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Commencement in a challenging year

May 26th, 2020

To the class of 2020: wow, what a year, one that will go down in history books! This year, life threw an unexpected curve-ball that would change long-awaited milestones and events. And now graduation, a rite of passage that signifies a new beginning, will be celebrated in an altogether different way for most of you.

Image via CNN

Even so, your heart should be filled with pride because all of your studying, researching, test-taking, commitments to extracurriculars and volunteer service, and hard work have paid off. The class of 2020 is resilient and this pandemic can’t take away your strength and goals for the future. Hats off to the class of 2020 – we are proud of you!

Today, we celebrate your success and remind you that this moment in life does not define you but enriches you. Congratulations, and please enjoy the meaningful messages Forbes has compiled from some of the world’s most respected individuals for the class of 2020.

Article referenced below from Forbes, published May 16, 2020, written by Susan Adams

The Best Commencement Speeches Of 2020

When you can’t have all the pomp because of the circumstances, what does a graduation look like? That’s the question countless high schools and colleges across America had to answer this year amid a global pandemic. So teachers, parents, students and administrators came up with an array of creative and meaningful celebrations for the Class of 2020.

In Walhalla, South Carolina, the lampposts on Main Street were adorned with banners featuring the portraits of 257 graduating seniors. For the students at North Salem High School in New York, graduation will be held at a drive-in movie theater next month. And what better way to celebrate how driven the senior class at Speedway High School has been than by crossing the finish line at the nearby Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indianapolis 500.

Read more at Forbes>>

How will colleges reopen?

May 12th, 2020

And will they reopen this fall? These are the two most frequent questions crossing my desk in recent weeks. If only I had a crystal ball …

In these uncertain times, higher education leaders are trying to determine what fall semester will look like. Many universities have already pushed back the first enrollment deposit date from May 1 to June 1, affording students and parents more time to consider their options.

President Julio Frenk, a world-renowned public health expert, is leading the university and its health systems through the most severe pandemic since influenza. Photo credit: File photo via The Miami Hurricane student newspaper

Yet, while students are being asked to make a commitment, colleges find it nearly impossible to commit to clear plans with certainty. We’d all like to be optimistic and we have no doubt that every campus would like to reopen for business as usual. However, the pandemic and related safety concerns will dictate choices.

Many colleges have set a date to announce their plans for fall semester and The Chronicle of Higher Education is tracking updates from individual schools on this topic.

While most universities have yet to release their plans, University of Miami is providing admirable transparency about considerations for reopening this fall. Today, to provide insight, we share an article from The Miami Hurricane student newspaper, where President Julio Frenk, a world renowned health expert and physician, uses his background to create a four-part plan for what students might expect this fall.

Information referenced below from The Miami Hurricane student newspaper on May 11, 2020 written by Anna Timmons

President Frenk outlines his plan for a return this fall

University of Miami President Julio Frenk is confident that in-person instruction will resume come August. However, during a Zoom roundtable discussion with student media leaders on April 30, Frenk said the campus environment students return to will be very different.

The university’s plan for a return in the fall will include mass-testing of students and employees for COVID-19, contact tracing and a reimagination of on-campus lifestyle and instruction, Frenk said.

Throughout the course of this pandemic, Frenk has been leading UM decisions not just as the president of the university, but also as a world-renowned global health expert. During his long career in public health, Frenk has worked as a physician, Mexico’s secretary of health, an executive director at the World Health Organization, a senior fellow of public health at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and most recently served as the dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Read more at The University of Miami Hurricane student newspaper>>

Engage! Become a more interesting individual (and a stronger college applicant) from the comfort of your own home

April 28th, 2020
Image by Getty Images via US News

Being stuck at home doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities for students to grow; you just have to think outside the box. While online instruction continues and we all wait for things to return to normal, the article below from Link for Counselors provides ideas that may help you develop new skills. Not only will trying new things add an interesting dimension to your life right now, it will also help your personal development and could equip you with enriching experiences to add to your college applications. So, if you have a little time on your hands, please read on!

Article referenced below published by Link for Counselors on April 15, 2020, written by Scott Garbini and Eric Endlich

Covid-Era College Prep

Normally, there are many ways for high school students to bolster their resumes and prepare for college application season: playing team sports, being active in school clubs, working in after-school jobs or summer internships, attending college fairs and touring campuses, to name a few. During the current pandemic, however, most of these traditional opportunities have vanished. What’s a teen to do?

Right now, focusing on the priorities of staying healthy, keeping up with coursework and earning solid grades already constitutes a full plate for many students, especially if they have additional responsibilities at home. But for those who wish to do more, there are various college prep possibilities even while sheltering in place. Engaging in productive activities may also enhance teens’ well-being. Here are some suggestions to get started:

Read more at Link for Counselors>>

Flexibility and creativity: the college admission process in unusual times

April 14th, 2020

The need for social distancing has thrown a wrench in so many plans for high school students, from prom to class trips and graduation. It’s both reasonable and healthy to mourn the loss of these milestones, as the spring and summer events anticipated have completely changed and a wide range of emotions come along with that.

Image by Getty Images via US News

Don’t let this take away the entirety of your high school experience, though. You’ve each been on a journey of learning about yourselves, which has helped shape your future plans. Remember that all high school students are going through this together and there will be an end, perhaps an even brighter future, ahead for all.

The article from Forbes linked below shines light on ways to be flexible and creative despite today’s uncertainty. Brennan Barnard offers ideas for seniors as they make their final decisions and for younger students as they move through the college application process.

Article referenced below originally published by Forbes on April 1, 2020, written by Brennan Barnard

Virtually Possible: Locking Down The College Search In A Global Pandemic

“This is virtually impossible!” my daughter blurts out from the next room, adding, “who thought geometry was important anyway?” “Actually,” I respond with my under-appreciated dad irony, ”it is virtually possible.” Deciding to spare her the lecture on how Euclid and Descartes thought geometry was pretty important, instead, I urge her to set up a virtual meeting with her teacher to work through her confusion with the theorem. This is the new normal for students throughout the country as they settle into pandemic-enforced distance learning. Young people are adapting to online classrooms and virtual meetings while also confronting the disappointment of missed opportunities at school and out in their world.

We are living in uncertain times, and as a high school educator, I am watching students (from my appropriate social distance) start to come to terms with the feelings of loss that the novel coronavirus has introduced into their lives. As the reality sets in of the short and long term changes this pandemic is bringing, they are experiencing a range of emotions. Time in class, in the halls, competing in sport, on stage, at prom and other hallmarks of spring in high school are quickly disappearing. While we must acknowledge the visceral feelings of loss young people are experiencing and support them, we must also encourage them to look for new opportunities and approaches to the milestones in their schooling and lives. One of these, for many high school juniors, is the search for a college. Despite the inevitable virus-induced challenges, it is virtually possible. Consider these tips for beginning your stay-at-home college search:

Read more at Forbes>>