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September Newsletter: Seniors

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.

Parent Questionnaire

PARENTS, PLEASE COMPLETE THE PARENT QUESTIONNAIRE. The insights and responses provide immeasurable value to our work, from the conversations we have with your child to the recommendation letters we craft for your child. Thanks to the many of you have already completed the surveys. To access, navigate to your Naviance account and go to About Me tab, Surveys to Take. If you would prefer, you may use the questionnaires as a guide in composing a letter to your counselor (please send to your counselor and Ms. Papillon). Parents can contact Carrie Papillon for login information. 

Naviance/Family Connection should be the first resource you use when you want to know the latest information in the College Counseling Office. Parents and seniors have individual accounts. On the Home page you will find:

  • The College Counseling Calendar which lists college counseling events, standardized test dates, registration deadlines, and college visits.
  • The Class of 2018 Forms link which will be a repository of important information and forms needed.
  • The Financial Aid 101 reference guide.

On the Colleges tab under My Colleges you will see:

  • Upcoming College Visits. This up-to-date schedule will include all the colleges that have made appointments to visit Breck. Students can use this page to register for college meetings.
  • Colleges I’m Thinking About. This is the student’s working college list, so it is important to ensure this list is current and you have indicated your interest level. This is a valuable tool for you and your counselor to ensure a balanced and complete college list.
  • Colleges I’m Applying To. This will reflect the colleges listed on the Blue Sheet the student submits. This is the reference we will use to send your official school documents to colleges. Only the college counseling staff has access to make changes to this list.

On the About Me tab:

  • Under Official Things
  • Select Profile to verify your GPA is accurate
  • Select Test Scores to verify your list is complete and accurate.

Common Application Workshops

Once again a large majority of the senior class attended at least one of these workshops. Aside from offering a place, time and computer to work, these workshops allowed seniors to speak with counselors and learn about specific aspects of the application. The Reference Guide and notes from the specific programs (Writing the Essay, Applying to Public Institutions, and College-Specific Questions) may be found in Naviance. No application or essay should go out without a counselor’s review. There will be multiple drafts of the essay and “supplement” portions. 

Early Applications

Students will utilize application deadlines in various ways. Some will apply via a binding Early Decision program or through an Early Action, Rolling or Priority program. Many of last year’s seniors were holding a letter of admission in January. Students who anticipate applying Early Decision, Early Action or to a state university (the U or Madison, for example) should schedule an appointment to speak to their counselor. 
All Request to Send Transcript forms (“Blue Sheets”) are due in our office AT LEAST ONE MONTH before the first college application due date.  Therefore, if you are considering one of the early options listed above, your deadline may be as early as September 15 or October 1. Here are steps you take to meet this deadline:

  • Meet with your counselor to finalize your early list, verify all of the application requirements including standardized test requirements, supplements required, and that you have asked the appropriate teachers to write a recommendation for you.
  • Make sure you have submitted two Teacher Recommendation Forms, one for each of the teachers you have asked to write recommendation letters for you. Many of you completed this task before you left for summer break.
  • Submit the completed forms to Ms. Papillon or place in the basket on her desk. 
  • All seniors are responsible for SENDING official score reports directly from the testing agencies to the colleges you are applying. Use the ACT ( and College Board ( websites to request your scores. Please allow four to six weeks.

Coffee with Counselors

We host a series of casual, one-hour meetings for senior parents to address a specific topic. Please note these are not intended to replace individual conversations, but are intended to address specific issues relevant to many, if not all, families. All coffees begin at 8:00 AM and are held in the Heritage Room at the Anderson Ice Arena.

  • September 19: Applying Early Q&A
  • October 12: A Balanced List, Financing College, and Applying to Publics
  • November 7: The Process Moving Forward

If you are unable to attend, you will receive a summary of the discussion shortly following the conversation.


When/Where: Sunday, October 8, from 12:30 to 3:00 PM at Breck School

Breck is the site of this year’s MISP (Minnesota Independent School Partnership) College Fair. All seniors are expected to attend as it is a unique opportunity to connect with college representatives, demonstrate your interest in colleges, and expand your awareness.

Students’ To-Do List  

  • Complete the junior surveys if you have not done so.
  • Submit the Senior Update Form by September 9.
  • Schedule an appointment via Ms. Papillon to meet with your college counselor. It will prove immensely helpful as you finalize your college list, set an application strategy and construct your applications. 
  • Make sure you have fulfilled all the test requirements for the colleges to which you are applying. October 5 is the registration deadline for the November SAT. September 22 is the registration deadline for the October ACT. These may be the last test dates for ED/EA applications.
  • Sign up in Family Connection to attend the college rep meetings that interest you. College Representative visits are very important. Remember, if a college visit is scheduled during one of your classes, you must receive your teacher's written permission to miss the class in advance of the meeting.  Respectfully ask for permission at least a day ahead of time. 
  • Attend the MISP Fair on Sunday, October 8, from 12:30-3:00 PM at Breck School. It is essential that all seniors attend.
  • Plan for the possibility of college travel over MEA weekend, Oct 19-22. Please note: seniors are not required to be on campus Wednesday, October 18. This weekend can be spent visiting colleges or working on applications. Counselors will be available to help.
  • Be on the lookout for additional opportunities such as interviewing skills, essay sessions, and drop-in times. 

Important Dates

September 8 Registration deadline for Oct SAT
September 9 ACT Test at Breck
September 15 ED/EA forms completed and submitted (and on October 1)
September 19 Coffee with Counselors | Topic: Applying Early Q&A
September 22 Registration deadline for Oct ACT
October 1 Blue Sheets due for ED/EA
October 5 Registration deadline for Nov SAT
October 7 SAT and SAT Subject Test at Breck
October 8 MISP Fair at Breck School
October 12 Coffee with Counselors | Topic: A Balanced List, Financing College
October 18-20 MEA weekend trips & drop-in assistance
October 28 ACT test date

Recommended Reading

1. The Launching Years: Strategies for Parenting from Senior Year to College Life, by Laura Kastner
2. Almost Grown:  Launching Your Child from High School to College, by Patricia Pasik


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