October 2018

Monthly Newsletter

Conversation is at the core of our work in College Counseling. Whether guiding students through the essay writing process or helping them consider the many wonderful options available, we spend a lot of time asking questions, listening, sharing ideas, and when needed, nudging students toward the necessary self-reflection required by this process.

Through the lens of the college search, a process that blends students' academic preparation, extra-curricular pursuits, and individual interests with real-world expectations and deadlines, students have the opportunity to view their high school years as a whole, where everything they have experienced and mastered influences the independent young adults they are becoming. Though some students might feel that academic work and teacher expectations are completely separate from their athletic and artistic endeavors, or how they choose to spend their free time, they come to realize that all of their experiences are interconnected. Everything matters when moving toward adulthood, as how we spend our time is a reflection of what we value. The self-reflection required by the college search process allows students to begin to recognize how their interests and talents have merged with their ever-expanding skill set, and highlights their readiness for the independence and self-advocacy that college – and life after college – will require of them. The paths they have selected matter immensely, whether those paths have been false starts or detours, easy or difficult, uncharted or well-trodden.

Growing up takes time, and by necessity, includes a bit of experimentation and exploration to discover not only our talents, but also our preferences.  There is no fixed set-point for adulthood, though the transition to college is an important "marker" for what will be an ongoing journey that continually asks us to use the skills we started acquiring the first time we crossed a classroom threshold. It is a given that life's journey will include mishaps, missteps, and wrong turns, but we feel strongly that a St. Anne's-Belfield education will help keep students from ever feeling lost.

This month's reflection is adapted from an article written for the Spring 2017 issue of Perspectives.- The College Counseling Team

Senior Reminders

If you haven't taken a look at the College Counseling Handbook lately, we encourage you to do so, paying close attention to the information that specifically relates to your application plans. A few highlights:
  • Review test score requirements at each of your schools: Re-take ACT, SAT, TOEFL, if necessary.
  • Pay attention to early submission deadlines, such as Early Action, Early Decision, and Priority, as well as UCAS if you are applying to universities in the U.K. Some schools ask you to apply by an earlier date in order to qualify for scholarships.
  • Complete the first draft of your Common App essay and supplements for all early decision/early action schools.
  • Complete essay drafts and submit to your College Counselor for feedback.
  • Where necessary, send official standardized test scores to colleges.
  • If applying for financial aid, FAFSA and Financial Aid CSS Profiles are available for parents to complete.
  • Check email and your SPAM folder regularly. You do not want to miss important communications from this office or from a school to which you have applied.

Merit Scholarships


Many universities and colleges offer merit scholarships to students. Deadlines for merit consideration are often earlier than a school's regular decision deadline and might require information and essays beyond what is included in the application. To learn more about merit scholarship opportunities available at the schools you are considering, please visit each school's website. This information is usually found though the Admissions portal and is frequently bundled with information about Financial Aid.


In addition, several organizations provide merit scholarships to high school seniors. The following may be of interest to you:

  •  Raise.me partners with more than 225 colleges and university to award scholarships to students for academic and extracurricular accomplishments.
  •  Coca-Cola Scholars are judged on their academic performance, extracurricular activities, leadership experience, and community service. This award is open to current high school seniors. Each year, 150 awards of $20,00 are given out.
  •  Applicants to the Burger King Scholars Program are judged on their GPA, work experience, extracurricular activities, and community service. Award amounts range from $1,000 - $50,000.



The 2019 Scholastic Awards are now open for submissions. For more information about the competition categories and deadlines, visit their website at www.artandwriting.org.


The deadline for the annual Writer's Eye poetry and prose competition sponsored by the Fralin Art Museum at the University of Virginia is mid-November. To learn more about this opportunity, visit the museum's website.

U.Va. Female Engineering

Young women in high school who are sophomores, juniors and seniors can apply to the High School Visitation program at the University of Virginia's (U.Va.) School of Engineering on Saturday, Nov. 17. The program gives young women a comprehensive look at the different engineering fields and U.Va.'s engineering curriculum through informative speakers, panels, lab tours, and hands-on design activities. The program is designed to benefit participants with all levels of engineering experience, but we particularly target those students who are not yet familiar with the field and may be interested in applying to engineering schools or pursuing a STEM career.
To apply, students should complete the HSV Fall 2018 Application. This fall session particularly targets high school seniors, but sophomores and juniors can also apply. Students who have previously applied to HSV are in the targeted grade level, and demonstrate a strong interest in engineering through their essay, will receive priority acceptance and priority consideration for an overnight stay at U.Va. hosted by a SWE member. The application must be completed online by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 22.

NASA Opportunities


Online Course applications are OPEN for Grades 10 - 12 students to apply. The Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC) provides the following STEM opportunities. All of our programs are FREE to all Virginia students.

Virginia Space Coast Scholars (VSCS) – Program for tenth grade students focusing on the missions flown or managed by NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore, with a Summer Academy program at NASA Wallops Flight Facility.

Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars (VASTS) – Program for Grades 11 & 12 students focusing on NASA's human spaceflight missions and the Journey to Mars with an online course with a Summer Academy program at NASA Langley Research Center. Students can earn up to four free dual enrollment credits.

Virginia Earth System Science Scholars (VESSS) – Program for Grades 11 & 12 students, VESSS is an interactive, online Earth System Science Course featuring NASA scientific research and data. The students can earn up to five transferable, free dual enrollment college credits and can also compete to attend a Summer Academy program at NASA Langley Research Center.

St. Anne's-Belfiled School
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