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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

03/15/2017

MCC Offers Spring Open House


Manchester Community College (MCC) is offering prospective students an opportunity to attend an "Open House" from 4 pm to 6:30 pm on Tuesday, April 4.  Workshops will be held in Great Path Academy (part of MCC) on a variety of topics - including the admissions process, paying for college, and credit transfer.  

For more information, click here.  


Registration for AP Exams Begins Continues Until March 24

Students interested in taking AP exams must register for them in the Guidance Office.  Registration began on Monday, March 6th and concludes on Friday, March 24th. Scheduled during the first two weeks of May, these three-hour exams are offered in a variety of subject areas.  The registration fee is $20 (cash or checks made payable to EO Smith) per exam, with the balance of $73 paid (total cost for each exam is $93) on the day of each exam.  For more information go to AP Central.

National College Fair Dates

The National College Fair, a program offered by the National Association for College Admissions Counselors, is "on tour" and will be in Hartford on April 6/7, Springfield on April 3, and Providence on May 8 .  Several colleges from around the country will be represented at booths.  In addition, workshops will be offered on such topics as the admissions process and financial aid.  Students may register by clicking here.

Register for Free SAT Prep Through Khan Academy


The College Board has partnered with Khan Academy to provide free SAT support in preparation to take the SAT.  Click here to set up your own personalized program.

CT Dollars and Sense


A new website was launched on Feb. 16 called CT Dollars and Sense – a web portal for Connecticut students and parents to find out how to plan, save and pay for college.   Click here or on the aforementioned title for more information.
The site provides information from five State agencies supporting students and their families: the Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET), the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority (CHESLA), the Office of Higher Education, the Department of Banking, and the Department of Consumer Protection. There is also a Financial Literacy platform on the site that covers Paying for School, Managing Money, and Finding a Career.
Try it.

UConn Pre-College Summer: 

A Campus Experience for Talented Teens


Get a glimpse of college life this summer and immerse yourself in a research or creative project  with peers with similar interests at 2017 UCONN Pre-College Summer. July 9 – August 5 (four one-week sessions).  If you are a current 10th or 11th grade student, continue reading.

Experience college life in a supportive setting.  Attend presentations about the Honors Program, Undergraduate Admissions, First Year Experience, and career planning and meet representatives from the many cultural centers and communities on campus.   Join an evening activity and have fun getting to know the students and residential staff.

For more information click here or call 860.486.0149.

ECE Offers Scholarship Opportunity

The Office of Early College Programs (OECP) has announced that applications for new student scholarships are now being accepted. These scholarships will be awarded to exemplary UConn ECE students in three separate areas of excellence, with a total of five awards given each year. Scholarships will be for: 
  • Excellence in the Arts, Humanities or Social Sciences (2 awards) 
  • Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (2 awards) 
  • Civic and Community Engagement (1 award) 
Students selected for these awards will receive a certificate of accomplishment along with a $500 monetary award to use towards post-secondary education expenses. 
Applications will be accepted until March 30, 2017. Applicants will be notified of the outcome in early May. Recipients of these scholarships will be presented their check and award certificate at their high school between May 15th- June 15th. 
Please take a moment to view the new webpage with all of the details by clicking here. Contact the OECP for more information.

Is Average Good Enough Now?


Let's say that someone asks you to compare yourself to the average person.  You know - the Average Joe, Plain Jane type.  If you're like most people, you'll probably rate yourself above average.  So, being like most people, this then actually makes you quite normal.  But think about it - if people on average consider themselves to be above average, then what's this say about average?  Is it now normal to be above average?  Or are we deluding ourselves by thinking this?

What is "average", anyway?  Well, in statistical speak, you probably recall from a math class in your past that average is a measure of central tendency that may be expressed in several ways - like mean, median, and mode.  It's basic arithmetic - or at least it should be.  The one most commonly referred to is the arithmetic mean that's calculated by adding the sum total of a group of whatever and dividing it by that number of whatever.  Of course, the flaw with this kind of average is that it may be skewed by what's called outliers.  For example, let's say Average Joe makes $25000, Plain Jane earns $22000, and Tom, Dick, and Harry each makes $31000.  Meanwhile, their boss, Jay Gatsby, is pocketing a tidy sum of $1,200,000.  You do the math.  The average (mean) individual salary earned in this group is $233,333.33. But what's this tell you.  Not much, except maybe that Jay looks like your average CEO and Jane's wages may be deflated because she stayed home to raise her children during those first few years.  

Besides, it's typically not the average we even consider when we're referring to what's normal.  Rarely is one THE average, anyway (although we often assume we know).  Think about it - who has 2.06 kids (the average number of children per family in the US)?  Solving for the average "x" poses a challenge in several ways.  What's the average family?  It's NOT a nuclear family comprised of a married couple with two (and .06) children living in suburban sprawl.  Not even close.  As for education, it's hardly the case that the typical college student resides on a bucolic campus, moves methodically through a course of studies and graduates in four years.  More accurately, the "non-traditional student" has become the new normal as only 41% of college students actually earn degrees in the "average" time frame of four years.  This number rises to 59% when extending to six years. 

Nevertheless, averages are used all the time.   We humans can't help but make social comparisons.  Nothing seems to matter unless it's in the context of a norm.  We do this with our kids just soon after they exit the delivery room and first weigh in and are measured for length ("Percentile, please?").  It escalates when they enter grade school and boils over with that first purchase of the US News & World Report edition of "Best Colleges". We crave rankings of every kind even when we know they aren't necessarily accurate (but they're "numbers"!)...or always good for us, either.  Still, norms and rankings lend a perspective by providing a location for us on that distribution spread known as the bell curve.  And, of course, we need to be at least somewhere in the middle of that curve - preferably near the high end.

But what if averages don't even matter anymore?  What if Average Is Over (click on it to read), a piece written by Tom Friedman appearing in the NY Times, and that Tyler Cowen actually slapped on the cover for the title of his book?  In each case, the aforementioned writers argue that average has indeed expired.  For Friedman, he claims that there is no longer a place for vanilla-flavored talent in this expanded global economy while Cowen pours vinegar all over the sacrosanct middle-class.  It sure seems like being "normal" these days puts one, oddly enough, in the depths of that bell curve rather than near its peak. Being middle-of-the-road, it seems, no longer earns you membership in the middle-class.  Even worse, if you buy this story by Cowen, the middle-class is slowly becoming a recollection of the glory days gone by.

So, even if we can't arrive at what being average means today, it's becoming more apparent that we need to be better than average if we want to achieve success and make a living that will deliver a meaningful life and engaging employment - the kind once enjoyed by the now dissolving middle-class.  It now seems like we have in one corner Average Joe, Plain Jane, and Tom, Dick and Harry and in the other corner we have people like Jay Gatsby.  And then there is the Great Divide that once housed the middle-of-the-road populace that is now the U-shaped Valley of the Ashes.  We are, according to Friedman and Cowen, becoming a land of outliers.

What's this mean?  It means that if we rate ourselves above average, we better be able to back it up.  We better be able to stand apart and distinguish ourselves in ways that are recognizable and valued and can be validated.  And we need to continue to do this throughout our lives.  Even if we can't define normal/average, we probably can tell what it looks like.  Average these days simply means eh-verage.  If all one can say about you or me is "eh", then we may need to think about for whom the bell curve tolls.

For more information about what all of this may mean in the future, you may want to click on any or all of the articles listed below.







  

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