January 27, 2018


We begin this week's News and Views with a small clarification for parents of juniors: Our initial meetings with your daughters are intended to be with them only. This approach enables us to form clear first impressions that we will build upon as we develop strategies for presenting your daughters in the most constructive possible light to colleges in the fall. These initial meetings also give students a chance to candidly discuss their hopes, dreams, and concerns with us. As soon as we have had these initial meetings with students, however, we are more than happy to begin meeting with you. Parents of boarders who visit campus infrequently are welcome to speak with us by phone, but also to arrange video conferences with us via FaceTime or Skype. We thank you in advance for understanding our counseling process.

Juniors: April ACT at Hartnell College

Please remember that the next ACT for which school will provide transportation is the April 14 administration of the test at Hartnell College in Salinas. Testing centers fill up fast, so please do not delay your registration, which you can complete here.

Seniors: Courtesy Notifications to Colleges You Decline

If, because of a favorable ED or EA outcome, or if, for any other reason, you are no longer interested in colleges' offers of admission, we ask that you withdraw your applications by phone or email as soon as possible and sincerely thank those schools for considering you. In line with the maxim "Good manners are free, but bad ones are very expensive," polite gestures such as these--small as they may seem--will ensure that you are remembered warmly and will help maintain the high quality of Santa Catalina's relationships with all of the colleges our students apply to.

10 Best College Majors for a Lucrative Career

Hopefully, it goes without saying that the value of a college education transcends whatever it may provide in the way of preparation for a specific career. But, the intangible rewards of your college experience notwithstanding, your inner pragmatist may well be trying to estimate the earning potential that specific majors can confer on you. For some assistance in fine-tuning these calculations, see Kiplinger's sifting of data on the 126 most popular college majors. Their slideshow identifies the 10 majors that lead to the best compensation right out of school and offer the best prospects of long-term growth. If you are like us, you will find it heartening that Kiplinger factors in "the percentage of workers with given degrees who feel their jobs are having a positive impact on the world, because having a sense of purpose can be just as important as having a good payday."

Do Campus Visits Have Value?

A certain school of thought has it that visiting colleges in the application process is of limited value. Some will argue that, besides being significant investments of money and time, these visits are apt to be highly stage-managed by admissions officers and are invariably so brief that they can offer only an idealized--and therefore misleading--snapshot of what being a student at a given college is actually like. Another line of reasoning has it that, even if arranging campus visits is worthwhile, parents need to let students take the lead and refrain from accompanying them, lest students miss an important, early reminder that college will bring a new level of autonomy for which they need to start preparing themselves. For an empathetic and insightful response to these concerns, see this recent column from Inside Higher Ed, which reminds us that college visits can reveal both green lights and red flags we might otherwise miss, while also fostering meaningful and necessary conversations between parents and their soon-to-be-grown children.

Japan Society Junior Fellows Leadership Program

The Japan Society Junior Fellows Leadership Program brings 10 U.S. high school students to Japan to meet with industry leaders, experience daily life with a host family in the Tohoku (northeast) region, and travel to historical sites. This generously-funded, three-week program connects Junior Fellows with present leaders and establishes a network of alumni with a global worldview, forming close bonds between the U.S. and Japan. Junior Fellows will be selected based on demonstrated leadership skills and potential, as well as the qualities necessary to have a successful and engaging experience with other program participants, including (but not limited to): ability to adapt to a foreign culture, emotional and interpersonal maturity, strong academic background, and a demonstrated interest in Japan. Knowledge of the Japanese language is helpful, but not required.

Is Home Equity a Smart Way to Pay for College?

Though some colleges seem to be working hard to rein in the cost of attendance, financing a child's college education seems likely to remain a significant challenge for most families, and meeting it will often require some creativity. Particularly if you are a property owner in California, you may be considering home equity as a possible source of funding. However, you will want to think very carefully about the risks inherent in this strategy before you commit to tapping into an asset that may be central to your long-term financial plan. For help weighing the various considerations you should keep in mind before taking a home equity loan to send your child to college, see this recent article in the New York Times, which explains why it may be the right decision for some families while being quite counterproductive for others.


Santa Catalina School

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