As I have said previously, COVID has had a profound affect on our children. Nowhere does this become more evident than when working with students on the Common Application essay. This essay is all about self-reflection and demonstrating something about a student's character, and the ability to engage in meaningful activity. I recently held a series of college essay workshops for my students. Every student was required to attend one two-hour workshop. I sent out four essays before each workshop for the students to read. We had great discussions, students shared their opinions on the essays, they wrote about vulnerability, listed three things they would like to share in a job interview and for the most part, left the workshops with no idea of what they wanted to share with college admissions.
Many students seem to lack the ability to self-reflect. They want to talk about the things they did or things that happened to them. "The time I..." started many an essay idea. The time I fell off my bike (real suggestion) the time my brother went off to college, the time I injured (insert any body part imaginable) playing (insert every sport played). When I ask them what is the characteristic they wish to convey, they stare at me. These are bright students, but they haven't been encouraged to think about themselves, and I think the dining room table is where this should start. Most of my students do not eat with their parents on a regular basis. They are not getting the adult input they need to turn off their phones and turn on their thinking. I know it's difficult with practices, work, and a thousand other demands on everyone's time, but students today are missing something critical to their development, parental conversation. As Socrates said,"An unexamined life is not worth living." Parents are the best ones to help students think deeply about who they are and who they hope to become.
Every summer I face the same ethical dilemma, should I recommend that my students take college courses, do community service, dive into original research, get a job, launch a business, or should I suggest what I think so many of them desperately need to do: take the summer off. Swim, relax, read, hang out with friends, watch the sunset, and most of all, don't worry. The problem being, of course, that taking the summer off, will close a number of college doors, particularly to the UCs. We read so much about the crisis in teen mental health these days. Here is an obvious solution: have colleges only look at extracurricular activities done during the school year. Give these children some time off. I am appalled by what is expected of 16 and 17 year-olds. Yet I find myself, year after year, urging my students to do more because each year the bar is raised. Colleges defend this insatiable demand by claiming it's the students' desire to explore the world that drives them. But let's be honest here. The vast majority of students need a break and would take one if it didn't undermine their efforts to get into a selective college. When Stanford added the question, "What would you do with an extra hour a day?" the expectation was that the answers would reflect an indefatigable thirst for knowledge. The answer most often given was: sleep.
COLLEGES - I AM CHALLENGING YOU TO DO BETTER. OUR CHILDREN DESERVE IT.
Great advice on paying for college from a fantastic presentation to our families by Liane Crane of The College Dollar.
College thoughts pre senior that may help with the cost of college:
PSAT, Prepare a budget, 529 savings, Major money moves before 2nd semester junior year, AP classes, Don’t believe everything you hear.
The ultimate goal of college is to graduate with a degree that will drastically jumpstart a career. You should NOT borrow more for a college education than the anticipated first year salary.
Understand Financial Aid and your Student Aid Index (EFC) to know if you qualify for need-based aid. Cost of Attendance – EFC = Need. If no need, merit aid will help with the cost. Private scholarships only account for about 3% of tuition.
Merit scholarships are based on:
Know the value of your student to a college:
Strategies to keep college costs in-check:
How I help:
Liane Crane | 585-376-2585 | email@example.com
UC Regents’ vote creates UC Berkeley’s first college in 50 years
By Rachel Leven| May 18, 2023
The UC Board of Regents today voted to establish UC Berkeley’s College of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS), the campus’s first new college in more than 50 years.
The college will develop, implement and share high-quality, ethics-oriented and accessible curricula, educating a diverse student body in data science, computing and statistics. It will also create new fields, applications and solutions to societal problems through groundbreaking, multidisciplinary research that capitalizes on Berkeley’s excellence across campus.
“We are thrilled to announce a new college at Berkeley that connects our excellent research and education in computing, data science and statistics with the many data-intensive disciplines across our campus,” said Carol T. Christ, Berkeley’s chancellor. “Infusing the power of data science across multiple disciplines, from basic and applied sciences to the arts and humanities, will help us to fully realize its potential to benefit society, help address our world’s most intractable problems, and achieve our most visionary goals. At Berkeley, we have the opportunity and responsibility to educate data science students from diverse backgrounds to become the ethical leaders we need in private industry, the public service sector, and education.”
The vote culminates a three-year process by Berkeley and the UC system to transform the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society into a college. Now, the college can more effectively form new programs and partnerships, support instruction and research and foster identity and community among faculty, students and alumni.
It’s been since the late 1960s that Berkeley added a college to the campus. The journalism school was added in 1968. The public policy school was established in 1969. The College of Computing, Data Science, and Society approval comes as artificial intelligence and other technologies are changing how we teach, learn, connect and understand our world. The Regents’ vote affirms Berkeley’s track record and value as a leader in using scientific and human-centered disciplines to understand and act in this moment of change.
“Artificial intelligence, computing and data science are lenses through which we now experience the world,” said CDSS Associate Provost and Dean Jennifer Chayes. “This college provides Berkeley with opportunities to innovate and incubate new fields of inquiry at the intersection of computing and data science with other data-intensive fields. These interdisciplinary areas are often the most active areas of research, leading to some of the most exciting breakthroughs.”
The college includes the Data Science Undergraduate Studies program, the Department of Statistics, the Berkeley Institute for Data Science, the Center for Computational Biology and the Bakar Institute of Digital Materials for the Planet.
It shares the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences with the College of Engineering, the Social Science Data Lab (D-Lab) with the Social Sciences division and the Computational Precision Health program with UC San Francisco (UCSF).
Computing, Data Science, and Society will celebrate becoming a college at the data science undergraduate commencement ceremony May 18 at 7 pm PDT at the Hearst Greek Theatre in Berkeley. Google Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan will be the keynote speaker and the event will be livestreamed.
Built on a foundation of excellenceAs a division, Computing, Data Science, and Society has already been working with campus partners to meet skyrocketing demand from Berkeley students for computing and data science training and from employers in need of employees with these skills. The data science and computer science majors are among the five most popular majors at Berkeley. Many students pursuing other majors also take courses in data science and computer science.
As a top university sending students to nearby Silicon Valley as the next generation of technology leaders, Berkeley has made sure its data and computer science curriculum is interdisciplinary, high quality and society-centered. Its students take courses on how to consider the human context and ethics of their work. Berkeley programs in computer science, data science and statistics are top-ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
Computing, Data Science, and Society has prioritized inclusivity and accessibility for all students. For example, it has shared its data science curriculum with California community colleges to make this lucrative field more accessible to students from non-traditional backgrounds. It’s also partnered with institutions like Tuskegee University to develop programs that build strong data and social science foundations and connections. And it’s built initiatives to support and accelerate the academic growth of students from all backgrounds.
Jennifer Chayes, right, associate provost and dean of UC Berkeley’s new College of Computing, Data Science, and Society, smiles Wednesday during a UC Board of Regents discussion of the matter. (UCLA photo by Reed Hutchinson)
This pattern of excellence extends across Berkeley, making the college well-situated to partner with pioneers in data-intensive disciplines to launch groundbreaking interdisciplinary initiatives and fields. Computing, Data Science, and Society has created an institute to use machine learning to develop cost-efficient, easily deployable, ultra-porous materials to help combat climate change. It’s established the field of computational precision health to improve the quality and equity of health care and has developed a research center to help tackle environmental problems.
Looking forwardWith the Regents’ vote today, the college will now develop its administrative and financial structures to operate similarly to other colleges on campus. Colleges can hire their own faculty, for example, and award degrees to students.
As part of this transformation, the undergraduate data science major and computer science major that are currently within the College of Letters & Science will eventually move to the College of Computing, Data Science, and Society once academic and student support systems are created. The new college will also develop new graduate programs with other Berkeley departments, schools and entities.
The entities that have been part of the division are currently distributed in buildings across campus but will ultimately unite in the 367,270-foot Gateway building, which is under construction on Hearst Avenue at Arch Street. The Gateway is scheduled to open during the 2025-2026 academic year.
Board of Regents members expressed enthusiasm for Computing, Data Science, and Society at the Academic and Student Affairs Committee meeting on May 17. Regent Lark Park, the committee’s chair, noted the importance of the college to California, society and “our future.”
“It really is so impressive to see how this has grown organically – the growth, the interest, the popularity,” said Park. “You have acted to make your destiny and that will change the destiny of others.”
Recently I was told that students who enter college undeclared drop out at higher rates. Concerned, I began searching the literature and found that earlier studies had indicated that retention and graduation rates were higher among students who enter college with a major. However, recent studies have contradicted these findings and actually reveal that undeclared majors graduate at higher levels at the six year mark. Until COVID, I never wanted my students to apply undeclared, and almost all my students had some idea of what they wanted to study. Since COVID, however, I have seen a marked difference in my students, and it seems to be getting more pronounced each year. Many of them have no idea what interests them, and have done nothing to explore interests outside the classroom. I have several students who have informed me that they wish to major in engineering, but they haven't taken any engineering classes, joined the school Robotics Club, or tinkered on anything on their own. They like math, get good grades, so they think they should be engineers. But they are waiting for opportunities to be presented to them by a beneficent world. They are not actively engaged in shaping their own futures. This is what I am seeing over and over again. These are nice kids, they study hard and get good grades, but there's no drive, no passion in so many of them. The other day I asked a top student what he was looking for in a college and he replied, "Good people."
I cant make a college list from that.
And he can't make a future if he doesn't put himself out in the world and figure out what he wants to learn. When I ask students what they want in a college, nine out of ten don't mention academics. Interestingly enough, many of my students have expressed a desire to make a lot of money. I know the psychologists will be studying the effects of COVID for generations to come, and we all saw the recent reports on the drastic learning deficits caused by online classes. I think the passivity I'm seeing is every bit as frightening. Many students no longer feel a sense of agency or power over their lives, a year of living in their bedrooms took that away.
So this year I have more undecided majors (now called Exploratory, which you have to admit sounds much better) than ever before. These students have no idea what they want to study, what careers they want to pursue, or what dreams they should embrace. But they do know that they want to be well-paid for it.
Masland Educational Consulting