Monday, November 30, 2009

Gearing Up For College- December 10th at 6:00 P.M.

The college search and selection process is an ever increasing challenge for parents and students. In an effort to assist parents, the Burlington High School Guidance Department is sponsoring a "Gearing up for College Night", presented by Mark Montgomery. The event will take place on December 10th in the BHS Auditorium beginning at 6:00 P.M. and finishing up at 7:30 P.M . The Guidance Department encourages parents of underclassmen to attend this session because many important, relevant and useful topics will be covered. Below is information that the evening will cover.

Gearing Up for College: For most parents, the college admissions process is a great source of anxiety and worry. This workshop gives parents of secondary students an overview of the college admissions process in the United States. Mark Montgomery offers great college advice in an entertaining, informative format that will take some of the stress out of college planning. He arms parents with the information they need to help their student find the perfect college fit. With a bit of organization, a dose of skepticism, and a willingness to do a bit of research, all families can ensure a happy outcome.

Topics include:
o Admissions Selectivity: Is It Really That Difficult?
o Elements of a Great College Fit
o College Priorities: What Do They Want?
o How Admissions Decisions Are Made
o Admissions “Hooks”

So join Mark Montgomery for insight into how to help your son or daughter play the college admissions game in way that will ensure success!

Who is this workshop for?

Any parent with school-age children considering how best to help their kids through the college maze. High school juniors and their parents of juniors may find it especially helpful to find ways to calm down and focus on what’s important. Families of sophomore and freshmen will learn how to best prepare for college. And even middle school parents might want to consider how best to help their students focus on learning, ignite their passions, and prepare for college—and life.

Mark A. Montgomery, Ph.D., is a former high school teacher, college professor, and associate dean. His former employers include the University of Denver, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Harvard University. He earned his BA from Dartmouth College and his PhD from Tufts University. Mark was also a Fulbright teacher in France. He now guides high school students and their families through the college admissions process. His clients include students bound for selective colleges, as well as late bloomers, under-achievers, and students with learning differences. Based in Denver, Mark works with clients all over the country and all over the world.

If you have any further questions please call Joe Attubato, BHS Support Services Coordinator, at 781-270-1856.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Scholarships 101

Lately, the guidance department has been getting questions from parents and students regarding scholarships. While at this time of year seniors are encouraged to focus their energy on applying to college, here is a general explanation and timeline of what families can expect as they apply for financial aid.

November - December:

 1). Complete the CSS/Profile on line if your college requires it. This fee-based service allows students to apply for merit aid via the College Board. It generally applies to students who are applying Early Action or Early Decision, but should be completed for any college that requires it. Check out this link for more information:

2) Check out national or statewide scholarships. Although they are far more competitive, specific national scholarships are worth applying to if they are specific to your interests, major and/or level of need. Here are some resources to look at, in addition to checking out a few currently posted on Naviance.

*Please remember to check Naviance on a regular basis for scholarship updates, downloadable applications, and deadlines.

January - February:

3) Complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). All students, regardless of need, should complete a FAFSA because some aid which is merit-based does require this form. Like a tax form, however, it is not available for submission prior to January 1, 2010.

4) Save the date for Financial Aid Night at BHS! This information session, led by a financial aid counselor from Bentley University, will be held on Thursday, January 7 beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the BHS auditorium. Students and their parents are encouraged to attend. (Snow date:  Jan. 14)

March - April:

5) Apply for local scholarships. The Burlington High School General Scholarship and Burlington Community Scholarship Foundation applications are generally available to students by March 1st. These applications, similar to a "common application," provide students with the opportunity to apply for many scholarships by completing only two forms.  In addition, many other local scholarships will posted on Naviance as they come in (and will require additional forms).  Again, updates will be posted on Naviance on an ongoing basis.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The College Esssay


As many seniors are preparing their college essay please be sure to use your English teacher as a resource through the process. The Guidance Department is also here for ideas and advice throughout the process. The following are some ideas when writing your essay:

• Respond to the question asked!

• Be specific!

• Pick subjects that highlight your personality.

• Be yourself!

• Write about a familiar idea or subject!

• Admissions officers look for “passion” when reading essays

• Avoid the ‘laundry list’ of accomplishments!

• Have your English teacher read your essay

Please click here for some tips from actual admissions reps on, “What should students never write in their essay”.

The BHS Guidance Department does not necessarily support all the viewpoints from the Washington Post, but we certainly feel that the Post ( along with many other sources of information) serves as a resource for students that are looking to gather information to make a decision on the college process. As always please feel free to contact your Guidance Counselor with any questions.

Early Action vs. Early Decision vs. Regular Admission

There are many different admission options. It is important for you to understand the various options and deadlines and to discuss with your parents and counselor which one is appropriate for you. Many seniors have already had these conversations; others are still in the process. Just for clarification below are the various admissions options. If you have further clarification or questions please feel free to contact your Guidance Counselor.

Early Decision:
This is a plan for the student who has a first choice college and is a reasonably STRONG CANDIDATE FOR THAT INSTITUTION. Many colleges have more than one early decision deadline; however, if admitted you are expected to attend the college and withdraw other regular admissions that you have filed. You are asked to sign a statement of intent. You should only pursue this option if you are absolutely certain about your choice. It should not be used as a means to simply complete the process early. Obviously, you cannot file simultaneously more than one early decision application. Again, deferred students will be reconsidered in the later rounds.

Early Action:
This is a plan for the STRONGEST ACADEMIC STUDENTS to apply to one or more Early Action college (s), usually by November. The decision will be made by December 15, but the student does not have to commit to the college until the common reply date of May 1, at which time he or she may choose to go elsewhere (colleges applied to on regular decision plans). This option is particularly competitive, and some colleges reject some students whom they foresee as being weak in the later, regular admissions pool. Generally, it is the most selective colleges that have this type of plan. Students who are deferred in the early round will be considered later in the context of the entire regular admission.

Two noticeable trends the Guidance Department has observed in regard to EA/ED:
Trend # 1: We are starting to notice a trend of colleges and universities going single choice early action, meaning the College does not permit students to apply under our Early Action program if they are applying to a binding Early Decision program at another college. Students are free to apply to other Early Action and Regular Decision programs (Boston College is one example).

Trend # 2: We are noticing that colleges/universities are more frequently telling us that they no longer, as a standard practice, defer students not accepted through EZ/ED to regular admissions.

We strongly encourage parents and students to ask admissions reps (and also your Guidance Counselor) what the policy is on EA/ED admission process.

Regular Decision:
This is the most common plan. Typically, students will apply to a college sometime before the deadline, which may range from January 1 to May 1. After the deadline, the college reviews all the applications and chooses those students it wants to admit, giving those students usually until May 1 to reply to the offer of admission.

Rolling Admission:
This term is used to describe the application process in which an institution reviews applications as they are received and offers decisions to students soon after they are made. If you are applying for financial aid, you will follow aid application deadlines set by the school. You may apply to other colleges and you will not be required to make a decision regarding enrolling before May 1.

Wait List:
This term is used by institutions to describe a process in which they may initially delay offering or deny you admission, but rather extends to you the possibility of admission in the future. Colleges offer admission to wait list candidates if insufficient numbers of regularly admitted candidates accept their offers of admission.

Whatever decision you choose, the guidance department asks that you adhere to the deadlines for your applications.

The Guidance Department requests that particular attention be paid to application deadline dates. Notification of electronic applications and paper applications must be submitted to the Department at least two weeks prior to any stated application deadline. Remember to use your college application check-off sheet for ALL applications. This will insure that all required credentials reach the college prior to the application deadline.

The following is a guideline for submission of college applications to the

Guidance Office:

December 1 to December 15 Deadlines-------------------November 6

January 1 to January 15 Deadlines------------------------ November 20

February 1 to February 15 Deadlines--------------------- January 8

March 1 Deadline----------------------------------------- February 5

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

College Visits for November

The Guidance Department will continue having a variety of colleges and universities come to BHS to speak with interested seniors. Below is the list of colleges and universities that will be attending BHS. Seniors are reminded that they MUST sign up for a visit in advance and also get teacher approval. For seniors that miss, please inform your guidance counselor so she may pick up any information that you need. Seniors can sign up through Naviance.

Southern New Hampshire College Mon, Nov 9th 8:00 a.m. JA

Saint Anselm College Friday, Nov. 13th 1:00 p.m. SD

John Cabot University Monday, Nov. 16th 10:00 a.m. ML

Becker College Wed, Nov. 18th 8:00 a.m. BM

Harvard University Wed, Nov. 18th 10:00 a.m. LS

Daniel Webster College Tues, Nov. 24th 11:00 a.m. GW

University of Hartford Tues, Dec. 1st 9:30 a.m. JA