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End-of-Year 2018: Rising Sophomores | Class of 2021

Blog Type: 
Date Posted: 
Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Rising Sophomores | Class of 2020

Congrats on finishing your first year of Upper School. Enjoy the summer!  During the beginning of the school year, the college counselors will meet with sophomores as a class to discuss various topics.

  • Mark your calendars now:
    • Wednesday, September 12, 5:30 PM: Grade 10 Parent College Counseling meeting.
    • Saturday, October 13: PSAT at BreckSchool 
    • Thursday, October 18 and Friday, October 19: MEA Weekend, Visit colleges. There are many local options!
    • Wednesday, October 17: Practice ACT for all sophomores. 
  • As school begins next year, we will continue to use the monthly College Counseling Newsletter to announce updates and keep you informed about the topics discussed during sophomore class meetings with the college counselors.

End-of-Year 2018: Rising Juniors | Class of 2020

Blog Type: 
Date Posted: 
Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Rising Juniors | Class of 2020

You are halfway through your high school career! Grades and experiences carry increasing importance, so be sure to finish strong.  Summer will hopefully offer you an opportunity to decompress and relax. 

Things to do this spring & summer

  • All interested students should have registered here for the August Breakaway Test Prep program hosted at Breck if you are interested. Cost is $695. If cost is a concern, contact your college counselor. 
  • Do something interesting. 
  • Visit a college campus or two and take along the College Visit Guide found in Naviance. 
  • Mark your calendars now:
    • Wednesday, August 29, 6:30 PM: Grade 11 Student and Parent College meeting.
    • Sunday, September 23: MISP Fair hosted at Mounds Park Academy.
    • Saturday, October 13: PSAT at Breck School for all juniors.
    • Thursday, October 18 and Friday, October 19: MEA Weekend, Visit colleges. There are many local options!
    • Wednesday, October 17: Practice ACT.

Next fall will be very busy. Be certain to reflect on this year and develop goals for next year. Write down the goals, be flexible to adapt to opportunities as they arise and revisit them often. They will help provide direction and purpose for the latter half of your Upper School career. 

End-of-Year 2018: Rising Seniors | Class of 2019

Blog Type: 
Date Posted: 
Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Rising Seniors | Class of 2019

When the student leadership team for next year was announced it signified a passing of the torch from the Class of 2018 to the Class of 2019. In the coming weeks and months ahead, you may notice a change in your relationships with faculty and administrators. You are partners in making the Breck community what it will be next year. To prepare for this, it is important that you finish this year strong. 

The close of the year is busy, so be sure you have scheduled an appointment with your college counselor!  By the close of this month, each senior and a parent or guardian should have met with their college counselor to cover a range of topics that will help prepare you for the college process such as teacher recommendations, college list and expected outcomes, testing plans, possible college trips, financial aid considerations, and more. 

Speaking of end of year events, we have held three programs to launch students into the college process:

  • College Essay Workshop #1: We held the first in our series of three essay workshops. This first workshop was intended to launch the writing process by critically analyzing some college essays and considering them in context of the larger applications. It is our expectations that students will generate ideas this summer. Some details from the meeting are posted in the Google folder in Naviance. 
  • Interview Workshops were held on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. The first was a presentation (also found in the Google folder in Naviance) given by Adam Webster, Senior Associate Dean of Admissions at Carleton College. His presentation helped provide students with insights and perspectives from someone who trains interviewers. It was fun, insightful and provided those key takeaways for anyone intending to interview this summer. Wednesday’s workshop were one-hour, five-student member groups hosted by Alexandra Renslo, anchor at CCX Media. Attendees were provided insights from an experienced interviewer and had a chance to practice in front of their peers! This is always a well-attended and hugely popular experience.

End of the Academic Year Events

All interested students should have registered here for the August Breakaway Test Prep program hosted at Breck if you are interested. Cost is $695. If cost is a concern, contact your college counselor. 

Things to do this spring & summer

  • Discuss teacher recommendations with your college counselor. Many students will ask TWO teachers from 11th grade. You should ask at least one this spring. A completed and signed “green sheet” serves as confirmation. You may pick one up at the College Counseling Office.
  • Develop a test prep plan.
  • Finish Naviance surveys.
  • If you are willing, share your memoir with your college counselor. 
  • Develop a working and balanced college list to be finalized in the fall. 
  • Add these colleges to your Naviance account; “My Colleges > Colleges I’m Thinking About”
  • Research and visit colleges.
  • Discuss college financing as a family. 
  • Tryout colleges’ financial aid calculators. Each college is required to have a calculator on its website; the calculator can provide some insight into what you may expect to pay for the college. Please note that each college will use its own methodology for calculating aid, so do not assume a one-calculation-fits-all approach. 
  • Visit the College Navigator website (http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/) or other sources to learn the percent of freshman class receiving aid, net costs, and more. This information can be invaluable at any stage of the process.  
  • As school begins next year, we will continue to use the monthly College Counseling Newsletter to announce updates and keep you informed about the college application process. 
  • Mark your calendars now:
    • August 7, 9, and 16: Common App and essay workshops 
    • Monday, August 27, 6:30 pm: Grade 12 Student and Parent College Meeting
    • Sunday, September 23: MISP Fair hosted at Mounds Park Academy

Enjoy this summer! It is a time to relax, catch up on sleep and pleasure reading, and spend time with friends and family. Many of you are also exceedingly busy as well! 

Parents, we ask that you complete the Parent Questionnaires in Naviance. You can respond to each prompt or take the prompt and craft a letter or document that offers insights to your child. If you need help accessing your Naviance account, please call 763-381-8258. 

End-of-Year 2018: Class of 2018

Blog Type: 
Date Posted: 
Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Happy spring! 

Now that the school year is in the rearview mirror, it is time to take a breath, reflect on the events and accomplishments of the year, and begin to think about summer and next year. 

Seniors | Class of 2018

Congratulations on making your college selections! We are proud of the way you have gone about this process. You will be attending nearly 80 different colleges in 25 states and internationally. We look forward to hearing from you and your experiences!

Around this time you will receive notices from your attending college requesting that we send your final transcript. We will send your final transcript electronically when grades are finalized, by the end of June. 

Leaving home can be difficult. You have built friendships and connections this year and, for some, for 14 or 15 years. People know you and care about you. You know your way around. You carry memories that will last your lifetime. You have a faculty and staff that will miss you dearly.  And, speaking as a lower school parent, you have a first grade buddy whom you have impacted more than you know who will be overjoyed to hear from you (so will their parents!)

Next fall, you will be in a new and exciting place. Yet it will be different. People won’t know you. You may even need a map to get around. Everything is new. It can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. However, you possess the foundation and skills to thrive. 

  • Be sure to connect with all parts of your new community. Pursue those activities and opportunities that you know you will enjoy and some that are new. They will not only add to your college experience but will expand your network and friend group immensely. 
  • Happiness in college is strongly rooted in the friends you make. Be open to everyone. Drop the cell phone. Get to know those around you. It may feel like camp for the first months, so take this opportunity to put yourself out there!
  • The best first step to successful and engaging college experience is to get off to a good start. Get to know your professors by getting in to see them during office hours, form study groups, and go to departmental speakers. 
  • Remember who you are but be open to new ideas. For the next four years, you can focus on yourself and your learning before entering “the real world.” Stretch yourself. 
  • Lastly, remember that October and November can be long months. The weather begins to take a turn. The days become shorter. The nights longer. Things turn gray and/or brown. Classes can become overwhelming. The newness of college dims and friendships can strain. It is during this time when your happiness and success in college hinges more on you than the place. You realize that it is up to you to make the experience what it is and what it will be. This is when you take ownership. It can be difficult, but if you make the efforts early (as suggested above), you will find yourself firmly rooted and poised for success. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. And, please, keep us posted!

April Newsletter: Seniors

Blog Type: 
Date Posted: 
Monday, April 2, 2018

Seniors

College Decisions – Much Great News! 

Congratulations on all the great news! Our students have been accepted to many wonderful colleges the world over. Each year at this time, I find myself amazed at the scope of where our students apply (and are admitted) as well as to the genuine desire to find the college that best “fits.” 

By now, seniors should have received college decisions from every college. While we reach out to the colleges to which our students apply, we only hear decisions from the students. Many students have kept their college counselor in the loop throughout. Now is a good time to share the results with your counselor and to begin devising a strategy on college selection! 

An Article for Parents

Here is a great piece by Valerie Strauss in The Washington Post directed towards parents of seniors. Although it was written three years ago, much of it supports the senior parent conversation the College Counseling office hosted in late February. We invite you to read it

Waitlisted? 

Each year students will receive waitlist offers. In recent years, colleges have increasingly turned to the waitlist as a way to mitigate risk. Colleges are going out conservatively with admits and rely on the waitlist to fill in the class, most likely after the May 1 deadline. While some colleges may move to their waitlist prior to May 1, most will wait to see how the class settles before doing so. 

If a student wishes to pursue a waitlist opportunity, please speak with your college counselor ASAP. It is important to be on the same page and to devise a strategy. We will likely advise constructing a letter or email to the college, reiterating interest and providing an update; it is imperative that the senior and counselor work together in this endeavor. 

Looking Forward: Depositing, Financial Aid, Admitted Student Days, etc.

Along with acceptance letters, comes the invitation to visit campus for admitted student days. Please note that while these programs are celebratory in nature and are often highly popular, admitted students can visit most any time during the month of April. Such programs often bring opportunities to meet with professors, attend a club fair, meet other admitted students and more. Some colleges even offer special programs for parents, too! These days provide an opportunity to learn much about the college. The downside of admitted student days is that the program is not a “usual” day at the college. Visiting on a regular day, students can see the college in action – get a sense of what the dining room is like during the noon rush, see how students interact with each other, their professors and the staff, and more. 

We suggest you speak with your college counselor to devise a college visit plan, if one is necessary. Classes go on as do the vast array of athletics, organizations, and involvements that make our students attractive applicants in the first place. Try to minimize absences. Spring is often very busy and extended absences can create unnecessary obstacles. 

You should only submit one enrollment deposit. Often this is a small percentage of the cost or a flat payment, often around $500. Please know this is how colleges track commitments. By taking up more than one spot, you are limiting the opportunity for other students! Some colleges will allow you to submit a fully refundable housing deposit. You can feel free to do so. Breck will only send one final transcript. 

Before depositing, families should know the entire cost of attendance as well as all financial aid. If you have questions or would like to discuss options and financial aid awards, please contact Carrie Papillon to schedule a time to speak with your college counselor. With the rise of tuition, we are finding these conversations increasingly important. 

​Information for All Grades

Here’s wishing you and your family had a healthy and restful spring break. A look at the school calendar shows mostly five-day weeks, which should afford some regularity and structure. However, in practice, this can be a rather busy time with many moving parts. The spring sports season, music department performances, end-of-year programs, Advanced Placement testing, May Program, and more create a swirl of activity. 

The many moving pieces reflect Breck’s distinctiveness. It is a wonderful place where students will develop the habits and perspectives to be successful in college and life beyond. It is a place that prepares our students for college success and happiness by providing an environment that fosters relationships amongst peers, encourages students to engage with faculty, and challenges and supports our students academically and co-curricularly. 

And though the college process is creeping earlier, it is important that Breck’s college counseling efforts remain thoughtful and purposeful.  You will hear the counselors encourage students to continue to challenge themselves AND maintain good balance in their lives. This looks different for each student. We may encourage more challenging courses or outside activities. We often challenge students to reach a bit more outside their comfort zone. Sometimes we may counsel to let up a bit on the intensity, especially if quality is waning. Likewise, we will encourage a student to delve more into an outside commitment in order to build relationships, experiences and memories beyond these walls. These are the habits and experiences that not only comprise the Breck experience but also provide the firm foundation for success in life beyond Breck. 

College Counseling Office

Jonathan Nicholson
Director of College Counseling
763-381-8248

Susan Graham
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8246

Andrea O’Connell
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8138

Carrie Papillon
College Counseling Office Assistant
763-381-8258

April Newsletter: Juniors

Blog Type: 
Date Posted: 
Monday, April 2, 2018

Juniors

Parent Survey – complete ASAP!

One of the most critical elements of the college process is the information and perspective parents provide, to the student as well as to the college counselor. You can access the two parts of the parent survey via your Naviance account. If you need assistance contact Carrie Papillon.  

Schedule a College Counselor Meeting!

It is our expectation that parents will meet with their child’s college counselor at least once before summer. To schedule an appointment, please call Carrie Papillon (763-381-8258). Spring is a very busy time for all; we encourage you to schedule a time soon!

Upcoming April and May Items

  • Our next Coffee Talk will be held at 8:00-9:00 AM in the Heritage Room at Anderson Ice Arena on April 26. The topic will be “Common App Nuts and Bolts.” The informal format provides opportunities for questions and comments.  
  • Advanced Placement (AP) Testing will be held on the main campus again this year. Students should know the dates and times of their exams. All students are required to attend one of the pre-registration sessions later this month. Students should watch the Mustang Minute for the dates and times. AP test are scheduled by the College Board and take place during the school day. Students are expected to discuss with their teachers possible class absences caused by the AP test. 
  • All juniors should have submitted their plans for May Program. Remember, this is an opportunity to learn more about a possible career opportunity, to further one’s involvement or pursuits in a particular area, or another unique outlet. Be sure to keep your college counselor updated! 

What’s coming up in June?

Register for the August ACT Prep sessions. Please look for more details upon returning from Spring Break. If cost is an impediment to register, please contact your college counselor.

Watch for sign-up details for two separate workshops for juniors. College Counseling will host an 

  • Essay Writing Workshop for juniors the morning of June 8.
  • College Interviewing Workshop during the week following graduation. Students will work for an hour in groups of four with Cindy Hilger.

We realize this is the week after graduation and may conflict with travels. However, this opportunity was too good to pass up. Please mark your calendars now! 

​Information for All Grades

Here’s wishing you and your family had a healthy and restful spring break. A look at the school calendar shows mostly five-day weeks, which should afford some regularity and structure. However, in practice, this can be a rather busy time with many moving parts. The spring sports season, music department performances, end-of-year programs, Advanced Placement testing, May Program, and more create a swirl of activity. 

The many moving pieces reflect Breck’s distinctiveness. It is a wonderful place where students will develop the habits and perspectives to be successful in college and life beyond. It is a place that prepares our students for college success and happiness by providing an environment that fosters relationships amongst peers, encourages students to engage with faculty, and challenges and supports our students academically and co-curricularly. 

And though the college process is creeping earlier, it is important that Breck’s college counseling efforts remain thoughtful and purposeful.  You will hear the counselors encourage students to continue to challenge themselves AND maintain good balance in their lives. This looks different for each student. We may encourage more challenging courses or outside activities. We often challenge students to reach a bit more outside their comfort zone. Sometimes we may counsel to let up a bit on the intensity, especially if quality is waning. Likewise, we will encourage a student to delve more into an outside commitment in order to build relationships, experiences and memories beyond these walls. These are the habits and experiences that not only comprise the Breck experience but also provide the firm foundation for success in life beyond Breck. 

College Counseling Office

Jonathan Nicholson
Director of College Counseling
763-381-8248

Susan Graham
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8246

Andrea O’Connell
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8138

Carrie Papillon
College Counseling Office Assistant
763-381-8258

April Newsletter: Sophomores

Blog Type: 
Date Posted: 
Monday, April 2, 2018

Sophomores

Standardized Testing Plan and Prep

This summer is a time for all students in the Class of 2020 to do some form of standardized test preparation. Most students will sit for a standardized test in the fall and many will take the test of their choice – ACT or SAT – twice by the end of their junior year. Whether your first formalized testing experience will be in August or April, it is vital to use the summer time to prep for the test. 

We have once again partnered with Breakaway College Test Prep to offer an August ACT prep class. 

Register for the August ACT Prep sessions. Please look for more details upon returning from Spring Break. If cost is an impediment to register, please contact your college counselor. 

Meetings with Counselors and Course Scheduling

By now, all sophomores should have met with their college counselor to discuss a range of topics. The chief objective of the meeting was to discuss junior scheduling and lay out possibilities for senior year in advance of scheduling conferences with advisors. If things have changed or there are follow up conversations that should be had, please contact Carrie Papillon (763-381-8258) to schedule a meeting with your college counselor. Some sophomores will schedule another brief meeting with their college counselor to outline summer plans. 

Finish the Year Strong

“It’s not how you start, it is how you finish.” Now that spring break is in the rearview mirror, there is a sprint to exams in mid-May. Typically the sophomore year can present increased challenges and grades do tend to drop a bit from freshman year. However, there is still time to improve or maintain positive momentum. 

​Information for All Grades

Here’s wishing you and your family had a healthy and restful spring break. A look at the school calendar shows mostly five-day weeks, which should afford some regularity and structure. However, in practice, this can be a rather busy time with many moving parts. The spring sports season, music department performances, end-of-year programs, Advanced Placement testing, May Program, and more create a swirl of activity. 

The many moving pieces reflect Breck’s distinctiveness. It is a wonderful place where students will develop the habits and perspectives to be successful in college and life beyond. It is a place that prepares our students for college success and happiness by providing an environment that fosters relationships amongst peers, encourages students to engage with faculty, and challenges and supports our students academically and co-curricularly. 

And though the college process is creeping earlier, it is important that Breck’s college counseling efforts remain thoughtful and purposeful.  You will hear the counselors encourage students to continue to challenge themselves AND maintain good balance in their lives. This looks different for each student. We may encourage more challenging courses or outside activities. We often challenge students to reach a bit more outside their comfort zone. Sometimes we may counsel to let up a bit on the intensity, especially if quality is waning. Likewise, we will encourage a student to delve more into an outside commitment in order to build relationships, experiences and memories beyond these walls. These are the habits and experiences that not only comprise the Breck experience but also provide the firm foundation for success in life beyond Breck. 

College Counseling Office

Jonathan Nicholson
Director of College Counseling
763-381-8248

Susan Graham
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8246

Andrea O’Connell
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8138

Carrie Papillon
College Counseling Office Assistant
763-381-8258

April Newsletter: Freshmen

Blog Type: 
Date Posted: 
Monday, April 2, 2018

Information for All Grades

Here’s wishing you and your family had a healthy and restful spring break. A look at the school calendar shows mostly five-day weeks, which should afford some regularity and structure. However, in practice, this can be a rather busy time with many moving parts. The spring sports season, music department performances, end-of-year programs, Advanced Placement testing, May Program, and more create a swirl of activity. 

The many moving pieces reflect Breck’s distinctiveness. It is a wonderful place where students will develop the habits and perspectives to be successful in college and life beyond. It is a place that prepares our students for college success and happiness by providing an environment that fosters relationships amongst peers, encourages students to engage with faculty, and challenges and supports our students academically and co-curricularly. 

And though the college process is creeping earlier, it is important that Breck’s college counseling efforts remain thoughtful and purposeful.  You will hear the counselors encourage students to continue to challenge themselves AND maintain good balance in their lives. This looks different for each student. We may encourage more challenging courses or outside activities. We often challenge students to reach a bit more outside their comfort zone. Sometimes we may counsel to let up a bit on the intensity, especially if quality is waning. Likewise, we will encourage a student to delve more into an outside commitment in order to build relationships, experiences and memories beyond these walls. These are the habits and experiences that not only comprise the Breck experience but also provide the firm foundation for success in life beyond Breck. 

Freshmen

Continue Developing Good Habits

It’s important to develop good habits. If you’ve found some strategies successful, great! If not, now is the time to refine. See Ms. Sirianni, talk to your advisor, other teachers or older students. There’s no one pathway to success, so continue to experiment! 

Summer Plans

Now is the time to think about summer plans. Yes, it’s time for some rest and relaxation, but find ways to make your summer productive. Read. Volunteer. Be active. As you plan ahead to sophomore year, think about ways you can further your involvement or pursue other opportunities.

College Counseling Office

Jonathan Nicholson
Director of College Counseling
763-381-8248

Susan Graham
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8246

Andrea O’Connell
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8138

Carrie Papillon
College Counseling Office Assistant
763-381-8258

March Newsletter: Seniors

Blog Type: 
Date Posted: 
Friday, March 2, 2018

Looking Forward: College Admissions Decisions and Senior Spring

The college counselors led an informal discussion last week for senior parents to share insights on admission trends and what to anticipate through spring, summer, and into next fall. Staci Prior and the counselors offered advice and perspective on how we can best support our seniors. They also shared insights on other items such as how to approach spring college visits, how to make the decision on which college to deposit, and how to support your child in their transition through the first year of college. 

All college admissions decisions should be received by April 1, with many decisions arriving prior to this date. In preparation, we encourage students to consider the following:

  1. Keep your focus on what is important. We decide what defines us. College admission decisions do not give value to what you have accomplished and who you are as friends, children, students, and citizens. Most students will hear a combination of “good” and “bad” news. Families should therefore prepare for the discussions that allow for a range of decisions. Remember, students applied to colleges they wished to attend, and admission to any combination of them is celebrated. 
  2. It’s not personal. It is difficult to not take decisions personally, especially when you put so much of yourself in your application. However, colleges are building a class and decisions are not made in a vacuum. There are many reasons that colleges will make the decisions they do. 
  3. Open all correspondence from colleges to which you applied, both hard copy and electronic. Many institutions who release decisions electronically will email applicants prior to the posting and releasing of decisions. 
  4. Keep your college counselor updated. The College Counseling Office is in contact with all institutions to which our students apply, but colleges release decisions to applicants. Do not expect us to know college decisions unless you inform us!
  5. Conversations can be helpful. Deciding which college to attend can be the most stressful part of the entire process. The college counselors are here to assist.
  6. Waitlists. You may remain on one or multiple college waitlists. Prior to taking action, speak with your college counselor.
  7. April can be busier than you think. This is the last push for colleges to yield students they have admitted. There will be admitted student weekends, offers for an overnight visit and more. Remember, if you are to miss school, you must receive permission from your teachers, the Upper School Director and the College Counseling Office one week prior to making your plans. 
  8. Financial Aid could factor into the decision. A general rule of thumb is for a student to not borrow more than they will make in their first year out of college, which some financial aid experts put at $8,000/year, for a total of $32,000 over four years. If you have questions about your financial aid package, contact your college counselor. And, you should not deposit at a college until you know the financial aid package
  9. Deposits. Due by May 1. Only place an enrollment deposit to one school. Once you deposit, please notify the remaining colleges that you respectfully decline their offer of admission. You may remain on waitlist(s) elsewhere.  If you elect to stay on a waitlist, anticipate paying a deposit to another college as many students will not learn of acceptance off a waitlist until after May 1. 
  10. You are part of a community. Your classmates are going through the same emotional roller coaster as you. Be respectful and positive. 
  11. And, you are a leader. Remember you set the tone for the entire school. The younger students are watching you. So are the faculty, staff, parents and others. Your actions will continue to affect others.
  12. All decisions are based on successful completion of senior year. Don’t just cross the finish line, sprint past it. Colleges require final transcripts before a student can enroll, and Breck will send your final transcript to the college to which you deposit. However, they reserve the right to retract an acceptance if grades or behavior slide. 

AP Tests

Students have received confirmation of his/her AP enrollment and the CollegeBoard’s Bulletin for AP Students and Parents from AP teachers. Students and parents are expected to review the material. AP tests will be given on Breck campus. All students enrolled in an AP class are required to sit for the AP exam per Breck’s Handbook:

For students in AP courses, the AP exam will stand in for the final. Students are expected to demonstrate effort commensurate with their abilities on these exams. Those students who are deemed to have not demonstrated such effort may be required to take the final. 

Information for All Upper School Students

Best of UK Consortium

Breck will be hosting the Best of UK Consortium on Monday, March 12, from 6:30-9:00 PM in Breck School's Chapel. The program consists of information and guidance for students thinking about applying to a UK university, about the UK UCAS application system, as well as an introductory presentation about the advantages of studying in England, and short presentations about each represented university (Bristol University, Durham University, Southampton University, and the University of York), before breaking out to a mini fair. This is for both parents and students. Please RSVP here.

2018 AP Exam Information 

AP instructors have distributed the Bulletin for AP Students and Parents 2017-2018, a reference for families and students. AP classes are constructed to emulate a college-level course, and the AP tests are designed to assess student proficiency on the material. AP scores may be used for placement and credit at post-secondary institutions, but each institution sets its own policy. To learn more about AP courses and exams, visit www.collegeboard.org/apstudents or speak with a college counselor. 

Please keep the bulletin handy as it contains helpful information, including:

  • Page 5 has important exam day information
  • Page 6 explains how to ensure all your exam material matches properly
  • Page 8 has a useful checklist. AP STUDIO ART students should discuss their portfolio submission timeline with Ms. Affleck or Ms. Sagar.

AP Registration

All students currently enlisted in AP courses at Breck are automatically registered for the respective AP exam(s) and their Breck account charged the AP testing fee.

AP Testing Calendar

The AP exam dates and times are set by the College Board and may be found below. Please mark your calendars now and reserve these dates and times. All AP exams will be conducted on campus. Students will be expected to be ready to enter the room at their respective time. Late arrivals may not be admitted to the testing room.

Note that AP exams take place during the school day. Therefore, students will need to plan ahead and discuss with the teachers of classes they will miss on how they should proceed with class notes and assignments. If students will miss their exam day, they should notify Ms. Papillon as soon as possible. 

WEEK 1 MORNING | 8:00 AM AFTERNOON | 12:00 NOON
Monday, May 7 Chemistry  
Tuesday, May 8 Spanish Language and Culture Art History
    Physics I: Algebra Based
Wednesday, May 9 English Literature and Composition  
Friday, May 11 U.S. History  
     
WEEK 2 MORNING | 8:00 AM AFTERNOON | 12:00 NOON
Monday, May 14 Biology Physics C: Mechanics/Electricity and Magnetism
  Music Theory  
Tuesday, May 15 Calculus AB French
  Calculus BC  
Wednesday, May 16 English Language and Composition  
Thursday, May 17   Statistics

College Counseling Office

Jonathan Nicholson
Director of College Counseling
763-381-8248

Susan Graham
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8246

Andrea O’Connell
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8138

Carrie Papillon
College Counseling Office Assistant
763-381-8258

March Newsletter: Juniors

Blog Type: 
Date Posted: 
Friday, March 2, 2018

With Spring Break approaching and what often feels like a sprint through May following thereafter, we have included a lot of information in this month’s newsletter.

Please note there is material for both 10th- and 11th-grade families as well. 

Building the College List

Each junior should head into the summer with a balanced college list constructed in consultation with your college counselor. Now is a good time to meet with your counselor to start building that balanced list and talking about “the process.” Counselors will use current test scores to begin placing colleges into groups: 

Likely: ≥ 80% chance of admission
Possible: ≥50% chance of admission
Reach ≤ 25% chance of admission
Far reach < 10% chance of admission

It is our advice for students to build a substantive list of schools now in order to appropriately research and potentially visit them. It is a common tendency to first latch on to known schools; it is the counselors’ job to expand the list, to challenge assumptions, and to put the focus on the student and the fit. The size of the list will ebb and flow over the course of the coming months as your child figures out fit and begins to prioritize what is most important in the search. 

The Role of Parents and Guardians in the Process

We firmly believe that parents and guardians know their children the best and are integral to a successful college process. While we have already entered into conversations about the process (course scheduling, testing plan, etc), we look forward to venturing further into conversations about colleges, fit, and developing “the list.” To that end, we ask from parents and guardians:

  • Schedule a Spring Meeting with Parent(s), Student & Your College Counselor. We encourage parents to meet with their child’s counselor prior to the end of school. Often the best arrangement is with parent(s), child, and counselor. Please contact Carrie Papillon (carrie.papillon@breckschool.org or 763-381-8258) to schedule an appointment beginning March 16.
  • Complete the Parent Surveys! Each parent has a unique Naviance account. In addition to the many college search features it offers, there is a survey for each parent to complete that affords your college counselor deep and unique insights into your child. Login to your Naviance account; click on the About Me tab; there is a link to the survey in the left column. 

Junior Parent/Counselor Coffee Talks at Anderson Ice Arena

The College Counseling Office will host an informal conversation every few weeks in the spring to discuss a particular college admission topic. These will be held from 8:00-9:00 AM in the Heritage Room at the Anderson Ice Arena.

  • March 8: Building a Balanced List 
  • April 26: Common Application Nuts and Bolts
  • May 30: Senior Year – What’s It like?

Spring Break

Are you visiting colleges over spring break? Here is a guide that can help spur conversations. The vital piece of this entire process is the self-reflection; opening a variety of college experiences to your child can result in some wonderful conversations that can be guided by the list of questions included in the mailing. 

Standardized Testing

By now, all juniors should have developed a standardized testing plan with their college counselor and most have taken one. Most juniors will have sit for two tests during their junior year. For some juniors, SAT Subject Tests may be a part of the plan. Please speak to your college counselor. 

Junior (Rising Senior) Workshops in June

We plan to have one or more workshops for rising seniors right after the end of the school year. 

  • Essay writing workshop on Friday, June 8, 9:00-noon.
  • Interview workshop on Monday, June 11 and Tuesday, June 12. Sign-up will take place shortly. 

We will keep you posted as details are set. We hope this will be a helpful bit of information as you begin to make your summer plans.

Juniors and Sophomores

AP Tests

Students have received confirmation of his/her AP exam date and the CollegeBoard’s Bulletin for AP Students and Parents from AP teachers. Students and parents are expected to review the material. AP tests will be given on Breck. All students enrolled in an AP class are required to sit for the AP exam.

Summer Test Prep

All students should set aside time prepare for standardized tests over the summer. Those students who are able to plan for prep over the course of the summer months can alleviate added time stressors to their schedule during the academic year.  There are many types of prep offered by many companies. 

Junior  and sophomore parents will receive an email introducing the standardized test preparation class offered by Breakaway College Test Prep. The class is not required, but rather offered as a service to our families. Please note the dates and times of the courses as well as the need to schedule a practice test prior to and after the test prep class. The registration deadline is not until May 5, but some of the testing times may fill. Ron Michalak, founder of the company, has structured the 12-hour class for our students and has attempted to limit the financial burden for families. Please contact your child’s college counselor should financial limitations be a potential obstacle. 

Think Summer

By this time, college counselors have met with most sophomores and juniors to discuss scheduling. These conversations have allowed us to learn more about your child, provide input and guidance as they choose classes for next year, gain a better sense of how they are connected with the Breck community and beyond, and learn more about how they spend their "free" time. In some of our conversations we have broached the topic of summer programs. While we philosophically believe summer break is a good time for students to rest, relax and reconnect with family, for some students it is an opportunity to explore academic and/or personal interests, cultivate leadership skills, or try something different. Remember, students reveal their interests in how they spend their time

For summer programs, like the college process, there is not a "one size fits all" solution as programs range in focus, location, duration, cost, and prerequisites. In addition, we strongly believe students should approach these programs out of personal interest and not for the sole purpose of impressing a college. We recognize that many families are receiving information about summer programs and may have questions, and we would like to know what you have planned for the summer! Should you have specific questions about summer programs or other opportunities for your student, please do not hesitate to contact your student's college counselor.

MEF College Fairs

For sophomores and juniors who would like to get a jumpstart on the college process, the Minnesota Association for College Admission Counseling (MACAC) will host a series of fairs targeting all Minnesota high school students, and our colleagues at Hopkins and Eden Prairie have issued a special invitation to Breck. To view the institutions that will be in attendance, please click on the following link and select the location, http://www.mn-acac.org/mefcalendar. This fair is different from the fall MISP fair that is hosted in part by Breck. Nonetheless, this will provide sophomores the opportunity to see a wide range of colleges, to learn of programs and opportunities that are available, and to enter into the college process in an informal manner. For juniors, it is a chance to make contact with a college representative, connect with a specific college that may be in attendance, or to learn about schools that may not be on their radar. If you have any questions, please contact your college counselor. 

Information for All Upper School Students

Best of UK Consortium

Breck will be hosting the Best of UK Consortium on Monday, March 12, from 6:30-9:00 PM in Breck School's Chapel. The program consists of information and guidance for students thinking about applying to a UK university, about the UK UCAS application system, as well as an introductory presentation about the advantages of studying in England, and short presentations about each represented university (Bristol University, Durham University, Southampton University, and the University of York), before breaking out to a mini fair. This is for both parents and students. Please RSVP here.

2018 AP Exam Information 

AP instructors have distributed the Bulletin for AP Students and Parents 2017-2018, a reference for families and students. AP classes are constructed to emulate a college-level course, and the AP tests are designed to assess student proficiency on the material. AP scores may be used for placement and credit at post-secondary institutions, but each institution sets its own policy. To learn more about AP courses and exams, visit www.collegeboard.org/apstudents or speak with a college counselor. 

Please keep the bulletin handy as it contains helpful information, including:

  • Page 5 has important exam day information
  • Page 6 explains how to ensure all your exam material matches properly
  • Page 8 has a useful checklist. AP STUDIO ART students should discuss their portfolio submission timeline with Ms. Affleck or Ms. Sagar.

AP Registration

All students currently enlisted in AP courses at Breck are automatically registered for the respective AP exam(s) and their Breck account charged the AP testing fee.

AP Testing Calendar

The AP exam dates and times are set by the College Board and may be found below. Please mark your calendars now and reserve these dates and times. All AP exams will be conducted on campus. Students will be expected to be ready to enter the room at their respective time. Late arrivals may not be admitted to the testing room.

Note that AP exams take place during the school day. Therefore, students will need to plan ahead and discuss with the teachers of classes they will miss on how they should proceed with class notes and assignments. If students will miss their exam day, they should notify Ms. Papillon as soon as possible. 

WEEK 1 MORNING | 8:00 AM AFTERNOON | 12:00 NOON
Monday, May 7 Chemistry  
Tuesday, May 8 Spanish Language and Culture Art History
    Physics I: Algebra Based
Wednesday, May 9 English Literature and Composition  
Friday, May 11 U.S. History  
     
WEEK 2 MORNING | 8:00 AM AFTERNOON | 12:00 NOON
Monday, May 14 Biology Physics C: Mechanics/Electricity and Magnetism
  Music Theory  
Tuesday, May 15 Calculus AB French
  Calculus BC  
Wednesday, May 16 English Language and Composition  
Thursday, May 17   Statistics

College Counseling Office

Jonathan Nicholson
Director of College Counseling
763-381-8248

Susan Graham
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8246

Andrea O’Connell
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8138

Carrie Papillon
College Counseling Office Assistant
763-381-8258

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