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September Newsletter: Juniors

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Welcome back!

The College Counseling Office believes clear and regular communication makes for a successful college search process. The monthly newsletter serves to provide general information by grade to the Breck community. We ask that you read the information relevant to your child and encourage you to review the entire newsletter to appreciate the scope of the college counseling curriculum. These newsletters are sent via the monthly broadcast. You may find the archived newsletters for this academic year here.

We recognize the build up to the much hyped junior year — increased work and expectations, “college” becomes all-consuming or at least unavoidable, and the lack of “fun.” It is important to find a balance this year in all facets of your life. Perhaps the greatest lessons you are learning now are how to learn, how to manage your time, and how to communicate with your peers and faculty. 

We believe the college process has an appropriate place in the lives of our juniors. It is best approached with the long-term in mind: you will have a college list by the fall of your senior year (though it need not be a finalized list until the winter), you will be admitted to college, and you will find yourself attending a college that fits you. The College Counseling Office is here to help you clear through the clutter and hype to achieve these ends. The counselors are experienced, work as a team, maintain relationships with admissions professionals, and have your best interests at heart. Remember, no one can promise results. However, we will promise you an unsurpassed process. 

To that end, please read the information below as you begin to plan your year.  We have a number of programs planned for you this coming year, and we are looking forward to working with you this school year.

Mark Your Calendar

College Representative Visits throughout the fall | College representatives visit Breck School throughout the fall. Juniors should feel free to attend the meetings if the visit time is a free hour.  In particular circumstances, juniors will be able to leave class with permission from the college office and their teacher.  The college visit schedule can be found on Naviance. Around the time of the MISP Fair, we will host many colleges in a unique schedule. 

October 5 and 6 Grade 11 College Programs | On Thursday and Friday, the College Counseling Office will host college visits, run programs and offer pre for the ACT and practice PSAT. Juniors are expected to attend. These events should not conflict with other obligations and juniors should still be able to attend Parent/Teacher Conferences. Please be mindful of these programs when scheduling conferences!

MISP Fair • October 8, from 12:30 to 3:00 PM • Breck School | Breck is the site of this year’s MISP (Minnesota Independent School Partnership) College Fair. All juniors are expected to attend as it is a unique opportunity to "shop" for colleges, expand your awareness, and connect with college representatives.

A Note on Testing in the Junior Year 

As in all facets of the college process, for as much as this process is universal, it is individual. Some students find it appropriate to first take a standardized test in the fall of their junior year whereas others elect to first test in February or March. There is not one path to standardized testing success. We strongly encourage students to take the test of their choice at least twice and no more than three times by the fall of their senior year. And, yes, the fall of senior year can be a good time to test! Don’t rush into testing, but enter into testing with a plan and with adequate preparation. Your counselor will be instrumental in this aspect of the process. 

This year we request all juniors to take the PSAT and a Practice ACT.

  • On Saturday, October 14, the PSAT test will be given at Breck School.  The college office will register your child. This is the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship Competition; more importantly, however, it offers a simulated SAT experience.
  • On Wednesday, October 18, a Practice ACT will be administered at Breck. This is an unofficial test and will be administered without accommodations. 

MEA Weekend – October 19 & 20

Families may travel near and far over this weekend, and we encourage you to work in a college visit or two. Not traveling? There are many local opportunities to visit as most colleges and universities in Minnesota and surrounding states have special visit schedules to accommodate students. College counselors can assist in planning. The College Counseling Office will host a visit to a local college or two on Thursday. Be on the lookout for registration!

Other Important Dates

January 24 | Junior Application Case Studies Workshop 
Spring Break | Possible College Visits!
June 8, 2018 | Essay Workshop for Juniors

Recommended Reading

1. The College Admissions Mystique, by Bill Mayher
2. The All-in-One College Guide, by Barron's

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