College Counseling Newsletter

June 2019

Dear Breck Parents,

Happy Spring! 

Now that second semester exams are in the rearview mirror and May Program is almost over, 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. 

Students and parents should review and discuss the following — listed below by grade.

Seniors

Graduated Seniors | Class of 2019

Congratulations on making your college selections! We are proud of the way you have gone about this process. You will be attending 68 different colleges in 30 states and abroad. We look forward to hearing from you about 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, in mid-to-late 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. 

  1. 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. 
  2. Happiness in college is strongly rooted in the friends you make. Be open to everyone. Get to know those around you. It may feel like camp for the first months, so take this opportunity to put yourself out there!
  3. The best first step to a successful and engaging college experience is to get off to a good start. Get to know your professors by utilizing office hours. Form study groups. Go to departmental speakers. 
  4. 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. 
  5. Lastly, remember that October and November can be long months. The weather begins to take a turn. The days become shorter. The nights longer. 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!

Juniors

Rising Seniors | Class of 2020

When the student leadership team for next year was announced it signified a passing of the torch from the Class of 2019 to the Class of 2020. 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 please get in to schedule an appointment with your college counselor! At this time, we will cover a range of topics that will help prepare you for the college process. We will discuss teacher recommendations, college list and expected outcomes, testing plans, possible college trips, financial aid considerations, and more. Parents are invited – and encouraged – to attend these meetings! 

End of the Academic Year Events:

  • Register 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. Last call for registration!
  • Attend the June 7 Common Application and Essay Writing Workshop. The program will allow student to start their Common Application and will serve as the launching point for college essay writing. It will run from 9 am -12 pm. Indicate your interest in attending by clicking here.
  • Following the workshop and a lunch provided to those who RSVP, Adam Webster, Senior Associate Director of Admissions at Carleton College, will share his insights and advice on college interviews.
  • The June 12 and 13 Interview Workshop, led by Cindy Hillger, is always a popular program. Space is limited; sign up here.

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.
  • Share your memoir with your college counselor. 
  • Develop a working and balanced college list to be finalized in the fall. 
  • oAdd 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 6, 8, and 13: Common App and essay workshops 
  • Monday, August 26, 6:30 pm: Grade 12 Student and Parent College Meeting
  • Sunday, September 22, 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. 

Sophomores

Rising Juniors | Class of 2021

You are nearly one-half 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:

  • Register 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. This is the last call!
  • Do something interesting. 
  • Mark your calendars now.
  • oWednesday, August 28, 6:30 PM: Grade 11 Student and Parent College meeting.
  • Sunday, September 22, MISP Fair hosted at Mounds Park Academy.
  • Saturday, October 12, PSAT at Breck School for all juniors.
  • Wednesday, October 16, Practice ACT.
  • Visit a college campus or two and take along the College Visit Guide found in Naviance. 

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. 

Freshmen

Rising Sophomores | Class of 2022

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 11, 5:30 PM: Grade 10 Parent College Counseling meeting.
  • Saturday, October 12, PSAT at Breck School 
  • Wednesday, October 16, 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.

Breck College Counseling Office

Jonathan Nicholson
Director of College Counseling
763-381-8248

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

Elizabeth Pabst
Associate Director of College Counseling
763-381-8127

Carrie Papillon
College Counseling Office Assistant
763-381-8258

Archived Newsletters

We've archived previous Breck Counseling Newsletters. Use the link(s) below to access the appropriate newsletter.