Here we go again. . .

…launched once more into another school year and a new college admissions cycle.

For me, each new academic year and new college admissions cycle feels like being a solo contender at the top of a luge run.

Why the luge?

In this event, it’s you and your sled (on a luge, it’s you in the open: you don’t have even the minimal protection that a bobsled provides) hurtling down the track. Lots of twists and turns lie ahead, and no matter how many times you’ve been down the course before, each run brings a new set of variables and unpredictable circumstances that can change the outcome. The big question: when you reach the finish line, will you still be in one piece, and on top of the sled, or will the sled be on top of you?

In the months ahead, I plan to look at some of the variables and circumstances that will affect this year’s luge run. On the radar currently:

Money:   As I mentioned in my June 21 post, the cost of college now has more traction across a variety of media than it has in the past. In the past few weeks, I have followed several reports comparing salaries of college graduates – by major, and by institution. I will take a look at the ongoing discussion of “is college worth it?”

Metrics:   I spent some time this summer reading about measurement and statistics (really, it was more fun than it sounds), and I looked at a variety of college rankings, reviews, and ratings. I’m fascinated by the many ways in which we attempt to quantify and rank aspects of higher education, and by the ways in which we attempt to offer general and supposedly objective information about what is essentially an individual and subjective experience.

Technology:   Also on the reading list this summer was “Alone Together,” by Dr. Sherry Turkle. This is the third book in a research trilogy examining the ways in which technology influences our conceptions of self, community, and privacy. “Alone Together” provides lots of food for thought about the ways in which technology and our “networked” culture is changing the ways in which high school students approach the college admissions process.

Grades and Grit:   And other factors that may predict individual success…or not.

These are a few of the topics that I will write about during the 2013-2014 academic year. My plan is to offer one post per month, covering fewer topics this year, but in more depth. As always, your suggestions for other topics are appreciated and welcomed.

Onward to the luge run, and here’s hoping that we’re all still on top of our sleds when we cross the finish line in June, 2014.

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