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News

West Nile fogging commences Sept. 2

West Nile fogging commences Sept. 2


Courtesy of the Santa Clara County Vector Control District
Fogging commences Wednesday within the highlighted area.

The detection of West Nile Virus-infected mosquitos means that Santa Clara County officials will begin mosquito fogging operations...

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Schools

LASD trustees reopen negotiations with Los Altos Teachers Association

The Los Altos School District Board of Trustees last week directed staff to reopen negotiations with the Los Altos Teachers Association, a move intended to shore up the district’s financial picture.

According to the district’s current co...

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Community

LA teenager crowned Miss Golden State, advances to national pageant in Florida

LA teenager crowned Miss Golden State, advances to national pageant in Florida


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Alexandra McCarthy, crowned Miss Golden State Teen in July, earned “Ms. Personality” honors from her peers.

Alexandra McCarthy has a ways to go before reaching her coveted role as a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Bu...

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Sports

After rough year, Eagles aim to soar once more

After rough year, Eagles aim to soar once more


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High senior running back Patrick Vargas snares a pass in practice last week.

Don’t dismiss the Eagles. Coach Trevor Pruitt is adamant that his Los Altos High football team will be better than expected.

&#...

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Comment

Car spotting 2015: A Piece of My Mind

When I was a kid, September was exciting, almost like Christmas, because that was when the Big Three automakers would reveal the new models for the upcoming year.

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Special Sections

Loving on the Edge

Loving on the Edge


Courtesy of Ford
The Ford Edge has been redesigned for 2015. Ford lengthened the wheel base and added cargo space, among other things. The Titanium model sells for approximately $42,000.

Once in a while, a vehicle we test-drive is just right for our...

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Business

Wine bar aims for October opening

Wine bar aims for October opening


Rendering courtesy of Honcho
Honcho, the wine and beer lounge on First Street, expects an October launch. A rendering of the space reveals the interior layout, which includes bar and lounge-style seating.

A downtown libations lounge that anticip...

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People

LOIS CAROLINE WALLES

LOIS CAROLINE WALLES

November, 1928

Lois lost a long and courageous battle with a prolonged illness on July 14th, 2015. She passed away knowing how well she was loved. She was always the life of the party and loved bringing everyone to her home for dinner or an event,...

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Travel

Carmel Valley Ranch unveils upgrades

Carmel Valley Ranch unveils upgrades


Courtesy of Carmel Valley Ranch
Carmel Valley Ranch recently upgraded its Vineyard Oak suites, which feature sweeping views, rocking chairs and private outdoor tubs for soaking under the stars.

Things are heating up at Carmel Valley Ranch, with 30 n...

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Stepping Out

'Dead Man' comes alive at Bus Barn

'Dead Man' comes alive at Bus Barn


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” includes, from left, Marjorie Hazeltine (as Hermia), Kristin Walter (Jean) and Adrienne Walters (Carlotta).

Los Altos Stage Company opens its ...

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Spiritual Life

Inside Mountain View

MV actress/playwright Garvin wins NY festival award for

MV actress/playwright Garvin wins NY festival award for "Corners Grove"


Courtesy of Undiscovered Countries
Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin received a New York arts festival award for a featured role in “Corners Grove,” a play she wrote.

New York recognized that one of Mountain View’s own can “make it there” when the Planet C...

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Beyond Berkeley: Expanding options


Town Crier File Photo
College options expand greatly if students look beyond UCLA and UC Berkeley to smaller UCs, the “public ivies” and private schools.

As application season heats up for the Class of 2015, families face the reality that the best way to get into a top UC is to come from outside of California.

The admissions news heightens anxiety as UC acceptance rates continue to plummet: UCLA this year had a record low 17 percent acceptance rate, and UC Berkeley admitted just 20 percent of its applicants.

These numbers gain even more importance when put in the following context.

• 42 percent of incoming freshmen are first generation, and UCs are focused on increasing this number.

• 10 percent of the UC system is from out of state. For UCLA, the number rockets to 25 percent.

This leaves only 37 percent of the spots open at UCLA and 48 percent at Berkeley for all of the other California students. Layer on top of that the UC objective of offering a spot to every California student in the top 10 percent of his or her high school class – though that spot may be at UC Merced – and suddenly it becomes apparent that even high-achieving students must look at other options for a top-notch education. Every major is impacted, and even getting in creates the challenge of getting out in four years.

So what are the other choices within the UC system?

• Consider UC Riverside. With an admission rate of 58 percent, it is an up-and-coming campus. Students get a more diverse experience, and with the Guaranteed Admission Program, those with a 3.9 weighted grade-point average and a minimum 1600 SAT score can lock in early acceptance (the 2015 deadline has passed). In addition, UC Riverside grants preferential admission to the UC Riverside Medical School for its students – a real advantage in the hypercompetitive medical school world.

• Think about UC Irvine. Rated No. 1 three years in a row as a “young” university (under 50 years old), it has a terrific honors college and is also recognized as an innovative school for training teachers. In 2013, UC Irvine was one of three UCs awarded three stars (in the top 10 percent) for preparing innovative teachers. Sierra Magazine also named it a top 10 “Cool School” for its sustainability efforts.

How about the options beyond the UC system?

• Check out the “public ivies.” In 2001, Howard Greene, former admissions officer at Princeton University, published a guide to public universities at which students can receive a first-class Ivy League education at a fraction of the cost. Many of these schools are within admissions targets for students while providing academic excellence.

• Explore out-of-state public hidden gems. There are good options for students with less-than-stellar grades who are willing to venture outside of California. Schools to consider: the University of Alabama; Evergreen State College in Washington; Miami University in Oxford, Ohio; Montana State University; the University of Montana; the University of Nevada at Reno; the University of New Mexico; and Oregon State University.

• Discover “Colleges That Change Lives” (ctcl.org). While I posit that all colleges change lives, these 44 schools share a number of characteristics, including smaller class sizes, truly holistic admissions with test-optional applications, integrated residential living learning environments and strong alumni support.

• Contemplate private schools. There are a number of reasons to consider a private school, including smaller class size, more personal attention and a strong emphasis on exploration – while still emphasizing graduating in four years. Schools gaining popularity with UC-competitive students in California include Chapman University, Loyola Marymount University, Occidental University, the University of Southern California and the University of San Diego.

All of these choices have the potential for generous merit scholarships, reducing the cost of attendance to equal to or less than a UC.

Hollis Bischoff is college admissions adviser for Strategies 4 Admission LLC. She earned a graduate certificate in college and career counseling from UCLA and is a Certified Educational Planner. She blogs at strategies4admission.com/blog and tweets at @collegeunlocked. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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