January 2019

Monthly Newsletter

The start of a new year is an important threshold in College Counseling; though our work with seniors continues for the next several months, we begin the college process with a new class – our juniors. For many students, this process can be simultaneously complex and simple, awe-inspiring and humbling; it pushes them way outside of their comfort zone and asks them to participate in a process over which, initially, they think they have little control. In fact, students have ownership of the entire process up until they submit their applications. Along the way, students will be encouraged to be more introspective, to take appropriate risks, to better manage their time, and to begin to figure out not only who they are, but what is important to them and what they are seeking at the collegiate level. Our role as college counselors is to equip students with the tools, resources, and skills to make this a rewarding experience, one grounded in the goals they have established after thoughtful self-reflection and research. We look forward to working with our students during the many stages of their college search and celebrating the personal growth this process fosters.
The College Counseling Team


Individual meetings with juniors are underway, so if you haven't already scheduled a time to meet with your college counselor, please stop by our office to make that appointment. You need to complete your Junior Survey on Naviance before scheduling your individual meeting. Once you have met with your college counselor, please schedule the next meeting for you and one or both parents/guardians.

Group meetings with the junior class are also underway and are scheduled at regular intervals throughout the coming months. During these gatherings, we focus on different aspects of the application process and address specific tasks related to the admission timeline.
Junior Parent Meetings & Questionnaire
The junior parent meetings will take place following the January individual student meetings and are scheduled by the student.

We will share the Parent Survey with parents electronically in a couple of weeks. Parents will also be given access to Naviance. Please be on the lookout for an email from Naviance with a password.

Junior College Parent/Student Night
On Monday, Jan. 28, we will be hosting our annual College Night for juniors and their parents. The event will begin at 5:45 p.m. in the Randolph Hall Auditorium on the Greenway Rise Campus. We will be joined by admissions deans and directors from Bucknell University, Colgate University, James Madison University, Johns Hopkins University, St. Lawrence University, Texas Christian University, University of Virginia, and Yale University. The evening will begin with a panel discussion followed by breakout sessions to address many important aspects of the college process. Members of the Class of 2020 and their parents will receive additional information via email.

Test Registration Tips
Although it is certainly convenient to have a parent take care of test registration, we encourage students to take ownership of this task. Yes, a parent's credit card might be needed to pay for the test, but other than that financial reality, the process is straightforward and mirrors the many administrative tasks students are responsible for overseeing during the college process and beyond. 

We recommend that students take the SAT or ACT with the writing component at least once prior to the end of the junior year. Many students also find it helpful to take at least two Subject Tests by the end of the year.


With most application deadlines having passed, seniors find themselves in a holding pattern as they wait for decisions to be released. Though it is certainly a more relaxing time – essays have been written, applications completed, and deadlines met – it is not a time to be become passive or disengage in any way from academic work or the school community. Rather, the months of waiting provide ample opportunity for seniors to continue to do their best work, further hone and refine skills, explore additional areas of interest, and lead our school.


Some important reminders for all seniors:

  • Check and read your email daily.
  • Check your SPAM folder regularly to make sure you have not missed an important email from one of your schools.
  • Check your account at each school to which you've applied; important information, including school decisions, is shared via this route.
  • Continue to pay attention to deadlines. This is especially important for anyone applying for financial aid or invited to apply for a scholarship.
Scholarship Opportunity
This month, College Scholarship applications from Thomas Jefferson Soil & Water Conservation District (TJSWCD) are available for eligible student residing in Albemarle, Fluvanna, Louisa, and Nelson Counties and the City of Charlottesville. For more scholarship information, visit www.tjswcd.org.

Suggested Reading – "Be the Example"

Rick Clark from Georgia Tech never disappoints. His recent blog includes a letter to parents from an admissions perspective about his hopes for the new year. It is filled with wisdom and gentle guidance for all of us, whether parent, counselor, teacher, or friend, about the importance of stepping back and not allowing the college process to derail opportunities for personal growth or damage the family dynamic. He offers excellent advice, and in so doing, challenges each of us to "Be the Example" by embracing a mindset that honors both the individual and the process. Here is an excerpt:

I hope you will allow their goals and hopes–rather than an arbitrary list, the opinions of others, the culture of your school or community, a rankings guide with subjective methodology, or outdated stereotypes–to lead your exploration.

I hope you will be the example in your community. At times the swirling discussions about college and gossip about admissions will be unhealthy and unproductive. I hope you will recognize these moments and either remove yourself entirely or redirect the conversation.

On the Horizon

We love helping students brainstorm about summer possibilities, so if you aren't sure how you might spend your upcoming summer, come see us. There are seemingly endless options available that range from service-oriented travel programs and wilderness leadership opportunities, to summer camps and educational programs on college campuses throughout the country. The downside to those programs is that they can be expensive. It is a wonderful time to think about how to use your summer in productive ways to learn more about yourself and the world around you that doesn't cost anything. Consider finding a job (it can be as straightforward as babysitting or doing yard work) and/or volunteering with a local non-profit or other community organization.


Many of our students have been active volunteers with the following programs. Selection is competitive, so if interested, don't delay in submitting your application.

  • Applications are now being accepted for UVA Health System's Junior Volunteer Program. The deadline to apply is Feb. 15.
  • Sentara Martha Jefferson has lots of opportunities for student volunteers throughout the school year and during the summer.
  • Camp Holiday Trails has several volunteer opportunities, including for those students interested in working with the horse program (no horse experience necessary). An application is required.


St. Anne's-Belfiled School
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