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November Newsletter: Seniors

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

Susan Graham
Associate Director of College Counseling

Andrea O’Connell
Associate Director of College Counseling

Carrie Papillon
College Counseling Office Assistant