07242016Sun
Last updateThu, 21 Jul 2016 12pm

Food & Wine

Citrus-y beers celebrate summer

Citrus-y beers celebrate summer


Derek Wolfgram/Special to the Town Crier
Session beers offer an alcohol content low enough to sustain sipping through a long, lazy picnic. Local breweries are celebrating the citrus hop style now in vogue with other fruit-forward influences.

With the h...

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Your Health

Reading in sign,  ink and song

Reading in sign, ink and song


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A baby girl learns sign language during a program offered Wednesdays at the Los Altos Library.

Visit Los Altos Library’s community room on a Wednesday afternoon and you’ll see its plain gray expanse descend into ...

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Your Home

From derelict to desirable: House flipper transforms old properties into showstoppers

From derelict to desirable: House flipper transforms old properties into showstoppers


Megan V. WInslow/Town Crier
Amy Randazzo purchases older homes in Mountain View to “flip” after they undergo a makeover. Her transformed houses feature open floor plans and she searches for properties with “good bones.”

Amy Randazzo is improving neighb...

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On The Road

A different kind  of driving school

A different kind of driving school


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The Andersons observe Bixby Bridge – located on Highway 1 near Big Sur – from a dirt road during their recent Land Rover Experience Driving School lesson.

It is always exciting to do something youR...

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Senior Lifestyles

Monkey business: Senior Program volunteers lift spirits of sick kids

Monkey business: Senior Program volunteers lift spirits of sick kids


Photo Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos Senior Program volunteers – affectionately known as The Monkey Toy Ladies – make sock monkeys to comfort sick children.

Last year, nearly 400 children at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital received a special ...

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Wedding To Remember

The Veils of Time

The Veils of Time


Courtesy of Los Altos History Museum

For a new spin on the Town Crier’s “Peek into the Past,” the Los Altos History Museum has been gathering historical local wedding photos and the stories behind them.

Frances Elizabeth Shoup, second...

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Your Kids

Back to School

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?


Courtesy of Hollis Bischoff
This chart compares the rate of Early Decision acceptances with the overall acceptance rate at various colleges.

As students apply to an ever-increasing list of schools, colleges are challenged to predict accurately whether ...

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Start early and avoid college application mania

What are we asking of our children and students?

We want to make our children look as good as possible on paper. We want them to understand how important the “right college” is for their future. We want them to fill out an application that might have gaps in it. We want perfection. We want to do it for them. We want to write that essay so that the admissions committee will have to take him or her.

My advice to parents: Stay calm. Start early. Don’t fill out their applications for them. College admissions people know who wrote that essay and who filled out those short answers.

Following are tips for taking the stress out of the college admissions process.

• Download a copy of the Common Application – used by more than 400 colleges and universities – as early as when your child hits the eighth grade. It can be useful in directing academic course selections in high school.

• Choose any five schools your child may want to attend and download the supplement.

• Encourage your child to keep a notebook of events that happen to him or her – a record of even minor, small events may prove valuable as the admissions process approaches.

• Urge your child to discuss all aspects of the application with you. It is less daunting if he or she has some idea how to begin to answer the questions.

• Start a list of possible schools.

• Visit my website to access a college application matrix.

• Seek help from professionals, but be careful – there are no laws or guidelines for those hanging out a shingle. Be sure to check credentials and references. If a counselor tells you that his or her students are accepted into every school to which they apply, run the other way.

• Set reasonable goals. Maybe ask to see the first three pages of the application done by Friday night dinner. Do it in pieces.

• Procrastination often means that the child is scared, not lazy. Think about what we are asking children to do – fill out an application that will change their lives. How excited would you be to do this? Remember, they are all talk and show – they love you and their cocoon.

Seek help from a professional if you think your child needs it. Don’t do it yourself – especially because you may not know what should be written.

The application is not about recounting all of your child’s activities. It is not about what you think is important. It is not a brag sheet. It is an essay that will show who he or she is. Let the admissions officers uncover who your child is. In short, don’t hit the admissions people over the head.

Elaine Sigal is a Los Altos resident who has been an educator for more than 35 years. She is founder of MindLaunch, a tutoring, academic advising and college counseling company. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit mindlaunch.com.

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