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October Newsletter: Freshmen

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

As you embark on your Upper School career at Breck, you are beginning a time of great personal and intellectual growth.  In the College Counseling Office we are interested in these developments and your sense of how you want to shape your future.  Welcome to this exciting time!  

Settling into the routines and rhythms of Upper School life takes energy, focus, and sustained commitment.  While you are getting involved in the daily happenings at school, we encourage you to take time to step back, reflect, and think about how to best build a solid foundation for your future.  You are creating a pattern of work habits and attitudes that will be interesting to college admission people in their admission processes and decision making.  You should work hard, do your best, get involved and learn from your experiences as a student and member of our community.

•    On Wednesday, October 18, during the school day, all freshmen will take a practice PSAT9 test. There is no preparation needed and all students have been registered. The test will be offered through an outside agency, so students should feel comfortable knowing the only ones who will see your results will be family and college counseling. The PSAT9 is a newly designed test that will help you figure out what you need to work on most so that you’re ready for college when you graduate from high school. It tests the same skills and knowledge as the SAT and PSAT/NMSQT, in a way that makes sense for your grade level. In other words, the focus is on skills, not scores.

Words of advice: 

  • Eat breakfast and arrive early. 
  • 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. 

Here are several bits of advice for the freshman year:

  • Read often and carefully. Find things that interest you and read them thoughtfully and strategically. Students who read purposefully and actively tend to retain information longer, have better developed vocabularies, a broader knowledge base, and make more connections with other concepts and information they already possess. 
  • Develop relationships with your teachers. Teachers are an essential component to your years in Upper School not only because they help you learn, but also because some will eventually write you college recommendations. It is important to have adults in the school who know you well, and that is your responsibility as much as theirs.
  • Figure out what interests you and pursue them. Opportunity abounds at Breck and outside of school. Take advantage of the possibilities. This is a good time in life to try out new and intriguing academic, social, and athletic activities.
  • Strengthen and refine your work habits and time management. Given the increased Upper School workload and daily preparation for classes, you will be more engaged and successful if you prepare for classes by studying every day, organizing and prioritizing assignments, and carefully budgeting your time.
  • Use laptops and other technology wisely. Computers are an amazing and versatile learning tool as well as a social networking system.  Strive to balance both types of activity.  Avoid staying up too late and getting insufficient sleep because of excessive “social” screen time.

Please know that our office is here for you questions and inquiries.  Some times are much busier than others, but we appreciate the chance to get to know you. Please contact Ms. Papillon with questions or to make an appointment. We are excited about working with you over the coming years.

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

Susan Graham
Associate Director of College Counseling

Andrea O’Connell
Associate Director of College Counseling

Carrie Papillon
College Counseling Office Assistant