Monthly Newsletter

February 2017

2016 Spring Break College Tour visit with Mercy Sherman '13 at University of Southern California.

We never cease to be inspired by our students. We marvel at their wisdom, their engagement with life's challenges, their personal growth, and their willingness to share their stories. At a recent Chapel, Jiaying Yi '17 reflected on her years as a student at St. Anne's-Belfield. She chronicled the struggles she first encountered as an international student, and how with the support of her teachers and through her love of literature and languages, she began to realize that her interests and talents were shaping her future in interesting and unexpected ways – and not always in the direction she and her parents had dreamt about. For Jiaying, languages became the "way forward to a life of working with people from other cultures, an opportunity to add my voice to the diversity of the world, and a transformation from who I should be to who I really am."

Jiaying offered the following reflection about her future beyond graduation: "I'm not anxious or afraid but excited. As Rebecca Solnit wrote in her book, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, 'The things we want are transformative, and we don't know or only think we know what is on the other side of that transformation. Love, wisdom, grace, inspiration – how do you go about finding these things that are in some ways about extending the boundaries of the self into unknown territory, about becoming someone else?'" She concluded her chapel talk by stating, "You never know what can transform you… Let yourself get lost in other fields – to explore, to extract, to extend. Let your passion lead you to the right track."

We love the idea of "extending the boundaries of the self into unknown territory" and "to explore, to extract, to extend." We see in our students the potential to do just that, to discover what lies beyond the boundaries of what they "think" their lives should be, and to trust that through exploring and nurturing their interests, they will be led, like Jiaying, to the "broader and richer world" she has discovered.
                                                                                                         - The College Counseling Team

Junior Parent Meetings

Our juniors are off to a great start. We have been impressed by their ownership of the process, their attention to detail, and their willingness to engage in self-reflection through the junior survey and in conversation with their College Counselors.


The junior parent meetings take place following the individual student meetings that began in January. The parent/student meeting is scheduled by the student with Mrs. Sanford in our office. In preparation for that meeting, we ask that parents complete the junior parent questionnaire available on Naviance. If you have any trouble accessing your Naviance account, please let us know.


The essay prompts for the 2017 Common App have been released. You can find more information here.

Tips for College Tours

College visits are on the horizon for many students, so we hope you will find "The Professor's Cheat Sheet to the Perfect College Tour" a useful reference. During college visits, we also recommend that you consider the importance of asking the following questions, "again and again," as suggested by Richard Clark, director of Admission at Georgia Tech.
  • What makes this campus different or unique than other schools?
  • What is the most exciting thing happening on campus?
  • What question has not been asked today that should be asked?
  • What do you wish you had known before deciding to come here?
  • What has this college provided you to set you up for success and fulfillment in the future?
  • Bonus Questions: What has disappointed you? What do you wish were different? What is the most frustrating thing you've run into? Where do you see this school in five years or ten years?

Mr. Clark concludes: "Here is the bottom line: Don't take any one person's opinion as gospel truth. I am the Director of Admission at Georgia Tech. But I am not the expert on all things Georgia Tech. To be honest, I'm not the expert on much at all on campus. And the same is true for any alum, or any tour guide or someone in the Chemistry department. Neither your sister nor the school President has a corner on the market of THE REAL STORY. It is the combination of all answers, all experts, and all perspectives that will serve you the best.  So use message boards and social media and read the school paper. But most of all ASK YOUR QUESTIONS. And ask them to as many people involved with each school as possible." Read the full article

Why We Do What We Do – More Insight into the Hidden Curriculum of College Counseling

Ever wonder why we do what we do? Wouldn't it be easier and more efficient if the adults in our students' lives oversaw many of the administrative tasks associated with the admissions process? The protocols we establish in our office are guided by the knowledge that students are rapidly approaching the independence of college life and its many responsibilities. We believe the college search process asks students to navigate a process for which they have the requisite skills and maturity. Our expectations reflect the world they are about to enter, and our goal is to support them every step of the way, but without doing for them what they are quite capable of doing, and need to do, for themselves.


To that end, we ask students to take ownership of the many administrative tasks the process requires: scheduling appointments with their college counselor, updating Naviance, reading and following directions, checking email, meeting deadlines, registering for APs and other standardized tests, creating their Common App accounts, coordinating calendars with parents and scheduling the student/parent meeting, writing and editing essays, etc. These are but a few of the responsibilities inherent in the process, but all of them help foster the independence expected of young adults. That said, the College Counseling Office supports students by offering advice on which tests to take, shaping the college list, refining their essays, scheduling essay and interview workshops, ensuring we (counselor, student, parents) are all on the same page, reminding students to attend to details, and more, all in an effort to maximize their personal growth.


We know that as parents and educators, it is sometimes easier to take care of the "to do" list ourselves, but every time we do so, we deprive our children and students of the opportunity to learn important skills and gain confidence in their ability to navigate in the adult world. Our desire to help can actually undermine their developing self-efficacy. So though the answer to the second question above is "Yes," don't be surprised if we redirect your good intentions and ask that your child take care of the administrative aspects of their college search. We believe doing so empowers our students, and though seemingly minor in comparison to so many other aspects of their lives, yields long-term benefits that are critical to ultimately leading independent, productive lives.

Sophomore Update
We met with the sophomore class in early February to share our thoughts on the value of a productive summer and the importance of regular reading, whether a news magazine, a novel, or an informative blog. Summer plans should be an extension of a student's personal interests. How we spend our time is a strong indicator of what we value or want to know more about, and to that end, we encourage students to consider using their time away from school to learn more about themselves and the communities with which their lives intersect.

We are always available to help students brainstorm how they might spend their summers, so come and see us if you would like to discuss your ideas or need suggestions.   

Sophomores will be assigned to a College Counselor in April. Parents, stay tuned for an upcoming Sophomore Parent Coffee Chat later this spring.

Featured Blog

This month's blog selection is from Grown and Flown, an online source of informative and thought-provoking reflections and "conversations" on the challenges of parenting. Articles are for parents of children ages 15 - 25 who "are thinking, worrying, or just pondering what it will be like when some or all of [their] kids call another place home (even if it is just their grimy dorm room)." Click here to read.

St. Anne's-Belfield Summer Opportunities

This summer, Dr. Rosanne Simeone will be offering a College Essay Bootcamp for current juniors interested in getting the jump on possibly the most important, most frustrating, most time-consuming task of the senior-year. This short course will help you reveal your innermost self to a team of strangers (the mysterious Admissions Office) in 650 words (or less!). Learn how to decipher and conquer all kinds of college essay prompts, from the Common Application to the unique and peculiar individual college prompts and the supplements. You will leave this class with at least two polished (maybe even quirky) essays that capture you and only you. Two sessions will be offered: June 12 - 16 and July 31 - Aug. 4, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Cost is $500 and students can register here.


If unable to take part in a summer College Essay Bootcamp, rest assured that you will have ample opportunity to craft your essay upon our return to school in the fall. Our office provides individual support to students during the writing process, as well as offering Opp Block workshops.


Camp Corwith will be running this summer from July 10 – July 21 and is seeking volunteer camp counselors.  The camp is a day camp hosted at the Learning Village campus Monday - Friday from approximately 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Counselors work with a small group of students leading them through small group activities each day, as well as keeping a watchful eye on the camp as a whole.  Some days will involve field trips. Please contact Mr. Colombo with questions or for an application, which is due by Friday, March 3.

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