Welcome Back | September 2021
A Note from Stephanie
In this Newsletter
A Note From Stephanie

Featured Article

Upcoming Events and Deadlines

Class Specific Monthly Focus

Major Spotlight

Standardized Testing

Job and Volunteer Opportunities

Scholarships

In Other News

Helpful Resources
Welcome Back Miramonte Community!

Fall has always been my favorite time of year. It signifies new beginnings and the opportunity to reconnect as the school year begins. Traditionally, emotions can range from excitement to nervousness—and this year is no exception. Although some things look different in our world right now, connection and community remain foundational to happiness and success. Here in the College & Career Center, we strive to connect to students by recognizing their individualism and uniqueness and are proud to accompany them on their journeys of discovery.

We are the only department at Miramonte that has the opportunity to meet with the entire student body every year. In doing so, we form connections early on and build upon them throughout high school. The first year is all about exploring—understanding what excites you and getting involved. During sophomore year we dig a little deeper and help students expand their interests, discover their values, and align their choices so that they are positioned to develop their stories. Once junior year arrives, the focus turns to colleges, and all of their self-knowledge gets superimposed on the college preparation process. Then senior year happens. This is where we pull it all together into their applications, and see the magic unfold. Through it all, we are by their sides supporting, encouraging, and empowering them.

This year I am excited to announce some of the new initiatives we will be introducing to our students through the College & Career Center:

  1. Getting to Know Yourself Workbook - This will be launched to our sophomores in December and will include worksheets and strategies for understanding values and interests.
  2. College Connect - A program for first-generation and low-income students to bring the college conversation to the "dinner table." We will educate, mentor, and empower students to help them achieve their higher education goals from the moment they begin high school.
  3. High School to College - This 6-week transition workshop for seniors is aimed at giving them the life skills they need to be successful in college.
  4. English 3 Collaboration - In the spring we will be working with the English department on writing the personal statement for college applications.
  5. College & Career Meets Social Media - To further increase communication we will be partnering with Leadership to increase our social media presence.

So sit back, buckle up and ENJOY the ride! It will be a very exciting year and we look forward to all of it. We are honored to be working with all of our students each and every day! My door is always open and I encourage you to reach out with any questions you may have.

Warmly,



Stephanie Brady
College and Career Center Director
925-280-3935

Keep in touch & stay up to date:
Featured Article

Chasing Perfect
For some students, the pursuit of “perfect” permeates many aspects of their lives, from academics to athletics to curating the ideal Instagram post. Not only is this mindset hard to sustain, it often keeps students from being fully present or feeling completely satisfied. Chasing perfection can be particularly frustrating in the context of college admissions.

Students often believe there are “perfect” activities or “perfect” GPAs and classes needed to get into a specific college. As a result, they mistakenly think they can gain admission if they do all the “right” things. Yet, the very mindset of “if I do all these things, I should get in” is not what the college application process is about. 

In the world of college admissions, just like in life, perfect doesn’t exist. There are no “perfect” activities. There is no “perfect” combination of rigor, GPA, and test scores that will guarantee you admission to your dream school.  

According to Christina Lopez, Dean of Enrollment Management at Barnard, “There are incredible applicants, but there are no perfect applicants, just like there are no perfect people. Within every applicant, some aspects are great fits for the institution and others are not.”

The reason? What each college is looking for is nuanced. While all schools look for great fits based on their admissions needs, institutional priorities, and mission statement, each school has admission priorities that vary year to year. For instance, in any given year, a college may be looking for a cellist, a classics major, or a game designer—there is no way to know.  

As a result, trying to craft yourself into a “perfect” college applicant will not work (and will likely be counterproductive to what you are trying to accomplish). According to Mike Devlin, Director of Admissions at Stanford, “For many, perfection means checking off all the boxes they think colleges want and striving to be perfect at these pieces. And that is just not a healthy way to be. Sadly, it can also hinder your chances at admission because you should explore what you are passionate about and what you want to do and engage in those things. That is what will make you a better applicant.”

Also, just as there are no perfect applicants, there are also no perfect colleges. Simply because a college is highly selective or has a prestigious reputation does not mean it is the right school for you. 

If perfection is not the goal in life or in the college you go to, then what is the goal? Your high-school years and the college application process are about learning skills and developing your interests, with the objective of figuring out who you are and what the next phase of your life might look like. So, instead of chasing perfect, chase yourself. Listen to yourself. What are you passionate about? What excites you? If you do what you love, research schools, build a balanced college list, and apply to institutions where your personality aligns with their guiding mission— THAT is your best chance for admission and will also end up being where you are happiest.
Upcoming Events and Deadlines
September 9: Navigating the Financial Aid Landscape | 7:00 p.m. | Virtual | Register
September 14: Senior Parent Presentation | 6:30 p.m. | Theater | Sign Up
September 29: Looking Towards College - Junior Parent Presentation | 6:30 p.m. | MHS Theater | No sign-up needed
October 5: FAFSA Information Session (Virtual) | 7:00 - 7:45 p.m. | Zoom Link
October 5: FAFSA Workshop (Virtual) | 7:45 - 9:00 p.m. | Register (limited to 25 families)
Class Specific Monthly Focus
Seniors
Application Nation
On Tuesday, September 14 at 6:30 p.m. the College and Career Center will be hosting a presentation for parents around college admissions and how to support your child through the process. It will be held in-person in the Miramonte Theater. Please sign-up to attend.

Senior Presentations during Academy
From August 25th - September 3rd the C&CC and the Counseling department are presenting to seniors on what they need to know now to move through post-secondary planning. Parents can view the presentation here.

FAFSA Information Session and Workshop
On Tuesday, October 5th we will be hosting a FAFSA Night. The first portion of the evening is open to all senior families and will include an overview of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The second portion of the night is a workshop with limited availability due to the nature of the material. Registration is required to attend the second portion of the evening. Both portions will be held virtually with the same zoom link.

Academy Sessions** - September
1st - Senior Presentation | Ms. Vasicek and Ms. Watson | Students are tagged
3rd - Senior Presentation | Ms. Vasquez and Ms. Watson | Students are tagged
8th - Honing Your College List
10th - Essay Help
15th - Strategy of ED/EA/REA
17th - Utilizing the Additional Comments Section
29th - Why "This College" essay and other supplementals

**Students must sign up in Teachmore to attend.
Juniors
Looking Toward College - Junior Parent Presentation
Although our fall focuses primarily on the seniors, we know juniors and their families are thinking about college as well. Please join us on Wednesday, September 29 at 6:30 p.m. in the Theater for a presentation on what to expect over the next several months. This is a great opportunity to understand the timeline and get answers to your questions! You do not have to register to attend.

PSAT
Miramonte is hosting the PSAT on October 16th. Taking the PSAT as a junior is the first step toward qualifying for the National Merit Scholarship Program. To register please visit the Miramonte web store by September 10th.

College Rep Visits
College Admission Rep visits are underway and will continue through November. Miramonte is lucky to host 125+ colleges during that time. Juniors are limited to 2 visits. For a complete list, log into your Naviance account to look. You must register to attend.
To register once in Naviance:
  • ‘Colleges'
  • ‘Research Colleges’
  • ‘College Visits’
  • ‘Register Now’

Upcoming College Fairs
Please visit our website for the latest news on colleges fairs and more!
Sophomores
Sophomore year is all about getting curious and spreading your wings. Think about what you enjoy doing, and get creative with how you can integrate your interests into your extracurricular activities.

Academics
Put your best foot forward in classes and take the opportunity to get to know your teachers.

Participate
Continue participating in extracurricular activities both at school and in the community.
Be intentional with how you spend your time.

Explore
Try something new! Whether it is a new club, a new sport or a new hobby, embrace the opportunities that present themselves and be willing to go outside your comfort zone. You may uncover a new passion and will open new doors for yourselves in the process!
First Years
The College and Career Center is a great resource for students and families on all things related to college AND career, including: job opportunities, community service, summer programs and post-secondary planning. We meet with students annually, starting in March of their first year when we introduce ways to utilize the C&CC throughout high school. Additionally, we offer parent education workshops on a range of topics and encourage families to attend.

Ninth grade is about exploring who you are, what you enjoy and how to integrate that into the classes you take and the activities you get involved in. This is a time to have fun, get curious and discover. The summer after ninth grade is also a great time to get a job (see below). We are always available and look forward to building relationships over the next four years.
Standardized Testing
Standardized testing has been one of the hottest topics in college admissions over the last 18 months. Students have struggled to get test dates and colleges have had to adapt to their review processes in the absence of test scores. While we still remain in an environment with nearly two-thirds of colleges not requiring tests for the Class of 2022 it is important for future classes to plan to take a test at some point before the fall of senior year (typically spring of junior year). This is an ever-evolving topic so please reach out with any specific questions you might have about your own testing plan.

PSAT for Sophomores and Juniors
Miramonte will be hosting the PSAT on Saturday, October 16th. As a sophomore this is a great opportunity to take a practice test to help you decide whether you would like to focus on the SAT or ACT in an official capacity. Sophomores should consider this a baseline test and do not need to prepare for it.

Juniors, see the junior section above for more information on why you might consider taking the PSAT.
Spotlight On A Major
ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES & SCIENCE
Bachelor of Science

Environmental science is an interdisciplinary academic field that integrates physical, biological and information sciences to the study of the environment.  A degree in Environmental Science can lead to a wide variety of careers. A growing field, employment in the environmental sector is projected to grow 8 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.  
Suggested MHS Classes to prepare you for a major in Environmental Science

Living Earth
Chemistry
Physics
Geology
Principles of Engineering
AP Biology
AP Environmental Science
Latin
Global Studies
Statistics

In addition, you might explore some Environmental Science options at DVC
Career Outlook

Conservation Scientist
Environmental Attorney
Environmental Consultant
Environmental Scientist
Hydrologist
Marine Biologist
Policy Analyst
Public Relations
Sustainable Investing
Urban Planning
Zoologist
Colleges to Consider

Arizona State University
Cal State - Pomona 
Cal State - Humboldt 
Cal State - Monterey Bay
Colby College
Colorado College
DVC
Pomona College
UC Berkeley
UC Davis
UC Santa Barbara 
University of Idaho
University of Montana
University of Texas - Austin
University of Vermont
University of Virginia
University of Washington
University of Wisconsin
Washington State University 
Job and Volunteer Opportunities
Jobs
Local businesses and residents always have opportunities for high school students to earn some money through various jobs. Please check out our website for the latest listings.
Volunteering
Miramonte students are very active in the community and many choose to record their hours to earn volunteer service awards. Although there is not a graduation service requirement, we encourage students to get involved and give back to those around them.

Summer Volunteer Hours
It’s time to record your summer community service hours into HelperHelper, our online tracking system. Volunteer hours completed since April 1, 2021, will count towards the current community service year. Please see the What Counts page of our website to determine if your service will qualify and the Awards page to learn more about the Miramonte Volunteer Service Award and the President’s Volunteer Service Award.

New to HelperHelper?
Please email [email protected] to request a temporary password if you are a first-time user or do not have a password. The Track Hours page will give you step-by-step instructions on logging in for the first time.

Are you interested in volunteering but don’t know where to begin?  
Find ideas and a list of in-person and virtual volunteer opportunities on the Opportunities page.

Email Jen Mosher with questions about community service and check out our community service section of out website for more details about our program.
Scholarships
Paying for college is an expense that continues to grow. The good news is there are many opportunities to apply for scholarships nationally and locally. It can be a time consuming process so getting a head start is important. This is great place for parents to get involved by helping to identify potential scholarship opportunities. We house a comprehensive list of local scholarships in Naviance. Email Ariele Taylor for specific scholarship help. There are also other resources we also recommend.
In Other News
How Test-Optional Played
Out in Admissions

The Class of 2021 was the first to apply to college in a world where the majority of colleges did not require the SAT/ACT. What was the impact?

Five College Admissions Trends for 2021
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the relationship between college-bound students, families, and the institutions themselves. Some believe that these changes are permanent.

Best College Essays
Every year the New York Times highlights college essays written by recent applicants. This year we are proud to share that Chaya Tong was one of the recipients of the honor. We were very honored to have worked with her and are proud of her accomplishment.

Helpful Resources
Miramonte College and Career Center