St. Anne's-Belfield School College Counseling

Monthly Newsletter

May 2017

As the year winds down and our seniors wrap up their academic responsibilities and embark on their internships, we find ourselves in that interesting transition where our focus shifts to the future and to the classes of 2018, 2019, and 2020. With college choices having been made and deposits sent, it is not unusual for us to be asked if we are busy this time of year or have anything to do. The question always makes us smile, for though the search process for our seniors has concluded and those looming deadlines have passed, we are actively engaged with the next three graduating classes. Our student-centered philosophy leads to many opportunities to engage with our students, whether meeting individually, conducting class meetings, or reviewing transcripts and fielding questions about next year's course selections. This time of year affords us the time to begin those all-important conversations that fuel the future and allow us to know the students with whom we'll be working in the coming months and years. 


Our juniors are well into their search process, reflecting on "fit" and learning communities that will best support their talents and interests; visiting schools when possible to discern preferences as to geographical location, size of school, and urban vs. suburban and rural settings; scheduling and taking various standardized tests; and meeting with us to discuss where they are now in the process and what is on the horizon. Our meetings have also included discussions about having a productive summer, whether working, volunteering, traveling, or some combination thereof. We also encourage our students to take time to rest and relax, to use the summer months to reconnect with those activities and interests which might have been put on the back burner during the academic year. Summer affords a unique opportunity to enjoy some unstructured pursuits to include reading, writing (yes, it is a great idea to work on those essays), and time with friends and family.


For our sophomores and freshman, the message about summer is similar: use the time away from school to recharge, but also to learn a little more about yourself, your community, and the larger world around you.


We look forward to seeing everyone upon our return in mid-August, and we wish our graduating seniors the best of luck as they venture forth into the world.


- The College Counseling Team


Tips for Graduating Seniors & Their Parents

The transition to college comes with its own set of expectations and challenges, most of which relate to roommate and dorm selection, what clothes to pack, and which pictures you want to hang on the wall. Beyond worrying about how everything will fit in the car, parents should also be aware that dropping off their child at college signals an even greater transition; administratively, since your child has likely already turned 18 before arriving on campus, in the eyes of the school, your child is an adult and will be treated accordingly. Don't be surprised when you don't receive the tuition bill; it has been sent to your child. And don't be surprised when you don't receive a grade report; it has been sent to your child. If you wish to receive this information, students need to sign a waiver that allows the school to copy you on communication related to tuition and grades.   

Though the academic bubble that surrounds college often buffers students from "real world" realities, there are situations that warrant planning, "just in case." This article offers great advice in the event your child ends up needing medical care.

For students already being treated for any health issues, we recommend that parents make contact with a doctor in the student's college town BEFORE they go to college. That way, the student is then set up with a doctor, the insurance is taken care of, and if there is a medical problem while at school, the student knows exactly who to call and what to do.

For a bit of inspiration for our seniors as they embark on their college careers, we invite you to consider the question, "What matters to you?" Many schools offer programs to address this essential question, and this article provides a glimpse into one school's approach and the positive impact such reflection has on the college experience.
Transcript Reminder: All final transcripts are sent to colleges by our office after graduation.


Summer Communication
Be on the lookout for an email from the  College Counseling in mid- to late- June with important information about the upcoming year. Though our office will be open during the summer months, it operates with reduced staff and vacation schedules, which often present communication challenges. For any pressing concerns or questions that cannot wait until we are fully operational in mid-August, please reach out directly to Mrs. Sohne-Johnston.

As you continue to research schools (either online or by visiting), be sure to update Naviance by entering any schools that interest you that are not already on your list. Be sure to indicate your interest level for each school, and if your preferences shift as a result of your research, simply record those changes as well. By midsummer, junior year GPAs will be updated on Naviance, and your college counselor will enter expected outcomes for the schools currently listed on your "Schools I'm Thinking About" page. 

Essay Tips

We recommend you keep a journal this summer to inform your essay options. Record what surfaces during the time you set aside for self-reflection, as well as your thoughts and impressions about the world around you. The journal can be as structured or unstructured as you like, but it should include reflections on what matters to you, experiences that have influenced who you are today, people who have had an impact on your life, and your hopes and dreams for the future and the person you would like to become. Spend time thinking about "the self" and your identity – thinking is an important pre-writing exercise and will likely lead you to some uncharted territory that has the potential to link nicely with your college essays. And don't worry, we will not ask to read your journal; it is a tool for you, and you will be the only one reading it. We do ask, however, that you arrive back at school in August with a first draft of your selected essay prompt. Though this might feel like an onerous summer task, you will thank us later (we promise!). You can review the 2017 Common App essay prompts here. Happy writing!


Featured Blog

Once again, Richard Clark from the admissions office at Georgia Tech, provides valuable insight into the complicated world of college admissions through his recent blog on the perceived unfairness of the process. For an informative read that should lead to a better understanding of how schools have to approach admission decisions that support both their missions and institutional priorities, we invite you to check out his blog.
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