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December Newsletter: Freshmen

Blog Type: 
Date Posted: 
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

With nearly a full semester under your belt, you should:

 

  1. Prepare well for exams. These may be some of the longest tests you have ever taken. Prepare well and in advance. Utilize the Saturday review dates, get in to talk with teachers about questions you may have, and take advantage of any and all opportunities to review. Your success is largely dependent upon appropriate planning, organization and effort!
  2. Continue to develop good habits. Reflect on the year. What is working? What is not working? What are some goals you can establish for second semester? 
  3. Get involved. Think about ways you want to get involved at Breck and in your community. These should reflect your interests. Ever wondered what it would be like to be on stage, to build a robot, or to explore something that you’ve always wanted to try? Well, now is the time!
  4. Think about summer. Though summer feels like it may never arrive, take heart! You can think warm as you plan for how you will spend your summer. Have conversations with your parents, friends, and advisors. Summer should be fun and relaxing! And, it can be productive, too! 

ATTEND THE JANUARY 31 COLLEGE NIGHT FOR GRADES 9-10! You will find the date noted on your Breck School calendar. This evening will be full of information for students and parents alike. PSAT9 test results will be distributed to juniors this evening. 

Thank you to all for a wonderful first semester thus far. We wish you a joyous and restful break.

Breck's College Counseling Office

Jonathan Nicholson
Director of College Counseling
763-381-8248

Susan Graham
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8246

Andrea O’Connell
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8138

Carrie Papillon
College Counseling Office Assistant
763-381-8258

December Newsletter: Sophomores

Blog Type: 
Date Posted: 
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

COLLEGE COUNSELOR ASSIGNMENTS will be mailed home in mid-December. Sophomores will be asked to set a meeting time with your counselor early next semester to allow the counselor to start to get to know your student and to discuss class scheduling. We ask that the first meetings be held between the student and the counselor. We are looking forward to working with you!

ATTEND THE JANUARY 31 COLLEGE NIGHT FOR GRADES 9-10! You will find the date noted on your Breck School calendar. This evening will be full of information for students and parents alike. PSAT and Practice ACT test results will be distributed to sophomores this evening. Students should be emailed electronic PSAT score reports at some point in December. 

A NOTE ON COURSE SCHEDULING: Your child will embark on the first step in the college process in January: meeting with the college counselor. Over the course of the next year, counselors hope to develop a relationship with your child, help prepare an appropriate schedule, and discuss the countless opportunities for involvement outside the classroom that will help in discovering and developing passions and interests. Our goal is to find the right balance: a schedule with the appropriate combination of challenge and rigor, involvement in clubs, music, art, theater, athletics, service opportunities, and the countless opportunities beyond campus, and time to enjoy being a teenager. 

Part of the course registration process may include AP courses. The departments will distribute information about their respective processes. Please be on the lookout for this material and be mindful of the deadlines! In prelude to this conversation, we advise you to spend some time over break discussing your child’s academic experience, academic interests, involvement and other time commitments. 

DEADLINES FOR RESEARCH AND SEMESTER PROGRAMS. If you are thinking of applying, be sure to contact the department head, Dean of Studies, and your college counselor. 

Thank you to all for a wonderful first semester thus far. We wish you a joyous and restful break.

Breck's College Counseling Office

Jonathan Nicholson
Director of College Counseling
763-381-8248

Susan Graham
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8246

Andrea O’Connell
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8138

Carrie Papillon
College Counseling Office Assistant
763-381-8258

December Newsletter: Juniors

Blog Type: 
Date Posted: 
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

It is common for juniors to feel increased pressure and anxiety surrounding school. There are increased expectations in the classroom and the college process becomes all the more real. Over the next few months, students (and parents) will begin to feel the college process ramping up. The goal for each student is to have at least one official testing on the books early this spring and to have a working college list heading into the summer. There are a number of steps that will take place second semester, and December will serve as a launching pad of sorts. 

DEADLINES FOR RESEARCH AND SEMESTER PROGRAMS. If you are thinking of applying, be sure to contact the department head, Dean of Studies, and your college counselor. 

ATTEND THE JANUARY 4 COLLEGE NIGHT FOR JUNIORS AND PARENTS. As is custom for all such programs, we expect all juniors and parents to attend as we will preview the upcoming semester and put the process in context. There will be much to discuss and parents and students will leave ready to launch the next stage in the process. 

PSAT SCORES. Students should receive scores electronically to the email address he or she entered when filling out the registration. If students do not receive an email by December 18, please stop in the college counseling office. Please check your spam folder prior to coming into the office. These results, coupled with the November Practice ACT results or any ACT results, will form the basis of the testing plan conversation. 

SAT AND ACT TEST DATES AND REGISTRATION DEADLINES. COUNSELORS EXPECT TO CONNECT WITH ALL JUNIORS to discuss an individualized testing plan. If a student plans on sitting for the February ACT, they should plan on scheduling an appointment with their counselor prior to the January 12 registration deadline. Please remember that you are responsible for registering for the tests you plan to take. 

FOR THOSE SEEKING ACCOMMODATIONS, please speak with your college counselor and Ms. Blanchette.

TEST PREP OPTIONS. There’s no doubt that preparation helps. There are many different ways to prepare, both free and at cost. The best approach is to develop a long-term plan using a combination of coursework and practice tests. The key ingredient to improving results is the use of practice tests.

  1. Self-preparation through a book or online. Both the SAT and ACT websites offer services through ACT Online and the SAT’s My College Quickstart.
  2. One-on-one tutoring, 
  3. Test preparation course, or
  4. Combination of the above.

As you notice, doing nothing is not advisable. 

Thank you to all for a wonderful first semester thus far. We wish you a joyous and restful break.

Breck's College Counseling Office

Jonathan Nicholson
Director of College Counseling
763-381-8248

Susan Graham
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8246

Andrea O’Connell
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8138

Carrie Papillon
College Counseling Office Assistant
763-381-8258

December Newsletter: Seniors

Blog Type: 
Date Posted: 
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The fall is a very busy time for all. We trust Thanksgiving Break offered everyone a time to take a breath and reflect on the blessings in our lives. Now is a good time to review where you stand in the college process and make preparations as we enter the final stretch of first semester. Students and parents should review and discuss the following:

College Lists

  1. Confirm college list – your official list is defined by the “Colleges I Am Applying To” in Naviance. This list reflects what you have submitted on your blue sheet to date. Many students have adjusted this list throughout the fall – the colleges, the type of application (EA, ED, RD, etc.) and how they are submitting (Common Application or school website). Pay close attention to the deadlines. If there is a discrepancy or if you have question, please notify Ms. Papillon immediately. Be aware that merit scholarship deadlines can be earlier than the stated RD deadline. 
  2. A balanced list is the key ingredient to a successful college process. The counselors continue to meet to review each senior’s college list. We strive for each student to have 2-3 likely schools as well as 2-3 colleges in each of the possible and reach categories. Counselors may reach out to students to review college lists.
  3. The final due date for your blue sheet, (request to send transcript form) was December 1. This form is the official request we use to send your school documents. Failure to submit an accurate blue sheet may result in an incomplete application. 
  4. Make sure to match your Common Application and Naviance college lists. The only way for Breck to send school documents to colleges to which you are applying through the Common Application is if you have the college on both lists. 
  5. Teacher Recommendation forms are past due. Ms. Papillon works diligently with teachers to make sure all materials are submitted to colleges in a timely manner. It is the goal to have all teacher recommendations completed by winter break so Ms. Papillon can submit to colleges before the New Year. Failure to ask two teachers by December 1 tells us that you will not seek any more recommendations from Breck teachers. 

Applications

  1. Get organized & work towards completing all applications and supplements. Now is the time to review what each college requires and to develop a plan for completing the applications well in advance of the deadlines.
  2. Draft essays and short answers. Don’t wait until the last moment! Keep working ahead. Develop a game plan to get things done by break or shortly into break. Counselors will be away from campus for most of break, so please plan for longer response times. 
  3. Send ACT and SAT scores. Remember, you are responsible for sending your official test scores to your colleges.  Allow 3-4 weeks for delivery.  Order your scores online via the testing agency website. 
  4. Confirm teacher recommendations. For 90% of seniors, this step is completed as they have already submitted a full application to at least one college. Typically, a college requires two teacher recommendations in addition to the counselor letter. Our counsel is to follow these guidelines and not exceed the number requested.  As a matter of fact, most colleges limit the number of teacher recommendations that can be submitted online.  
  5. Review supplemental recommendations/information requirements, if applicable. If you are applying to a specific program that requires a supplement (i.e. arts or science), the college often directs you to the appropriate supplement with precise instructions. Your counselor will be glad to guide you through the process. 
  6. Ensure that your applications reach their destinations.  Here are some reminders when submitting the rest of your applications.
    • Send applications and test scores in a timely manner – several weeks in advance of the deadline.  This will give the admissions office staff plenty of time to process them.  
    • Save a copy of everything. Save a PDF of each application you submit. Hang on to notes or emails from admissions offices, personal identification numbers and passwords and even cancelled checks. 
    • Keep your name consistent. Choose one name and stick with it.  If you include your middle name on one document, you must remember to use it on all other forms. If you have a nickname, decide whether you will apply using that name or your given name. Either way, don't switch once you've chosen because the likelihood of mix-ups and missing pieces will increase.
    • Get the facts. Even if part of your application really is missing, the situation is often easily remedied. Take a deep breath.  Check with Ms. Papillon to verify what was sent. 
  7. Write thank you notes to teachers. Please take the time to handwrite a thank you note to the teachers who have written your recommendations. They will certainly want to share in your joy when you are admitted, so do keep them posted on updates, but now is the time to tell them thank you. No emails. A handwritten note is the way to go.

Financial Aid

DON’T FORGET ABOUT FINANCIAL AID! Now is the time to review the Financial Aid process at each school. Deadlines are important!  Missing a deadline can result in a reduced or no award.  The CSS Profile and FAFSA should be completed as soon as possible. 

College Decisions

Some decisions have trickled out. As you hear decisions, please inform us — we want to celebrate, to console, and to advise. Ms. Papillon will update your Naviance list to reflect the outcomes. 

As colleges release their decisions, please keep in mind the following:

  1. Be positive. Though you may have poured your heart and soul into an application, the decision is not personal!  Admissions offices are building a class and your decision is not made in a vacuum. Colleges are looking to fill their orchestra, sports teams, academic department majors, and other priorities. One decision – good or bad – is not a judgment of who you are or your accomplishments. Keep talking to the college office. Communication is key! 
  2. Be sensitive to others. This is a hard time for all. Decisions, especially denials, can be difficult to receive. Please be thoughtful of your classmates. Let’s support one another through this process. It will be over soon enough. Focus on the relationships we have built over this year and the many years leading up to this point!
  3. Throughout the remainder of the fall term, in addition to our work with students and families, the counselors are reaching out to all colleges to which our students have applied to advocate, offer updates and insights, and to answer questions colleges may have. Keep your counselor informed about updates or changes in your life. It could be helpful in our outreach efforts. 

For those students who have applied early

  • You need not submit your remaining Regular Decision applications with January deadlines or later until you hear from your early school(s) with December notification dates. However, this should not prevent you from working towards completing your remaining applications now. 
  • If a college contacts you about missing information, please check with the College Counseling Office immediately. 
  • If you are accepted EARLY DECISION (a binding agreement) … Tell Ms. Papillon and your counselor. You need to promptly write each of the other colleges (copying your counselor) to withdraw your application. Before doing so, however, be sure the financial aid estimate is appropriate. 
  • If you are accepted EARLY ACTION or ROLLING (a non-binding acceptance) … You may decide that you want to alter your list based on this new information. Please speak with your college counselor. It is very important that you keep us informed about what you are doing.
  • If you were DEFERRED in your early application … Speak with your counselor. We will discuss strategies for updating your file to insure that the admissions office has new information as they consider your application in the regular round.

REMEMBER THAT THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SENIOR SLUMP. Your first semester grades will be sent to all the colleges you have applied. Schools watch your grades carefully all year long. They hold the right to reconsider your acceptance after receiving your final grades in May.  

Please keep in mind that Mrs. O'Connell and Mrs. Graham will be on vacation. Ms. Papillon will be in the office periodically through break. Please be aware the office will be closed December 28 through the New Year. Mr. Nicholson will be available throughout break via email.

Thank you to all for a wonderful first semester thus far.  We wish you a joyous and restful break.

Breck's College Counseling Office

Jonathan Nicholson
Director of College Counseling
763-381-8248

Susan Graham
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8246

Andrea O’Connell
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8138

Carrie Papillon
College Counseling Office Assistant
763-381-8258

November Newsletter: Seniors

Blog Type: 
Date Posted: 
Thursday, October 26, 2017

EARLY DECISION AND EARLY ACTION deadlines are upon us. This is a busy time for everyone – students, parents, teachers, the College Counseling Office – so please take some time read the following. 

EARLY DECISION AGREEMENTS FOR COMMON APPLICATIONS ARE TO BE COMPLETED ONLINE. Most colleges require the ED Agreement form to be signed by the student, parent and college counselor. If you have not yet done this for your ED school, please check the procedure for your school. Our advice is to check your institution’s net price calculator to get an estimate of what your family will be expected to pay before committing Early Decision. You should do your homework PRIOR to signing the ED agreement form. If there is an issue regarding the calculator estimate, please speak with a counselor. 

FINANCIAL AID REQUIREMENTS AND PROCESSES WILL VARY BY INSTITUTION AND BY APPLICATION PROCESS. Each institution will set its financial aid process and it’s imperative you follow these guidelines and deadlines closely. Early Decision schools often require submission of the CSS/Financial Aid Profile or an institutional aid form around the same time as the application deadline. Keep in mind that any awards that are granted will be adjusted when the 2015 tax information comes available in the spring. 

ENSURE THAT YOUR APPLICATIONS REACH THEIR DESTINATIONS. The following steps can help relieve the stress of this tension-filled process.

  1. Whether you're applying on paper or electronically, send applications in a timely manner – the more in advance of the deadline, the better. This will give the admissions office staff time to process them. 
  2. Keep a copy of everything. Hang on to notes or emails from admissions offices, personal identification numbers and passwords and even cancelled checks. It never hurts to have full documentation of your actions and interactions, especially if a problem crops up later. For the Common Application, as you review your PDF and submit, save the PDF to your laptop for record-keeping purposes. 
  3. Keep your name consistent. Choose one name and stick with it. If you include your middle name on one document, you must remember to use it on all other forms. If you have a nickname, decide whether you will apply using that name or your given name. Either way, don't switch once you've chosen because the likelihood of mix-ups and missing pieces will undoubtedly increase if you do.
  4. Get the facts. Even if part of your application really is missing, the situation is often easily remedied. Take a deep breath. Check with Ms. Papillon to verify what was sent. 
  5. Communicate with your counselor and Ms. Papillon. Make sure your counselor is aware of any changes to your college list and when you are applying to each college.

COLLEGE MAY REPORT APPLICATION MATERIALS AS MSSING EVEN THOUGH YOU ( AND WE) HAVE SUBMITTED THEM. There are several reasons this may happen. Missing Document Correspondence can be prevalent after students submit their applications. Whereas the student’s portion of the application often seamlessly transfers into college databases, the school documents must be downloaded by the institution and matched with the file. We follow the dates of submission on your blue sheet (which may also be found in Naviance) for submission. Ms. Papillon submits all available school documents by this stated deadline. Should you need to change the date of submission or application type, let Ms. Papillon know. 

  1. Do not call colleges to check the status of your application. Most colleges will provide you with some way to track your application status online.
  2. Timing: Many colleges report more than half of their applications are submitted on the deadline day. This means all of your materials may be received in the admissions office, but may yet to be processed. The process of uploading all your materials - matching your application, test scores and recommendation letters - and updating the student status as complete on the college website may take several days.
  3. Some admissions offices will send an automated message via e-mail or USPS stating your application is incomplete. These messages are often sent even though all application materials have yet to be processed.
  4. You may have elected to use a different application method than what was listed on your blue sheet. The method you use to submit your application affects how the college office must submit the rest of your application paperwork.
  5. Inconsistent personal information submitted. If your name is Susan M Mustang, you completed your application using Susie Mustang, and you registered for the SAT under the name of S M Mustang, the admissions office may not be able to match all of the parts of your application. Please note the college office uses the name as it appears on your transcript. That is your official name in our records.

WHILE YOU’RE WAITING FOR AN EARLY APPLICATION RESPONSE, finalize your college list and complete other applications. Complete and hold on to your applications to other schools. Let teachers know if there are new deadlines. If you wait until after you've heard from an early, you'll have to rush to complete your other applications while you're in the midst of finals, holiday preparations, etc.

FAFSA PROGRAM. On Wednesday, November 2nd, Brian Lindeman, Macalester College’s Director of Financial Aid, will provide counsel and answer questions regarding applying for financial aid. We ask that you review the FAFSA and CSS/Profile prior to the event. Please come with questions as your questions will drive the discussion! Please RSVP 

ORDER SAT and ACT SCORE REPORTS ONLINE. Allow 4 weeks for scores to be delivered to college admissions offices. You are responsible for sending test scores to each college. None of the documents the College Counseling Office submits includes your test scores.

THE COLLEGE COUNSELING OFFICE WILL PROVIDE MID-SEMESTER GRADES TO COLLEGES THAT REQUEST THEM. If you would like your grades to be sent, let your counselor know! Mid-Year Grades will be available in mid-January and will automatically be sent to your colleges. 

REMEMBER THAT THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SENIOR SLUMP. Schools watch your grades carefully and all decisions are granted upon successful completion of your senior year. Note that it’s not enough to finish, you must successfully finish. There is a difference. 

COFFEE WITH THE COUNSELORS | TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 8:00 AM | HERITAGE ROOM, ANDERSON ICE ARENA. The discussion topic will be The Process Moving Forward.

THE FINAL DUE DATE for handing in your Transcript Request Form (including additions/deletions to your college list) is December 1. All blue sheets are due into our office by December 1. Keep in mind that large state universities have priority deadlines, and be sure that you are reading application instructions and due dates carefully, allowing our office enough time to get your information processed and submitted. 

Please note: College counselors and teachers are on break beginning Wednesday, December 20, through Tuesday, January 2. They will be back on campus Wednesday, January 3. Dr. Graham will have not have internet access over break and Ms. O’Connell will have intermittent access as well. Please plan accordingly. Mr. Nicholson will be available via email throughout break. 

Breck Parents:

Many early applications have been submitted and there are still a few more to be submitted by the Nov 1st deadline. It’s difficult to believe the amount of activity, success, and change that has taken place since August; imagine where your child will be in a few months! 

Though many of our seniors are in the midst of the application process, there is a rising reality that the college process is here for juniors and that sophomores are to soon enter the “college” discussion. Now may be a good time to check in with your child about their feelings and thoughts on the matter as these stressors can add to the rigors of the Breck work and responsibilities. 

For younger students, it’s never too early to think about how you’ll plan to use your summer! Students should begin thinking about unique opportunities or further ways to pursue a passion, interest or hobby. 

Breck's College Counseling Office

Jonathan Nicholson
Director of College Counseling
763-381-8248

Susan Graham
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8246

Andrea O’Connell
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8138

Carrie Papillon
College Counseling Office Assistant
763-381-8258

November Newsletter: Juniors

Blog Type: 
Date Posted: 
Thursday, October 26, 2017

GRADE 11 COLLEGE NIGHT | NOVEMBER 8, 6:30 PM | CHAPEL
All juniors and as many parents are expected to attend! This evening we will cover what you need to know for the second semester and how the process should unfold. 

After you revisit your testing plan with your college counselor, please register to take your next standardized test. Below are registration deadlines. 

SAT TEST

Test date Deadline
March 10 (at Breck) February 9
May 5 April 6
June 2 May 3

ACT TEST

Test date Deadline
February 10 (at Breck) January 12
April 14 March 4
June 9 (at Breck) May 4
July 14 June 15

MEA WEEKEND proved to be a successful time for students and parents to visit a college campus or two. We provided a guide for those visiting colleges, offering suggestions on questions to ask, things to look for, and how to process each visit. This is not the only time to visit and it’s a bit too early to start narrowing down the college list to a select few, but it is a good time to start learning about colleges and universities. 

COLLEGE VISIT SEASON! There are still a couple weeks remaining of the college visit season! College representatives will be visiting Breck until the Thanksgiving break. Should a school visit occur before or after school or during a student’s free period, this is a great opportunity to learn! 

COURSE PLANNING takes place once again January and February. Over break, we encourage parents and students to discuss academic areas of interests, goals for the upcoming semester and beyond, and pursuits outside of the classroom. Remember, colleges determine what is important to you by assessing how you spend your time. Take an inventory of what you do, what you’d like to do, and how you may expand your scope of involvements or the depth of those to which you are currently committed. Preliminary discussions now can prove helpful as students begin to plan their upcoming schedules. 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR JANUARY 24! One of our premier programs – the Application Case Studies Program – will run from 6:30 – 8:30. We will host senior level admissions leaders from coast to coast who will guide juniors and their parents through an admissions committee experience. 

Breck Parents:

Many early applications have been submitted and there are still a few more to be submitted by the Nov 1st deadline. It’s difficult to believe the amount of activity, success, and change that has taken place since August; imagine where your child will be in a few months! 

Though many of our seniors are in the midst of the application process, there is a rising reality that the college process is here for juniors and that sophomores are to soon enter the “college” discussion. Now may be a good time to check in with your child about their feelings and thoughts on the matter as these stressors can add to the rigors of the Breck work and responsibilities. 

For younger students, it’s never too early to think about how you’ll plan to use your summer! Students should begin thinking about unique opportunities or further ways to pursue a passion, interest or hobby. 

Breck's College Counseling Office

Jonathan Nicholson
Director of College Counseling
763-381-8248

Susan Graham
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8246

Andrea O’Connell
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8138

Carrie Papillon
College Counseling Office Assistant
763-381-8258

November Newsletter: Sophomores

Blog Type: 
Date Posted: 
Thursday, October 26, 2017

Sophomores took the PSAT on October 14 and the Practice ACT on October 18; the results will be distributed at our January 31 College Evening. A large majority of students will naturally see their scores rise in future tests as their curriculum grows to meet the concepts tested on the exam. When we review the results, we will offer students ideas on how to use them to their advantage. 

The practice tests also raise another question from families and students: standardized testing accommodations. If your child receives accommodations at Breck and is interested in pursuing accommodations for the PSAT/SAT/AP tests, now is the time to speak with your child and Claire Blanchette. Receiving accommodations at Breck does not guarantee a student’s likelihood of receiving similar accommodations on standardized testing; however, some students may not realize that accommodations they receive are put in place to “level the playing field.” It is good to have had conversations with your child to make sure they fully understand the merits of accommodations. Students apply for ACT accommodations when they register for the test. 

COLLEGE COUNSELOR ASSIGNMENTS will be distributed in December. The assignments are designed to give each counselor a representative slice of the sophomore class. We work as a team, bringing our collective knowledge, abilities and connections to the tables for the entire class. Sophomores will work with their counselor in January and February to discuss their junior and senior year curricula and begin conversations regarding testing. Other topics will include items such as co-curricular involvement, summer plans, and an introduction to our Naviance software program. 

COURSE PLANNING takes place once again January and February. Over break, I would encourage parents and students to discuss academic areas of interests, goals for the upcoming semester and beyond, and pursuits outside of the classroom. Remember, colleges determine what is important to you by assessing how you spend your time. Take an inventory of what you do, what you’d like to do, and how you may expand your scope of involvement or the depth of those to which you are currently committed. Preliminary discussions now can prove helpful as students begin to plan their upcoming schedules. 

With winter quickly approaching, it can be difficult to think about the summer. However, now is a good time to begin thinking about how you want to spend your summer. It is important to note that how a student spends his/her time reflects his/her interests. We will begin these conversations in January and February. 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR JANUARY 31! We will run concurrent panels on navigating the athletic process, financing a college education and other timely discussions. More information will follow. 

Breck Parents:

Many early applications have been submitted and there are still a few more to be submitted by the Nov 1st deadline. It’s difficult to believe the amount of activity, success, and change that has taken place since August; imagine where your child will be in a few months! 

Though many of our seniors are in the midst of the application process, there is a rising reality that the college process is here for juniors and that sophomores are to soon enter the “college” discussion. Now may be a good time to check in with your child about their feelings and thoughts on the matter as these stressors can add to the rigors of the Breck work and responsibilities. 

For younger students, it’s never too early to think about how you’ll plan to use your summer! Students should begin thinking about unique opportunities or further ways to pursue a passion, interest or hobby. 

Breck's College Counseling Office

Jonathan Nicholson
Director of College Counseling
763-381-8248

Susan Graham
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8246

Andrea O’Connell
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8138

Carrie Papillon
College Counseling Office Assistant
763-381-8258

November Newsletter: Freshmen

Blog Type: 
Date Posted: 
Thursday, October 26, 2017

Freshmen took the new PSAT 9 on October 18. This was intended to be a trial run for future testing and not predictive in determining future test results. The practice tests also raise another question from families and students: standardized testing accommodations. If your child receives accommodations at Breck and is interested in pursuing accommodations for the PSAT/SAT/AP tests, now is the time to speak with your child and Claire Blanchette. Receiving accommodations at Breck does not guarantee a student’s likelihood of receiving similar accommodations on standardized testing; however, some students may not realize that accommodations they receive are put in place to “level the playing field.” In the past, we have had conversations with students who do not fully understand the merits of accommodations. Students apply for ACT accommodations when they register for the test. 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR JANUARY 31! We will run concurrent panels on navigating the athletic process, financing a college education and other timely discussions. More information will follow. 

Breck Parents:

Many early applications have been submitted and there are still a few more to be submitted by the Nov 1st deadline. It’s difficult to believe the amount of activity, success, and change that has taken place since August; imagine where your child will be in a few months! 

Though many of our seniors are in the midst of the application process, there is a rising reality that the college process is here for juniors and that sophomores are to soon enter the “college” discussion. Now may be a good time to check in with your child about their feelings and thoughts on the matter as these stressors can add to the rigors of the Breck work and responsibilities. 

For younger students, it’s never too early to think about how you’ll plan to use your summer! Students should begin thinking about unique opportunities or further ways to pursue a passion, interest or hobby. 

Breck's College Counseling Office

Jonathan Nicholson
Director of College Counseling
763-381-8248

Susan Graham
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8246

Andrea O’Connell
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8138

Carrie Papillon
College Counseling Office Assistant
763-381-8258

October Newsletter: Juniors

Blog Type: 
Date Posted: 
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

As you may have heard, expectations and responsibilities can increase dramatically this year. The fall can be a difficult time to acclimate, juniors should make sure to ask questions of their teachers, participate in class, take advantage of opportunities — academic or co-curricular — to grow. Remember, at least one of their teachers from this year will most likely write one of their college recommendations. A good start is imperative for a good year! 

This month also provides unique opportunities for our juniors to expand their awareness of colleges and the vast array of educational experiences available at post-secondary institutions around the country and beyond. The MISP Fair and the college visit programming surrounding the visit will afford juniors tremendous opportunities to connect with professional admissions officers from around the country. These are times not to be missed! 

MISP Fair at Breck School | Sunday, October 8

The Minnesota Independent School Partnership (MISP) Fair typically brings over 150 college reps to the Breck campus on Sunday afternoon. Hosted in conjunction with five of our peer schools, the fair is a highlight of the year for our students. Attendance is expected and nearly 100% of our juniors and seniors attend each year. Parents are always welcome! 

To see the list of colleges in attendance, please click here. College counseling will use the two advisories leading up the MISP Fair to help students plan. Please note the length of the fair and plan accordingly. Spreading out arrival and departure times and ride-sharing can make for a better experience. For students attending without parents, we ask that they park in the Highway 100 lot or near the stadium to allow our guests the closer spaces. Parking behind the building and in the senior lot will not be available. The fair will close precisely at 3:00 pm so representatives may prepare for the second portion of the fair with our community partners. 

College Programming and Visits Surrounding MISP Fair

Around the MISP Fair, nearly 50 colleges will visit Breck. To facilitate the visits and to minimize class absences, we have arranged special programming for three days surrounding the fair. Please see details below. All juniors are expected to attend the day in order to broaden their understanding of colleges and what is out there, to better understand the language of college admission, and perhaps begin learning more about what they might want in a college! 

We understand that family schedules are difficult to coordinate. As you schedule Parent-Teacher-Student Conferences, we ask you to consider avoiding these times as much as possible. 

On Thursday (5th), college visits will run from 8:30-1:30. At 12:00, JL Chilcote, our University of Pennsylvania representative, will speak to juniors from his perspective at a highly competitive university. 

On Monday (9th) and Tuesday (10th), college visits will be held at 8 AM ONLY. Juniors are expected to attend and should plan to be in a seat in their respective room by 8 AM, so the visits may begin promptly at 8 AM. 

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6 | ACT and SAT Test Prep
Ron Michalak, founder of Breakaway College Test Prep, will offer an ACT booster class for Breck juniors from 9-12 and PSAT prep from 1-4. Students must register here by September 29 in order to attend. 

Every junior should take at least one ACT prior to taking the real test. For juniors who have not yet taken an ACT or would like another opportunity to take a practice ACT, they may register to take a practice test with Breakaway College Test Prep for free prior to October 6th. Click here to reserve your space!

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14 | PSAT administered at Breck:
All sophomores and juniors have been registered to take the PSAT at Breck on Saturday, October 14. The test will begin promptly at 8:30 am; please arrive no later than 8:00 am.  A great source for preparation for this test is the website: www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/psat/prep.html

Words of advice: 

  • Eat breakfast and arrive early. 
  • Think about which email address to enter on the registration form. Students should expect to receive communication from colleges after taking the PSAT. Therefore, students should select an email address they plan to use throughout the college process. Many students use their Breck School email address, whereas others prefer a personal email account.
  • Bring sharpened #2 pencils and calculators. Remember, this is a College Board test and we need to follow their testing policies.
  • Treat it seriously. It’s more important than you may care for a test to be. These score results can be helpful as you progress through the standardized testing process.
  • But, it’s less important than you fear. Remember, it’s a practice test! This provides students with a standardized testing experience and feedback. 

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18 |  Juniors will take the Practice ACT during the school day. 

MEA WEEKEND, OCTOBER 19-20 | College Visits Strongly Encouraged
We strongly encourage juniors to visit colleges over MEA weekend. There are many opportunities in the local area and surrounding states. 

Thursday, October 19, College Visit to one local campus: The College Counseling office is planning a student trip to the University of St. Thomas. Students will need to have their own transportation to and from Breck, but we will take a Breck bus from school to/from the colleges. Details to follow!

College representatives visit Breck School | We will host over 150 colleges this fall. Multiple college representatives are visiting our campus daily. Juniors should feel free to go the meetings (mostly in the senior area) during a free hour. The beginning of October is an especially heavy visit schedule. The college visit list for all days is posted on Naviance, the Mustang Minute and the bulletin boards in the college office and in the senior hallway.  Check it out for specific dates and times.

Colleges may be hosting an area informational session | This is a great opportunity to expand your knowledge of colleges! Many schools will visit Breck and some will use the regional session in lieu of school visits. We will post the ones of which we are aware in Naviance. 

November 8, 6:30 PM, Grade 11 College Night | Mark your personal calendars now to attend this program as we discuss the college process as it unfolds during the second semester of junior year. 

Information for All Parents

Breck Parents — Fall is certainly here! It is difficult to believe the start of school was the better part of a month ago and yet the energy and excitement reveal just how deep into the school year we now find ourselves. Parent-Teacher-Student conferences will soon take place as will the MISP Fair, MEA Weekend, the post-season for fall sports, and the list goes on. 

This newsletter is full of information and details. Please feel free to read its entirety or delve into the area that pertains to your family. Please note that while we serve all students, we have set aside the last week of October for open office hours for seniors in the lead up to early November college application deadlines. If there is a need for a 9th, 10th or 11th grade student, please email your counselor or contact Carrie Papillon

Breck's College Counseling Office

Jonathan Nicholson
Director of College Counseling
763-381-8248

Susan Graham
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8246

Andrea O’Connell
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8138

Carrie Papillon
College Counseling Office Assistant
763-381-8258

October Newsletter: Sophomores

Blog Type: 
Date Posted: 
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Our goal this year is to get to know you better and to help ease you into the college process. We urge you to take it at your own pace. We will post newsletters a few times this year to keep you updated on the happenings in our office.  If you are curious, check out some college counseling information on Breck's website, http://www.breckschool.org/college-counseling. You will find information about ACT/SAT testing, course planning, college visits, and more.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14 | PSAT administered at Breck: All sophomores and juniors have been registered to take the PSAT at Breck on Saturday, October 14. The test will begin promptly at 8:30 am; please arrive no later than 8:00 am.  A great source for preparation for this test is the website: www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/psat/prep.html

Words of advice: 

  • Eat breakfast and arrive early. 
  • Think about which email address to enter on the registration form. Students should expect to receive communication from colleges after taking the PSAT. Therefore, students should select an email address they plan to use throughout the college process. Many students use their Breck School email address, whereas others prefer a personal email account.
  • Bring sharpened #2 pencils and calculators. Remember, this is a College Board test and we need to follow their testing policies.
  • Treat it seriously. It’s more important than you may care for a test to be. These score results can be helpful as you progress through the standardized testing process.
  • But, it’s less important than you fear. Remember, it’s a practice test! This provides students with a standardized testing experience and feedback. 

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18 | Sophomores will take the Practice ACT during the school day.

  • What do PSATs and Practice ACT mean in the sophomore year?
    Breck gives the PSAT and a Practice ACT to sophomores to familiarize students with the test, its scoring system, and the testing conditions.  When you receive your scores next semester, you will also receive your testing booklet.  This book serves a purpose, don’t throw it away.  Take a look at your test sheet and see which answers were right and wrong. Then go to the test booklet and study the questions.  This analysis will help you prepare for future tests and will provide information in developing a standardized testing plan.
  • Should I take a prep class for the PSAT/Practice ACT?
    Although all test prep classes are a personal and family choice, sophomore year is early to prep for a practice ACT/PSAT.  Simply familiarize yourself with the test components so you can utilize the testing time effectively. We will have Ron Michalak visit during tutorial on October 10th to provide an introduction to the tests to sophomores. 

Remember, the best predictor of college GPA is high school GPA. Beyond earning the marks, now is the time to develop and hone your habits, further your analytical skills, and continue to know who you are. This takes place not only in the classroom but in your varied commitments beyond the class day. Find ways to get involved, to serve, and to challenge yourself. 

Information for All Parents

Breck Parents — Fall is certainly here! It is difficult to believe the start of school was the better part of a month ago and yet the energy and excitement reveal just how deep into the school year we now find ourselves. Parent-Teacher-Student conferences will soon take place as will the MISP Fair, MEA Weekend, the post-season for fall sports, and the list goes on.

This newsletter is full of information and details. Please feel free to read its entirety or delve into the area that pertains to your family. Please note that while we serve all students, we have set aside the last week of October for open office hours for seniors in the lead up to early November college application deadlines. If there is a need for a 9th, 10th or 11th grade student, please email your counselor or contact Carrie Papillon.

Breck's College Counseling Office

Jonathan Nicholson
Director of College Counseling
763-381-8248

Susan Graham
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8246

Andrea O’Connell
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8138

Carrie Papillon
College Counseling Office Assistant
763-381-8258

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