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October Newsletter: Seniors

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Amidst all the newness of the year and establishing their leadership within the school, seniors may just now begin turning their attention to the college process. In the process, anxiety and pressure may begin to mount. The appropriate response is to talk, and we are here to help! Below is a checklist of sorts. While not all will apply directly to you, please carefully review the items. 

Third and Final Common Application Essay Workshop: Friday, October 6

Our third essay program will take place on Friday during Parent-Teacher-Student conferences. With no classes and few conflicts, most seniors should plan on attending. This follows the June workshop launching the writing and our August workshop detailing the essay and supplemental essays. During this day, we offer the one thing students most need to write: time. Seniors can spread out throughout the building, settle in and write. The counselors as well as a few English faculty members will be on hand to offer feedback on student writing. 

If students are planning on applying early, they should be in attendance. We are setting aside this time to alleviate the crunch that can occur the last week of October for counselors and English faculty. If seniors are expecting help the week leading up to November 1st, they should attend this day! 

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. 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 3:00pm 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. Seniors are expected to attend any and all visits for colleges they are considering. It is also a time to expand the list once more.

On Thursday (5th), college visits will run from 8:30-1:30. At 11:30, JL Chilcote, our University of Pennsylvania representative, will speak to seniors about the college application process from his perspective at a highly competitive university. Seniors should visit Naviance to plan with which colleges to visit and to coordinate Parent/Teacher/Student conference accordingly.

On Monday (9th) and Tuesday (10th), college visits will be held at 8 AM ONLY. Seniors should plan to be in a seat in their respective room by 8AM, so the visits may begin promptly at 8AM. If there is a conflict, the senior should speak with their college counselor. 

MEA Weekend: October 18-22

Many students will use these dates to travel. Students often visit the campus of the college they are considering for a binding program once more. Others may take the opportunity to visit an area they have yet to see. And, for those who are in town, we will host a visit to The University of St. Thomas. 

Seniors not traveling can drop in to speak with a counselor about their essays and other aspects of their application.

Reminders as you start your applications:

  • Parents & Seniors should submit your respective questionnaires immediately. These questionnaires are invaluable to your college counselor.  If you have questions about accessing your account, contact Carrie Papillon.
  • Complete and submit your Request to Send Transcript form (blue sheet) to the College Counseling Office 30 days prior to your first deadline. If Ms. Papillon is not at her desk, just place it in the tray on the counter. We do not officially know you are applying to a college unless it is on your blue sheet. Remember, you can change your blue sheet at anytime.
  • Complete the FERPA agreement in your Common Application account. In order for the college office and your teachers to submit recommendation letters and transcripts, you must complete this step. You must first complete the Education section of your Common Application. You can confirm your status in your Naviance account. See the Common Application Reference Guide in Naviance (Under Class of 2018 Forms) or see a college counselor for assistance. 
  • Link your Common Application to your Naviance account. This is done by entering the email address you used on your Common Application account when prompted by navigating to “Colleges” > “Colleges I’m Applying to.”
  • Finalizing your College List. The list on your blue sheet should be the same as the list in your Naviance Account as well as your Common Application (when applicable). This list should be balanced, which generally entails 3 likely schools, 3 possible/target schools, and 3 reach schools. Your college counselor can help you in these decisions.
  • A note about teacher recommendations and supplemental recommendations. Typically, a college requires one or two teacher recommendations in addition to the counselor recommendation. Our counsel is to follow these guidelines and not exceed the number of recommendation letters. If you are applying to a specific program that requires a supplement (i.e., arts,) your counselor will gladly guide you through the process.
  • Send your test scores directly from ACT/SAT. Breck does not send test scores to colleges.
  • Show your counselor your application and supplements before submitting. 

If you are applying to a large state university, be aware of priority and rolling deadlines: Though published deadlines may be much later, we advise submitting your applications earlier. In particular, we strongly suggest submitting your University of Minnesota application by the November 1st Priority Deadline. Remember that the college counseling office requests one month advanced notice of a due date to submit your transcript and counselor recommendation.

Also, be sure to note possible early deadlines for scholarship consideration. There is a trend for colleges to have earlier deadlines for merit consideration than their posted Regular Decision deadline. These earlier dates should be listed on the Blue Sheet. 

If you are applying Early Decision or Early Action: These deadlines are usually around November 1 or November 15. Early Decision is suitable for students who are ready to make a binding commitment to a college or university. Early Action is a non-binding application. If you are applying early: 

  • Confirm with your counselor.
  • Notify your teacher recommenders.
  • Be sure to turn in your Request to Send Transcript form (blue sheet) one month before the application deadline.

If you are applying for financial aid: The FAFSA goes live on October 1st! Colleges will use Prior Prior Year (PPY) information to calculate aid. Families may use 2016 taxes to complete the information. 

  • The published cost of attendance for college can be quite substantial. However, financial aid, through merit and need-based awards, can make college more affordable. It is imperative you know the required forms and deadlines for each school to which you are applying. A missed deadline can result in missed money! Check the Net Price Calculator at the college(s) to which you are applying to get a sense of what aid you may be eligible for. Your counselor can help you navigate this process. 
  • We will host Macalester College Director of Financial Aid, Brian Lindeman, on November 2nd who will discuss FAFSA and PROFILE. Please mark your calendar for this highly attended event. More details to follow. 

If you are a potential DI or DII athlete: Make sure you have registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center and confirm with Ms. Papillon. For recruited students, you should be in regular contact with the coaches at schools you are most interested. If not, see your college counselor immediately!

If you plan to submit art supplements: Please check with your counselor and art teacher. Note this process has changed greatly in recent years. 

Standardized Tests

  • The registration deadline for the October SAT has passed.
  • October 28 is the next ACT test date.  Registration deadline has already past. Late registration deadline is October 6th. To register, go to
  • November 4 is the next SAT and Subject Test date. Registration deadline is October 5th. Late registration deadline is October 25th. To register, go to

Upcoming Calendar Items

  • Thursday, October 12, Coffee Talk: Developing a Balanced List, Talking Money, and Answering Your Questions. We will host our 2rd Coffee Talk at 8AM in the Heritage Room at Anderson Ice Arena. These sessions are not intended to replace individual conversations you will have with your counselor and session overviews will be sent following the meeting.  
  • Wednesday, October 18, Seniors are not required to be on campus. Rather, seniors should use this day to work on applications or use it as an additional travel day for MEA weekend. Be productive with this time! Early deadlines are around the corner!
  • Thursday, October 19th , 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!
  • Thursday and Friday, October 19-20 ED/EA Application Help.  Drop in to the College Counseling Office for help on your application and essays.  There will be no appointments; a counselor will be available throughout the day.
  • Monday, October 23 – Monday, October 30, Open Office Hours for Seniors. When not teaching or in meetings, the counselors will make special efforts to be available in the office and around the senior commons and other locations where seniors may be. Seniors should feel comfortable speaking with any member of the college office about any aspect of their application process. We feel this will make counselors more available to more students throughout the school day. 
  • 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 these regional session in lieu of school visits. We will post the ones of which we are aware in Naviance.
  • November 2, FAFSA Workshop. This is an event not to miss. Macalester College Director of Financial Aid, Brian Lindeman, will be on campus to answer questions about the FAFSA and PROFILE. 

College Representative visits to Breck School
Each fall, over 150 representatives visit Breck. It is important that seniors attend the meetings of the colleges that interest them. Seek information, get your questions answered, and make direct contact with reps from schools that most interest you. Often, these representatives read the applications from our students first and then take those applications to their admissions committees. Refer to the college visit list on Naviance and Mustang Minute. Sign up for visits on Naviance on the “College” tab. Students must receive permission to miss class for these meetings.

A note on fall term grades
Please note that we do not have quarter grades. Colleges and universities, particularly those who utilize the binding ED program, may want a grade check-in this fall. This is incentive to continue the momentum you’ve built thus far: continue to engage in class, submit your work on time and thoroughly completed, and get in to ask questions! We will not take a snapshot of grades this year. Rather, we will send grades if they are strong and you wish they be sent and/or the college requests them. 

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