGHT TIMES more expensive than child care. Taking care of ones parents used to be shared by many children, but today, the family size has shrunk to just 2 kids per couple. Soon, seniors will outnumber children. 
There are 34 million family members who provide unpaid care to an older parent here in the US. Most of these caregivers are women. With the high cost of elder care, home-health aids, and nursing homes, many families opt to move in with the senior or have the senior move in with them.  This drastically changes the dynamics of the home and strips the family members of free time because they are juggling their jobs and their fulltime elder care responsibilities. 
Neither Medicare nor standard private health insurance cover long-term personal care.  Social security usually only covers a small percentage of nursing home costs. Although Medicaid does cover long-term care, it'll only kick in after the patient has spent all of their savings and this varies from state to state. And private long-term care insurance is usually too expensive or not available for the patient. 
As our aging population grows, unpaid caregivers for seniors will become crippled with stress, loss of wages, and ruined family relations. Taking care of elders has long been considered a family responsibility with pressure on the children to handle everything from feeding, bathing, and entertaining to doctors' appointments, financial planning, and long-term care. Many caregivers feel isolated and can't afford to hire in-home caregivers or pay for nursing homes. 
I believe that elder care and how we as a society will finance it should be a topic for debates and campaign speeches for the 2020 elections. It's just as important as child care, climate change, prescription drugs, and gun violence.  We all need to start having these conversations with our loved ones to pool resources and finances.

Some Good Political News for a Change

After 31 months of Trump in the highest American office, political fatigue has set in with the sensory overload. So here’s some good news in the political world: California Governor Gavin Newsom fired Ken Harris, the head of California’s oil and gas regulatory agency, after activists complained about a sharp rise in oil drilling permits and conflicts of interest.

It’s refreshing to see a politician oppose fracking (hydraulic fracturing) because of potential health and environmental risks. Fracking injects high-pressured water into wells to release methane (aka natural gas). Each fracked well uses 1 million gallons of water and chemicals containing known carcinogens, which contaminates the ground water. Residents across the US complain that their water from their tap ignites but the EPA claims that their water is safe to drink. The level of corruption is obscene.

Watch “Gasland 2” to learn how our EPA and government officials have been denying problems with ground water contamination. My students loved how Josh Fox interviewed victims as well as oil companies and the EPA in “Gasland 2.” I believe that every high school student should watch “Gasland 2” in their environmental science and chemistry classes.

My hat’s off to Governor Newsom for taking a strong stand against fracking in California. Wish other governors and elected officials would protect their constituents instead of looking the other way.


How to Avoid Red Flags for College Admissions

College admission officers read thousands – literally – of applications each year so they have seen all kinds of interesting scenarios. They carefully review applications looking for students who will add something unique to their incoming freshman class. However, there are 4 red flags that raise eyebrows in the admissions office, and if your application falls into these piles, make sure you explain the situation in your essays, on the application form, or in an interview.

#1: GPA and SAT/ACT scores don’t match.
Colleges expect students with high GPAs to do well on their SAT/ACT, and likewise, those with low GPAs to have low SAT/ACT scores. But when a student has a high GPA with really low SAT/ACT scores, they’ll wonder why.

#2: Attended more than 2 high schools
Colleges wonder if a student who bounces from school to school will continue that pattern once they’re admitted to college. When students transfer to new schools mid semester, admissions officers may be concerned about student behavior and stability.

#3: Minimal or too many extracurricular activities.
College is a social institution and students are encouraged to join clubs, athletic teams, and/or the arts. When student resumes are thin, admissions officers may wonder why. On the other hand, students who claim to be president of 4 clubs, MVP of 3 sports, and work 20 hours per week, raise red flags because it’s impossible to dedicate quality time to that many activities.

#4: Essays sound too good to be true.
College application essays are expected to be written by teenagers, not 50-something adults. When essays are written with a sophisticated philosophy (one developed over decades), admissions officers know that parents or tutors have heavily edited or even written them. Sometimes jargon, descriptions, and even dated metaphors are dead giveaways that the essays were not written by the students themselves.

If your application raises red flags, you won’t be admitted. So, explain any ambiguous situations to avoid the reject pile. Just read your application with fresh eyes before you submit it, and if you find areas where your response did not satisfy the question, call the admissions office to inquire about how to present your circumstances.  They’ll appreciate your honesty and sincere interest in getting in.

Good luck! If you need help with your college applications, we’re here to help

Boxing is Like Cockfighting But Only One is Illegal

In July, 2 boxers died from injuries sustained after their fights in different venues.  Hmm. I consider boxing a form of human cockfighting. I’m disgusted by the concept of jabbing fists into an opponent’s head and body for entertainment. Not sure which bothers me more: the boxer who enters the small ring to be physically abused or the audience who gets pleasure out of watching 2 men fight in a small boxing ring.

Like boxing, cockfighting consists of 2 living things (roosters) that are put in a small ring with the solitary purpose of fighting to win (or until death). Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states...I wonder why boxing is legal in all 50 states.  I don’t find anything entertaining about watching anybody or any animal hurting one another.


USC Most Affected By College Admissions Scandal

USC, or the University of Spoiled Children – also known as University of Southern California – is now known to as being the most afflicted by the college admissions scandal.  According to E-Poll Market research, USC’s “dislike score” jumped from 26 (2016) to 40 (2019); and their “appeal score” dropped from 24 to 16 during the same period.

Also mired in the same scandal are Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, but their ratings didn’t tank the way USC’s did.  Hope this is a wakeup call for colleges and universities. Level the playing field and admit students based on their merit, not their parents’ deep pockets.


Measles and Mumps in College Dorms

College dorms, classrooms, and dining halls can be cesspools of germs and viruses. Students share drinks and hygiene isn’t always a priority – hence, remember dorm bathrooms the morning after Saturday night parties? Combine college lifestyles with students who have skipped their “shots” and you have mumps outbreaks like the kind that Temple University saw last month.

Although mumps and measles were completely eradicated, college campuses are seeing an uptick in sporadic outbreaks. Rather than recite a long list of facts and statistics to encourage everyone to get their “shots,” I thought that I’d share photos of people with mumps and measles. Seriously, why would anyone think that a shot is worse than this!


Watch Out Harvard, Amazon University May Revolutionize Higher Education

There’s a huge gap between what skills colleges teach and what skills employers expect. Colleges were originally designed to provide a liberal art and basic science research education. But today, employers need highly-skilled technical workers, not necessarily college-educated workers. Amazon has taken the bold step to spend $700 million over the next six years to retrain 100,000 employees. With a competitive labor market and more automation, Amazon decided to retrain a third of their employees to strengthen their workforce. Google is doing the same, and they have enrolled 75,000 students in their online IT support certificate program.

Both Amazon and Google are also working with colleges so they can offer credit-bearing courses. Amazon Technical Academy helps technical employees get the skills needed to transition to software engineering careers. Amazon also recently created Machine Learning University, which is designed for tech and coding employees to learn skills in machine learning. They’re opening 60 campus across the country for their Career Choice program, and they’ve partnered with over 800 post-secondary providers in 35 countries to offer cloud computing credentials.

Seems like colleges will either need to step up their programs to teach the skills that employers are seeking, or they’ll become the intellectual liberal arts institutions that they used to be.  Maybe we will start seeing vocational colleges again. Not every high school grad should go to university. I certainly hope so -- too many students are deep in debt for a 4-year degree that they got because they were pressured to “go to college.”