Archive | February, 2018

Making the decision

28 Feb

Six of my family–including my husband, daughter, and I–have all graduated from UC Berkeley. The Greek Theatre is an impressive commencement site.

March is when a lot of exciting news comes: acceptances from the more exclusive schools, as well as financial aid offers. Then comes the time when you need to sit down with your parents and create a chart of pros and cons.

These are some factors to consider, as they may be important to you:

  • Location (distance from home, geographical location, city/suburban/rural, the “feel” of the community)
  • Transportation (How will you get there and back home? Related expenses?)
  • Size of the college
  • Reputation of college
  • Strength of the major program (Print out the online catalog pages that describe the major and its courses, so that you can visually compare the offerings.)
  • Study abroad program
  • Academic challenge (Allow yourself to be stretched!)
  • Campus life (Is it vibrant . . . or is it a commuter campus?)
  • Housing options
  • Financial aid offer

If you haven’t visited a campus for a school you’re still considering, spring break is the perfect time! However, even if you can’t, don’t dismiss that school as an option.

My oldest daughter was accepted at all five colleges to which she applied; she decided to go to the one she had NOT visited, because the school offered her a leadership scholarship, and she loved the idea that Biola University already viewed her as a leader. When we drove onto the campus in La Mirada, Orange County, California, for her freshman year, she FREAKED OUT, saying, “I hate this! I hate this!” Nevertheless, a week later she called home: “I love this! I love this!” She got both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees there — and did love every minute . . . including the five-minute drive to Disneyland. The lesson here is that even if you visit a campus and don’t initially like it, there may be other benefits that outweigh first impressions.

Yes, it’s a big decision . . . but know this: Every college has something wonderful to offer.

Remember to check your portal on your college websites DAILY . . . and stay on top of those deadlines.

Available for graduation gift pre-orders now:

Prep for placement tests

23 Feb

As you are narrowing your college selection choices, make sure you are staying on top of English and math placement requirements.

Most colleges need to know if their entering freshmen are going to be able to handle the rigors of college-level coursework. If you have not been contacted by your colleges about your English/math placement status, do a search under “placement testing” on the various college websites. On that web page you will find the college’s minimum requirements for placement into the various levels of mathematics and English, as well as other courses.

Typically, students need to (1) get high scores on the SAT or ACT, (2) pass a transferrable English composition exam from a college, or (2) pass an Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exam in English/Critical Reading/Writing and mathematics. If you didn’t meet the muster, you’ll need to do a placement exam.

In California those tests at public colleges are the following:

  • Accuplacer for most community colleges
  • English Placement Test (EPT) and Entry-Level Mathematics (ELM) for California State University campuses
  • Analytical Writing Placement Examination (AWPE) for the University of California campuses

Since these are typically given in April and May, you need to check into this right now, so that you are able to enroll in classes this summer.

One more thing for your college checklist!


Super-excited to share with you this fun gift book for both high school and college grads.

Releasing in April, it’s a problem solver for gift-buying for the grads on your list.

Each of the 50 Life Lessons was written by a recent college grad–something your college grad(s) truly WILL read and take to heart.

Pre-order here:

Enjoy your last months

14 Feb

I’m sure that if you’re a senior you’re thinking, I can’t wait until this is all over!

With all the pressures of testing, college applications, senior projects, scholarship paperwork and interviews — it’s just challenging to be a senior!

I totally empathize! I well remember thinking I could not WAIT until I was done with chemistry and essays and long bus rides to and from school. And then it was all over.

The rest of your senior days will fly by — and then you’ll be sobbing on graduation day, because those days are gone and you will realize that you won’t be seeing your friends much anymore.

I often see students experience a form of grieving, actually, that they didn’t let their thought process slow down some in the last months, especially — those months when you are sharing the traditional senior activities. Prom. Senior show or play. Senior banquet. Senior project presentation. Baccalaureate. Senior trip. And then . . .  commencement and grad parties.

Open your eyes. Soak in the sights and sounds of the various characters in your class. Someday, believe it or not, you’ll look back on these days with fondness and even wistfulness.

I’m not in the least encouraging you to give in to senioritis tendencies. Nope, not at all. If you do, you’ll regret not doing your best . . . and could lose scholarships and even worse, entrance into your chosen school.

Yes, the college years are wonderful! However, the demands are even greater intellectually and personally. So, for now . . . enjoy the moments!



One GREAT resource and gift idea for graduation is this cute book. It’s available for pre-sale now and a perfect gift for both high school and college grads. 

Here’s a link: