Volume 5 | March 2019
A Note from Sam
In this Newsletter
A Note From Sam

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
March is a time when the weather starts to get warmer, the days are getting longer and Spring Break is right around the corner. For some juniors and sophomores that means visiting college campuses. If that is on your upcoming "to do" list please be sure to check out the Featured Article this month for tips on maximizing the college tour.

This month also marks the time when seniors will receive many college decisions. Waiting for them can oftentimes be as stressful as the application process. Now more than ever, it is important to remember that every college is a treasure box of amazing resources and stressing over the wait doesn't change the outcome. It is a good time to remind yourself that life is meant to be lived in the moment so, enjoy your friends and family and take advantage of all the moments in front of you. You've worked hard to get to this point. Be proud of that and know that wherever you end up, there will be a treasure for you to discover.

Over the past week, I've had quite a few seniors popping into my office asking about scholarships. To make scholarships easy to find, I've been adding scholarships and referring providers to post their scholarships on Scholars.Shop. I highly encourage your students to check-it-out as many applications are due in March. I also encourage you to check-out the senior section in this newsletter for helpful tools and information on college financial aid.

On a personal note, I am both excited and sad to announce that I have recently accepted a new job with an educational technology start-up. Although I am thrilled to venture into this next phase of life, I will miss the Miramonte community tremendously. I want to thank you for all of your support over the years. Please do not hesitate to reach out and keep in touch and know that I will do everything I can to make this a smooth transition.
Samantha Stuber
College and Career Center Advisor
Keep in touch & stay up to date: LinkedIn, Medium
Featured Article

7 Tips To Get The Most Out
Of The College Tour
For many juniors and sophomores, the spring season means it is a great time to visit colleges. Campus tours are often the best opportunity to research schools and discover what characteristics you like in colleges. Many colleges offer multiple options for visiting their campus. They can range from on-campus tours with information sessions to mini-tours of a department within the college, to becoming a student for a day. One thing they all have in common is campus tours will highlight the best features of the school. However, visiting multiple colleges can be costly as it may mean hopping on a plane or driving long distances. If possible, visit the colleges you are strongly considering and leave the rest to a virtual tour. Should you be accepted to colleges you did not get a chance to visit, that's ok. Many colleges offer accepted student days prior to making a final decision by May 1st. No matter when you visit there are ways to dig deeper and get the most out of the experience. Below are seven tips for making the most out of the college tour experience.

1. When To Go
The best time to visit campus is when school is in session. This will give you a front row seat to the students and what life is like at the college. Generally, this means during spring break since colleges usually have a different spring break than Miramonte.

2. Pay Attention To How You Feel
Sometimes it’s a gut feeling that arises when walking around the campus. While on the tour ask yourself "Can I see myself here?"

3. Talk To Your Tour Guide
They are the best source of information. Ask them questions like:
  • How much time do students spend studying a week?
  • How often do students work together on class projects or assignments?
  • How accessible are faculty members?
  • Where do upperclassmen usually live?
  • Is it hard to make friends? How many people go home on weekends or commute to school?
  • What did you do last weekend?
  • What are some of the more popular extracurricular activities on campus?
  • Could we see a classroom?
  • What percentage of freshman get the courses they want?
The tour guide is a great resource for all the questions you really want answered but may not want to ask the admissions office.

4. Pretend You Are Lost
After the tour is over, venture out on your own. Pretend like you are lost and ask a student for directions. This is a great way to get to know how open and friendly the students are on campus.

5. Pick Up a School Newspaper
Reading the school newspaper or checking out the flyers around campus provides an insight into the social life of the students and what is important to them.

6. Visit the Bookstore
Many college bookstores employ students. They are a great resource for information and will likely provide a different perspective than the tour guide. Spark conversation and ask questions like, "What is your favorite part of college life?" or "What is it like to study your major?"

7. Take Notes
This is likely one of the most important tips. After two years and numerous college tours, it is very difficult to remember the details of your experience. Once you return from the tour take five minutes to write down your thoughts. What stood out to you? What did you like about the college? How did you feel about the students? Could you see yourself as a student there and why? Keeping notes will prove to be an invaluable tool as you make decisions on where to apply and ultimately where to attend college.

Through it all, it's important to remember that visiting a college is not a requirement for admission. It is merely an opportunity to get a closer glimpse of what life might be like as a student. So, if you are lucky enough to step foot onto campus before applying, make sure you get all you can out of the visit!

Upcoming Events and Deadlines
Class Specific Monthly Focus
Accepted Student Days
As college decisions roll in this month, many students will have the opportunity to attend Accepted Student Days. This is the optimal time to visit or revisit the schools where your senior has been accepted. If there is not one available or you cannot make the scheduled date, reach out to the admissions office and plan an individual trip. During the visit pay special attention to the vibe of the campus, attend a class, eat in the dining hall and encourage your senior to ask "can I see myself here?" Ultimately allowing the student to make the final decision is empowering.

Colleges Missing Out Wall
March is the biggest month for high school seniors to await college decisions. That means there will be acceptances and rejections. Although it is never easy to hear "no," recognizing others are having the same experience creates a sense of community. Throughout the month we encourage students to bring their 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:
  • Continuing through March and April students can add letters to the wall on their own. Supplies will be on a table inside the Student Union
  • 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
Financial aid letters are usually more confusing than they have to be. 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
College Tours
Spring Break is a great time to plan college visits. The weather is warmer, college students are typically on campus and your junior is likely starting to give serious thought to next year. If you have a planned vacation, see if there is a way to incorporate a tour into your schedule. Staying closer to home over Spring break? There are many colleges within an hour of Orinda making it easy to plan a day trip. For helpful information on how to make the most of the college tour experience see the featured article this month.

SAT Subject Tests
In addition to the ACT or SAT, some four year colleges require or recommend two SAT subject tests. Taking them in May or June of junior year is typically good timing since many students are completing AP level courses in various subject areas. The registration deadline for the May test date is April 5 and the June test date is May 3. Click here to register. For a detailed guide on subject tests please see here.

Summer Programs
The summer between junior and senior year is a great time to consider a summer program. With many options available including: academic programs, leadership experiences or outdoor adventures there is something for every area of interest. For ideas on summer programs and a list of both local and national programs, click here.
SAT Subject Test - Math Level 2
If you are a sophomore currently enrolled in Algebra 2/Trig/Precalculus you should consider taking the SAT - Math Level 2 subject test on May 4 or June 1. It is 60 minutes in length with 50 multiple choice questions. Some colleges require or recommend two SAT subject tests in addition to the SAT or ACT. To register for the test please click here.
With the final quarter of freshman year about to begin, now is a great time to start thinking about how you might want to spend your summer. It is also a great time to look through the College and Career 101 page for a peek at what's to come.
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.

SAT Comprehensive Course - Miramonte High School - March 5th- April 30th on Tuesdays from 3:45 PM – 5:45 PM, 8-weeks, 16-hours of in-person instruction, 8-hours of online testing. Last day to sign up is this Sunday, March 3rd! $499 Link for more information and to sign up

ACT/SAT Mock Combo Exam - Miramonte High School - March 16th - 9am - 1pm. This test helps students decide between the ACT and SAT. To sign up and for more information please go to, Tried & True's website and use ‘MIRA10’ to receive a $10 discount.

For more test prep opportunities at schools in our district, see the Tried and True Tutoring webstore.
College Spotlight
The University of Redlands is a private, liberal arts college located about an hour east of Los Angeles. It is considered a small university with less than 5,000 students. Being a smaller college lends itself to an environment of camaraderie and team spirit. It's common to see familiar faces whether you are in the library, in the quad or in class. The University of Redlands prides itself on being a tightly knit community where personal attention fosters growth. One way they achieve this is by giving back to those around them. Community service is a critical part of the culture where students earn over 120,000 hours a year. Another highlight of the college is the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies. This unique program is based on the notion that students should have ownership of their education. During sophomore year, each Johnston student maps out a plan that brings together classes from multiple departments, experiential learning, and cross-cultural experiences to fulfill an educational vision. Whether a student is enrolled in the Johnston Center or another area of focus, the University of Redlands honors the individual path and the collective learning process for all.
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]
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 March 10, 2019). 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 .

If you have volunteer hours you would like to record, please use this Google form and email or turn in a confirmation letter to the CCC.
March 10 (1:30 PM) - The Berkeley City Club Conservancy is hosting an interactive STEAM panel made up of professional women who are utilizing their educations in STEAM. They are encouraging young women to attend and though there is no fee, they are requesting RSVP .

March 15th (8:00 AM-3:30 PM) - The Society of Women Engineers at UC Berkeley is hosting Mini University, a free one-day program to give bay-area high school students the opportunity to learn more about majors and careers in STEM. Throughout the program, students will visit research labs, participate in hands-on engineering activities, hear from professors and panels, and meet with Berkeley engineering students and organizations. First come, first serve with a deadline of March 8th! Visit https://swe.berkeley.edu/miniu for more information and apply now at https://tinyurl.com/miniUS19

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
How to Appeal a Financial Aid Letter
How do you appeal a financial aid letter? Should you appeal a financial aid award? What kind of college awards can you appeal?

How To Get Through College Debt-Free, And Without Rich Parents
Imagine: graduating from college with no debt. An amazing 70% of college students graduate with significant amounts of debt. Some 44 million Americans together hold $1.5 trillion in student loans. The average amount owed is $37,172.

Helpful Resources
Miramonte College and Career Center