Volume 6 | April 2019
A Note from Stephanie
In this Newsletter
A Note From Stephanie

Featured Article

Upcoming Events and Deadlines

Class Specific Monthly Focus

College Spotlight

Test Prep Opportunities

Internship, Job and Volunteer Opportunities

Summer Programs

In Other News

Helpful Resources
Dear Miramonte Community,

My name is Stephanie Brady and it is a great privilege to be introducing myself as the new College and Career Center Advisor. I am truly excited to be part of the Miramonte Community and to have the opportunity to work with each and every student. My door is always open so when you have a moment please stop by and say "Hi!"

April is a time when Spring has sprung and longer days of sunlight are upon us. In the College and Career Center that translates into the end of college admission decisions being received by our seniors. It is an exciting time, yet it can be filled with unexpected stress. It is likely the first major decision your child has faced, up to this point, and there are typically many aspects to sort through. The Featured Article this month provides some important tips around things to consider when making the final decision, including what to do with a waitlist.

For our juniors the college process is starting to amp up. Many are prepping for standardized test including AP exams and SAT subjects tests. Additionally, spring break may have been filled with college trips. Be sure to check out the Junior section for some great information on what to focus on in the upcoming months.

This month also marks the end of our Volunteer Service program. All service hours completed by March 31 need to be submitted by April 14. All of the details can be found in the Volunteer section. Our students volunteer thousands of hours each year and we are so proud of how much they give back to our community.

In light of the recent college scandal it is important to keep life in perspective and to enjoy the days ahead. I am here to help through all aspects of college and career and look forward to working with the students and families at Miramonte over the months and years to come! I hope to see you soon.

Stephanie Brady
College and Career Center Advisor

Keep in touch & stay up to date:
Featured Article

It's Time to Make the Final College Decision...
but What About the Waitlist?
April marks the end of the college process. The last nine months have been filled with creating college lists, traveling to schools, hundreds of essay edits, applications, and long weeks and months of waiting. Seniors have been asked more times than they can count about where they applied, what their top choice might be and the dreaded " Have you heard from any colleges, yet?" question. All of that has brought them to this moment. It's decision time.

For some this could be the hardest part of the whole process. Students might worry about disappointing their parents or missing home. Parents may be thinking about the expense of college and saying goodbye to the child they raised over the last 18 years. It's easy to get lost in the idea that there is only ONE choice. The reality is there are likely multiple great options and looking at them through the lens of an accepted student is often different than that of an applicant. When sorting through options there are things to consider before making a final decision and putting down a deposit including:
  • Revisit your notes. Hopefully you kept a notebook of your thoughts after visiting or researching the college. Look through those notes again and see what still resonates.
  • Make a pros and cons list. Looking at the pros and cons through the eyes of an admitted student may be different than that of an applicant. Consider what is important now.
  • Review financial aid packages. Compare the total cost for each school. Detail out scholarships, grants and loans. Remember loans need to paid back upon graduation where scholarships and grants do not.
  • Attend an admitted student day. This is particularly for those schools that are on the top of the list. Typically there will be an opportunity to see aspects of the campus you likely didn't see before including: residence halls, dining facilities, and classes in session. This is also a perfect time to meet fellow Class of 2023 students.
  • Look beyond the name of the school. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the name of the college and overlook what really matters. Will you be happy there?

Being waitlisted is like the limbo of college admissions. You’re not in, but you’re not out. You are qualified, but they don’t have room in the class for you. But they might... eventually.

As students deposit on May 1, colleges will begin filling seats, but they may or may not fill their entire freshman class. They will also be looking to shape their class in specific ways (e.g. create a gender balance, enroll more of a specific major, increase geographic diversity, bring in students who don't need financial aid, etc.).That’s when the waitlist comes into play. If you were waitlisted from your top school, here are some tips on what to do next:
  • Get excited about your other options and enroll. Historically, the likelihood of being admitted from the waitlist is small but this estimate changes year to year so it's tough to predict. Hopefully your college list has some other strong options for you, so get pumped about your second choice and be sure to enroll in another school by May 1 to secure a seat. If you get the call that you are off the waitlist some point after that, then you will have a choice to make.
  • Read your waitlist letter carefully! Colleges provide instructions on how to indicate interest in remaining on the waitlist, usually through clicking a link in your student portal, filling out a form or survey online, or returning a postcard. Discuss the options with your parents/guardians.
  • Financial aid becomes a factor. If you need financial aid, be aware that the waitlist college may have given out most of its aid already.
  • Do some research. Your letter may also indicate the historical waitlist data for that college – this will help you understand how likely (or unlikely) it is that you may be taken off the waitlist. Be sure to know about how coming off the waitlist will affect your housing options and financial aid. You may want to call the school to find out.
  • Keep doing well in school! Colleges may request that waitlist applicants send updated 3rd quarter grades and final transcripts. Strong grades could make a difference in helping a school make a decision on you should they need to go to their waitlist.
  • In mid-April, reconsider your waitlist option. Is it still your top choice? Have you fallen in love with another school? If you decide you are no longer interested in the school, please remove yourself from the waitlist and free up that spot for another student.
  • Don’t be passive! If you are still interested in your waitlist school, you should send a thoughtful email to admissions to further express why the school is your top choice and the best fit for you. Be sure to inform them of any updates to your application profile such as improved grades, new awards, and other signs of significant academic or extracurricular progress. If you are not seeking financial aid, you can let them know that too.
  • Be sure to follow directions set forth by the college. Resist the urge to bombard them with phone calls, letters, or unwanted supplemental materials, like another letter of recommendation. They know who you are – they need to see how their class shapes up before they go to the waitlist.
  • Relax and enjoy the rest of senior year. Attend Admitted Student Days for schools you were accepted to and fall in love with them! You have other great options. 

Upcoming Events and Deadlines
Class Specific Monthly Focus
As seniors hear from colleges it is important to input their decisions into Naviance. Not only is it great to see the options our students have, it is also valuable information used in guiding our juniors as they start to embark on their college processes.

Colleges Missing Out Wall
Join fellow seniors in shifting perspective around college rejections and participate in the Colleges Missing Out wall. It is in an opportunity for students to come together in support of each other. The wall is in full swing now and will continue through the month of April. Students are encouraged to bring their rejection letters from the schools that "are missing out" and hang them on the wall of the Student Union. To participate here is what you need to know:
  • Students can add letters to the wall on their own. Supplies are on a table inside the Student Union
  • Letters can also be dropped by the College and Career Center or emailed to Stephanie Brady
  • Students can black out their names if they wish to remain anonymous (sharpies will be in the supply basket)
  • Letters will remain up until May 1 - National Decision Day

How to Analyze Financial Aid Letters
College acceptance letters are typically accompanied by a financial aid package. They tend to be more confusing than necessary. Schools will put them in different formats and words can be vague. Here are some tips to help:
  • Use this custom College Cost Comparison spreadsheet built specifically for Miramonte families
  • Make an appointment with the College & Career Center to review your award packages
  • Know that you can contact the college's financial aid office and petition the award you were offered
  • Use websites such as Edmit.me, or finaid.org
Keeping Grades Up
As the spring weather hits it's easy to get lost in the warm days. However, second semester of junior year is still very important to colleges. Remember to keep working hard and maintain your grades. It will pay off.

ACT/SAT/SAT Subject Tests
April is a great time to plan out testing dates for the ACT/SAT or SAT Subject tests. Since the beginning of senior year is filled with applications and essay writing it is great to have standardized testing completed. To register for the ACT click here. For SAT registration, click here.

Research Colleges
Now is a great time to start making a preliminary list of colleges. Think about:
  • What appeals to you?
  • Do you prefer the excitement of a big city or the quietness of a rural setting?
  • How does the size of the college feel?
  • Do you want to stay closer to home or explore another part of the country/world?

Additionally there are some helpful resources to aid in the research process:
Extracurricular Activities
It's never too late to get involved. The spring is a good time to evaluate your extracurricular activities to determine any additions or changes you may want to make. It is also a great time to start keeping a log of extracurricular activities including: work experience, community service, hobbies and special interests. Naviance has a resume template that is helpful in capturing the details. Another option is to create a personal spreadsheet.
With the first year of high school almost complete, keep working hard and continue to think about summer plans.
Test Prep Opportunities
SAT Subject Tests
SAT Subject Tests are college admission exams on specific subjects. They are the only national admission tests where you choose the tests that best showcase your strengths and interests. Many juniors and some sophomores should consider taking the tests in May or June. For a more complete guide please click here.

College Spotlight
In February, Samantha had the opportunity to visit University College Dublin (UCD) in Dublin, Ireland. Every year, there are a handful of students from Miramonte applying internationally for college, including UCD. After visiting, it was apparent that studying abroad offers many benefits. One of the largest benefits is the focus on professional programs. If a student knows they want to study law or medicine, UCD offers shorter programs at a fraction of the cost of U.S. schools. For example, a student can attain a law degree in five years and return to the States to take the BAR.

International schools tend to be more major and career focused with many three year programs that don't include General Education courses. Although,UCD does also offer a general track for students who want to explore other areas of focus. Additionally, UCD students have a unique advantage with career opportunities due to their state of the art facilities that large corporations sponsor so they can recruit from the student body.

It is important to note the international admission process is heavily test and grade focused. Depending on the major, the admission process can be more rigorous with engineering being the most difficult and English being the least. UCD has a student body comprised of about 27% international students.

UCD is in the heart of Dublin which is a young and internationally diverse city. It is also becoming a fast growing hub for technology. It's a great place to study, mature and start a career as a young professional.
Internship, Job and Volunteer Opportunities
Dolphin Club at Del Rey Elementary  
The after-school program is looking for Miramonte students to help. There are two options for hours:
  • M-F 1:45 - 4:30/ 5
  • M/W/F 1:45-4:30/5
If interested or for more information please email  [email protected]
2018 - 2019 Community Service Program
Our community service program is winding down for the year and the deadline for submitting hours is approaching. The strict deadline for submitting hours is April 14. To qualify for an award please complete these steps:

Award Period: Community service must be completed between April 1 - March 31. 
Wagner Ranch Nature Area Monthly Cleanup and Activities: 1 p.m.-3 p.m.  
Roll up your sleeves and work with nature for a couple of hours every second Sunday of the month (the next cleanup will be held on April 14). Join Toris and the team to learn about nature and how to take care of it. Weather conditions may change the event date. Please confirm with Toris ([email protected]) prior to attending the event. Sign up here .

Orinda Action Day - April 27, 9:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m
It is time for action in Orinda! Be part of the team to help beautify the town. The day begins at the Orinda Library Plaza where you can check in, pick up a free T-shirt, and report to an assigned project leader. There will also be a special project for Miramonte students! Enjoy light refreshments before clean up and a pizza lunch for volunteers. Sign up link to follow.

WRNA, Annual Wildlife Festival - April 28, 11:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m  
The Friends of Wagner Ranch Nature Area is hosting the Annual Wildlife /Earth Day Festival. Volunteers are needed to run games and activities, sell food, and assist with art and crafts. Sign up here .
April 16th (9:00 AM-5:00 PM) - Attend the 13th Annual Northern California Pre-Pharmacy Symposium (NCPPS) held on the UC Berkeley campus to learn more about a career in pharmacy and how to apply to pharmacy schools. This opportunity includes networking with leading pharmacy professionals, exploring some of the nation’s top pharmacy schools, and learning about the diverse career paths in pharmacy. This daylong symposium will feature workshops, presentations, and panels to help answer any of your questions regarding a career in pharmacy. General Admission: $12 (before March 18) or $15 (after March 18), register at Eventbrite .

Summer Programs
Globally Students is recruiting families to host Spanish students or send your child to Spain this summer to live with a host family for 2, 3 or 4 weeks. The program will run from 06-21-2019 to 07-19-2019 in Spain or in your home. You must be in the age group: 12-16. To apply, email Bea Bell at [email protected].

In Other News
SAT subject test requirements and recommendations

With many colleges shifting how they look at standardized testing there are changes happening every year. When is comes to SAT subject tests, many highly competitive schools are moving toward a recommendation or consideration vs a requirement .

To accept or deny? How the college admissions process works
On a Thursday afternoon in late January, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Associate Director of Admission Kayla Hollins was sitting next to stacks of student welcome materials in a Smith House conference room. A horde of applicants would soon receive their acceptance letters.

UMass System Aims to Join the Mega-University Club

University of Massachusetts system President Martin Meehan recently announced plans to create an online college. The Chronicle says the decision is largely “about money,” as “state support for public higher education in Massachusetts has declined by about 13 percent since 2008..."

Helpful Resources
Miramonte College and Career Center