May 2018

Monthly Newsletter

The halls are a little less crowded now that our seniors have started their internships, but our offices continue to hum as AP exams take place and students come by for meetings and to ask questions. Though the pace is different, we are actively engaged with our upcoming graduating classes. Our student-centered philosophy leads to many opportunities to engage with our students, whether meeting individually, conducting class meetings, discussing summer plans, 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 their hopes and dreams and how to discern "fit" at colleges and universities that will best support their talents and interests. College visits have helped inform personal preferences as to geographical location, size of school, and urban vs. suburban or rural settings. Various standardized tests have been taken, with some still scheduled for the upcoming months. Meetings with us have been ongoing and have included discussions about steps to take for a productive summer, whether working, volunteering, traveling, or some combination thereof. Balance is important, however, and we encourage our students to take time to rest and relax, and 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 also 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

Transcript Reminder: All final transcripts will be sent to colleges by our office after graduation.

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 those 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.

As our seniors embark on their college careers, we invite them 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.

The year would not be complete without one more Mindfulness Moment. We hope our seniors will build upon the mindfulness practices and breathing exercises incorporated in each of this year's class meetings. For added inspiration, we recommend the blog post from the Mind and Life Institute titled "Utilizing Mindfulness Practice to Facilitate the Transition to College" and written last summer by two University of Virginia students.


Summer Communication

Be on the lookout for an email from the College Counseling Office 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. 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 research schools of interest and visit schools over the summer, be sure to pay attention to the testing each school requires (if any – some schools are test-optional) and plan accordingly. When it comes to testing, there is no "one size fits all" answer as to what schools require, so it is important to do your homework and make sure you have the testing you need to meet admission requirements.

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 return to 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 2018 Common App essay prompts here. Happy writing!



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 later in the summer, your college counselor will enter expected outcomes for the schools currently listed on your "Schools I'm Thinking About" page. 

On the Road 

Students are not the only ones visiting colleges! Over the course of the academic year, the three of us in College Counseling have taken road trips to visit colleges to connect with both admission officers and where possible, School alumni. We love learning about schools through the eyes of our former students and seeing first-hand the wonderful variety of campuses and the opportunities they offer.


In the South, we've visited Auburn University, Emory University, University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, University of Richmond, Rhodes College, Savannah College of Art and Design, and Wake Forest. In the Midwest, our outreach included University of Chicago, Kalamazoo College, University of Michigan, and Northwestern University. Our travels to the New England area included stops at Babson College, Barnard College, Berklee College of Music, Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis University, Clarkson University, Columbia, Cornell University, Harvard University, University of Massachusetts Boston, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Olin University, University of Pennsylvania, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, Skidmore College, St. Lawrence University, Syracuse University, Trinity College, Villanova University, Wellesley College, and Wesleyan University.


The more we travel, the more excited we become about the many fine institutions of higher learning from which our students can choose. There truly are so many wonderful options to consider, and we continually strive to "discover" those regional gems that might not have as much name recognition in our area. Our advice: do not let the fact you might not have heard of a school keep you from considering it. Do your research, visit if possible, and remain open to discovering schools not currently on your radar.


We hope you all enjoy your summer adventures, wherever they may lead!

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