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February Newsletter: Juniors

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Junior Application Case Studies Workshop

Thanks to all who attended our program on January 24. The admissions leaders from Connecticut College, The University of Minnesota, The University of Wisconsin, and The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) provided a behind-the-scenes look at the admission process. We will use this exercise as a springboard to the work we do this spring and beyond. 


Juniors should see Ms. Papillon immediately to schedule an appointment with their counselor prior to the March Upper School Conferences. Not only do counselor schedules fill quickly, but the conversation may require follow up conversations with faculty members, department heads and parents. The result should be a template for your conversation with your advisor. The goal of a senior year schedule is to maximize the balance of challenge and success, revealing the breadth and depth of your child’s interests and abilities, and to reflect strengths in areas of interest.

Coffee Talks

The College Counseling Office will host a series of informal meetings for junior parents at 8:00 AM in the Heritage Room at Anderson Ice Arena throughout the spring semester. Each meeting will address a specific topic. If you are unable to make it, do not worry! These meetings are not intended to replace personal conversations with a college counselor, but rather to provide information about the specific topic. A summary of the conversation will be emailed shortly after each Coffee Talk.

The topic of the next Coffee Talk slated for March 8 is “Developing a Balanced List.” 

Additional Coffee Talks are currently scheduled for April 26 and May 30. Please watch your email and the College Counseling Newsletter for further details.

Parent Surveys!

There are two parent surveys to complete; we ask that you complete them both in a timely manner and before your meeting with your counselor this spring. 

Each parent/guardian should have a personal account to access Naviance. The surveys seek information and insights directly from each parent. Therefore, we ask each parent to use their personalized link to offer his/her insights. Should you wish to work collaboratively, you may work together to complete one parent's survey. If you need help accessing your Naviance account, please contact Carrie Papillon (information may be found below). 


At this point, all juniors should have worked with their college counselor to develop a testing plan. Remember, the student registers with the SAT ( and ACT ( Students should take the ACT with Writing. If you have questions about testing or accommodations on standardized testing, please see your college counselor as soon as possible. 

Upcoming test dates are (registration deadlines fall about a month prior to the test date, so plan ahead!): 

  • February 10 ACT test at Breck School
  • March 10 SAT only test at Breck School
  • April 14 ACT test (offsite)
  • May 5 SAT test (offsite)
  • June 2 SAT test at Breck School
  • June 9 ACT test at Breck School
  • July 14 ACT test (offsite)

Spring Break Plans

Whether you are traveling or staying local, this time may be a good opportunity to visit colleges. 

At this time, it’s important to visit a range of colleges and universities. Your college counselor can help you plan your spring break trip. However, you do not need to travel to accomplish this! There are a lot of great options locally. Plus, the Minnesota Association of College Admissions Counseling (MACAC) is hosting a series of fairs in the latter half of March. Though these MEF Fairs are hosted by other secondary schools, Breck students are invited to attend. To see the list of fairs and the colleges attending, please visit this website:

MAY PROGRAM can be a great opportunity for our students. This is the first opportunity for Class of 2019 to take advantage of a few choices: pursuing an internship, participating in service, or delving into a special project. Juniors will want to think seriously at how they want to utilize this opportunity. The college counselors are ready to talk. 

Advanced Placement Exams

All students in AP courses will be registered for their respective AP exams. Students who have received College Board accommodations will use them on AP tests as well. If there is an exam for which a student would like to sit and is not in the AP course for that exam needs approval from Mr. Nicholson by February 20. Please speak with Ms. Papillon immediately.

NCAA Eligibility Center

Interested in playing Division I or II athletics? Please register with the NCAA Eligibility Center: and be sure to speak with your counselor about the recruiting process. 

Summer Plans

Some of the greatest times for growth for high school students are the summers after their sophomore and junior years. We strongly encourage students to plan significant experiences that take them away from their school friends and Breck’s academic work and get them in a different atmosphere where they learn about themselves and the world in which they live. There are many wonderful programs out there for students, and our city offers a richness of local experiences. Take a class at a local university or art center, join an archaeological dig, join a local political campaign, or design your own reading list with a Breck faculty member. Think big. Think broad. Find something that will allow you to pursue a passion or something in which you are curious.

Upper School College Counseling News

Last week we were fortunate to host a handful of senior level admissions professionals from around the country. Not only did our students impress our visitors with their genuine and engaging personalities, but I noticed once again that in those hours between the end of school and the start of our evening program, our students were remained. Many going to and from commitments, sitting around a table doing homework, and finding a moment to scarf down some dinner before the program began. It’s a wonder just how much Breck students accomplish. These commitments coupled with the lingering winter weather can cause some angst to develop this month. 

This is always an exciting time of year for the College Counseling Office as we are working with students at every phase of the college process: sophomores who are stepping timidly into the college sphere with introductory meetings through to seniors, who, for some the process is over, and for others, who are still in the thick of things. Therefore, you will find this to be a longer newsletter; but it is one I trust you will find valuable as you support your child. 

College Counseling Office

Jonathan Nicholson
Director of College Counseling

Susan Graham
Associate Director of College Counseling

Andrea O’Connell
Associate Director of College Counseling

Carrie Papillon
College Counseling Office Assistant