The Power of Paper

As schools adopt laptop/tablet programs it is important to remember the power of paper. While computers provide amazing opportunities for students to discover and explore beyond the brick and mortar walls of the classroom, a simple piece of paper is still a powerful educational tool. Studies prove there is a hand to mind connection made when students take handwritten notes. Writing information down, in their own words, helps students understand and remember concepts. Paper also allows students to illustrate ideas and draw diagrams which further aide understanding. Students should use technology to help them deepen the learning process, not to do the work for them. For example, when reading Romeo and Juliet, googling a map of 16th century Verona and clothing styles of the time period can help the reader visualize and give context to the text. However, it is important for student’s to absorb what they are reading and form their own opinions before being influenced by online summaries. … [Read more...]

Presidential Ponderings

The rhythm of the school year calendar is one of the elements of college admissions counseling that I most enjoy. Each season brings a different set of priorities to my office and the start of each new school year brings the anticipation of new possibilities. During the WACAC Board retreat this summer, we had the opportunity to reflect on how we might shape new possibilities for our association as part of a strategic planning process that will direct our efforts for the next four to five years. We are a volunteer run, not-for-profit organization and it is important that we carefully use our resources, especially the time donated by our many volunteers, to maximize our service to our members.   Over three days, lively and thoughtful discussions ensued from WACAC’s talented board members, who come from high schools, public and private, colleges and universities, public and private, independent consulting firms and community colleges and from California and Nevada. From these varied … [Read more...]

Back to School

“Back to school, to prove to Dad that I'm not a fool. I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don't get in a fight!” Although a quote from Billy Madison may not seem like it fits within the context of the WACAC blog, it’s been running through my head all day.  Today marks my first actual school day as a College Counselor.  I’ve had many realizations today since I am now surrounded by 14 – 18 year olds all day every day. Realization #1: I need to change where I shop for clothes.  Maybe I’m getting old, but the way some students dress these days is astounding!  Luckily, at our school, we have a strict dress code and consequences for not following the rules.  The issue in my case is not following a dress code, but making sure I don’t wear similar clothing to students.  I’ve often been confused for a college student (or someone even younger) even though I graduated from college over 5 years ago.  During my visits to high schools as an admission counselor, I was either … [Read more...]

My 50th First Day of School

Since Mrs. Loomis’ kindergarten class at Parkway Elementary School in Fall 1963, through and including last Monday, August 26, 2013 at Santa Monica College, I have celebrated, and I do mean celebrated, 50 straight “First Days of School”.  I have either worked in or attended educational institutions for half of a century. The Sunday before “The First Day of School”, I was shopping at Trader Joe’s right when they opened at 8am.  Employees were still stocking items on the shelves for the day.  In the first aisle, the conversation between two employees went something like this: “You still in the nursing program?” “Yeah, I am taking Microbiology this Fall.” “Microbiology?  That sounds hard.” “Yeah, but it is what I want to do.” In the next aisle, the conversation went something like this, two different employees: “School starting for you tomorrow?” “Yeah, parking is gonna be hell.  Taking classes in summer was much easier.” “You almost done?” “Close. But I will … [Read more...]