September 2018

Monthly Newsletter

In the days preceding the start of every academic year, we eagerly await the students' arrival. There is only so much we can do until school starts and the halls are once again bustling with their unique energy and enthusiasm. We look forward to their visits to our offices and to the many conversations we'll share about their hopes and dreams, as well as the more informal coaching that takes place about establishing and meeting goals, and how to best balance expectations with the reality of day-to-day responsibilities.

Within our office, we share a guiding philosophy that informs our work with students.
  • We place special emphasis on our work with students. In addition to managing and overseeing the many deadlines and administrative responsibilities associated with college admissions, our top priority will always be our students.
  • We seek to support students as they learn to assume greater control of their hopes and dreams, make informed choices, and work toward self-efficacy.
  • We provide the tools and feedback that recognize their emerging independence, and we encourage a process that both informs and guides a purposeful, mindful approach to college choice.
  • We believe that through our conversations with students, the writing support we provide, and our various "assignments," we direct students toward self-discovery and personal growth, essential components in determining "fit" during the college search.

The goal of our College Counseling newsletters is to keep you informed about the college admissions landscape and its related offshoots, as well as our philosophy and how it informs our approach to the work we do. We will provide "big picture" information, resources, and interesting reads related to admissions and the world of higher education, the life of the mind, personal growth and fostering independence, and what the experts have to say about the challenges our students face and the many growth opportunities such challenges afford.


For detailed information about upcoming deadlines and impending action items, please look to the emails sent by our office. These emails are time sensitive and class specific. They outline exactly what you need to know relative to the college timeline for each grade. Our email communications will highlight any upcoming deadlines and provide detailed information about student responsibilities related to listed "tasks." When needed, important action items and reminders will also be included in the weekly Upper School news update. As always, we are available to answer any questions as they arise, so please don't hesitate to reach out at any point in the process, regardless of your child's graduation year. We are here to help.

News of Note


The college admissions landscape is ever-changing, and this summer was no exception. In the past two months, there have been some important shifts among colleges and universities nationwide, all in an effort to ease the financial costs of applying to college and to offer either more application options or a streamlined approach. Notable changes include the following:

  • Many schools now allow students to self-report their test scores. This allows the applicant to avoid the cost of sending scores to multiple schools.
  • Many schools now offer the Coalition Application as an option, and some schools have switched exclusively to the Coalition App.
  • Many schools no longer require or recommend the Writing portion of the SAT.
  • More and more schools are becoming test-optional. For a list of schools, visit

These shifts make it all the more important for applicants to research their schools of interest and become familiar with each school's requirements.

Recommended Reading


From The New York Times: "How to Help a Teenager Be College-Ready"
Being admitted to college doesn't always mean a student is ready for it. This article highlights ways in which parents can encourage their children to step up their levels of personal responsibility while still in high school, thus helping them acquire important life skills in preparation for leading independent lives in college and beyond.

Financial Aid


Curious about how much your estimated family contribution (EFC) will be at each school? To find the answer, use the Net Price Calculator available on each school's website to receive an estimate of tuition costs for that institution. Every school's formula for calculating the EFC is different, so you will need to use the Net Price Calculator for each school of interest. The article addresses the five most common mistakes parents make when considering college costs and provides several helpful tips on applying for financial aid.

A Mindful Approach – Paying Attention on Purpose


Mindfulness is the practice of awareness – awareness of our own breathing, surroundings, thoughts, and feelings. Focused breathing enhances both our sense of well-being and our subsequent performance, whether academic, artistic, athletic, or in our interactions with others. Duke Integrative Medicine, part of the Duke University Health System, defines mindfulness as the "natural human capacity for non-judging, present-moment centered awareness," and states that "mindfulness arises simply by paying attention on purpose in a non-judging and accepting way to experiences arising both inside and outside of one's body." The simple practice of Paying Attention on Purpose is a mindfulness habit available to everyone, and it can have a measurable impact on dealing with the challenging or stressful moments of daily life.


As educators in the often stress-inducing college search process, we find it encouraging to know that something as simple as slow, deep breathing can have an immediate positive impact. This year, our grade-level meetings with seniors and juniors will start with learning a mindfulness skill. We've introduced some of the science that supports mindfulness and practiced focused breathing. This simple mindfulness practice is one we hope our students will continue to use whenever they find themselves feeling nervous or stressed, whether in response to an impending quiz or test, performance, competitive event, or college applications and approaching deadlines.



Students may self-nominate for a variety of school-specific scholarships at a number of colleges and universities. Seniors should be sure to check out the scholarship opportunities at each of the schools they are considering to see what might be available. Scholarship criteria, requirements, and deadlines vary, but they are definitely worth reviewing in the event there is a good fit between the scholarship and the applicant. 

For national scholarship opportunities, check out, as well as the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the Coca-Cola Scholars Scholarship, and the Burger King Scholarship.

Featured Blog


For some great suggestions about finding balance in the college application season for both parents and students, read about the three T's – time, talk, and trust – in Georgia Tech's recent blog post by one of our favorite admission deans, Rick Clark.

Volunteer Opportunities


Volunteer opportunities are available at many local non-profits. You can reach out directly to the organization of your choice to explore available opportunities, or contact Mr. Stinnie to learn more about volunteering at Our Lady of Peace, the Ronald McDonald House, Boys and Girls Club, and the Senior Center, among others.

St. Anne's-Belfiled School
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