Who to Show Some Love This Valentine’s Day

Seniors! Show some love to the people who supported your college search and application process by writing them a thank you note this Valentine’s Days. Small gestures of thanks can go a long way.

People to thank: parents, guidance counselor, teachers, letter of recommendation writers, college admissions officers you met with, and tutors just to name a few!


 *Stay in the know! Subscribe for news, tips, and advice*

Love Pets?

I’ll be running the 2018 United Airlines Half Marathon on March 18th to raise money for PAWS NY because I tolerate running, but I LOVE pets. I’m a little under halfway to my fundraising goal so I need your support! https://www.crowdrise.com/donate/project/paws-nyc-half-2018/brittanymaschal

The mission of PAWS NY is to help New York City’s most vulnerable residents remain with their pets by delivering critical programs and services through a community of partners and volunteers. PAWS NY programs help keep pets in their homes while protecting and promoting the human-animal bond that is so physically and psychologically valuable to their clients. Thus, their motto: helping people by helping pets. You can read more about PAWS NY (also happens to be an organization local to me in BK) here: https://pawsny.org/

Pets provide us with companionship, unconditional love, and numerous physical health benefits. Funds raised through the NYC Half Marathon will help protect this relationship for those facing challenges from advancing age, disability, or illness.

Speaking of pets, here’s a photo of my #1, Lola:


Join Our Facebook Group for Common App News and Advice

In May of 2017, we released the first video in a series of video tutorials on the blog to help you fill out the Common Application. In tandem, we created a Facebook Group, Conquer The Common Application. We hope this group will serve as an additional forum beyond this blog to share Common App related news, tips, and advice. We hope that students, parents, counselors—really anyone who fills out or helps students fill out the Common App—will join and use the group as a place to learn and share with each another. Through the group, I will be able to circulate information that is not as easy to share on this blog, for example, completed “sample” sections from the Common App to refer to as you fill it out.

This group is closed, meaning you need to request to join the group to have access to its contents.  Please join the group and invite your friends! And while you’re on Facebook, follow the BMC page, too!


*Stay in the know! Subscribe for news, tips, and advice*

2018 National School Counseling Week

Did you know that National School Counseling Week is always celebrated the first full week in February?

2018 National School Counseling Week, “School Counselors: Helping Students Reach for the Stars,” will be celebrated from Feb. 5-9, 2018, to focus public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors within U.S. school systems. National School Counseling Week, sponsored by ASCA, highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career.

Students and parents—thank your school counselor this week for all that they do!

February Action Plan – Freshmen/Sophomores

Just a few notes for 9th and 10th graders this month:

  • Focus on your grades! Your transcript is the most important part of your college application.
  • Start to think about next year’s course schedule. Do you know what you will be taking? Your classes next year should be more challenging than this year.
  • Start working on your resume now. Some colleges let you send one with your application, and it’s best to have it drafted early and ready to update as needed. Also because…
  • Many 2018 summer program applications are now open. You should be confirming your plans for summer 2018 now and work on applications if needed.


*Stay in the know! Subscribe for news, tips, and advice*


February Action Plan – Seniors

Not very many notes for seniors this month. Even if you are already “in” and know where you are headed next fall, make sure to keep your grades up; if you are in the ED II or RD pool, this applies to you, too! Here are a few things to keep in mind this month:

  • Don’t forget to fill out your portion of the Common Application Mid-Year Report and forward it to your counselor (or follow any specific instructions your school has for filing these reports with colleges). The Mid-Year Report can be found under the “My Colleges” tab on each college’s Recommenders and FERPA page. Schools that don’t use the Common App have their own mid-year reports and instructions. Please check with your school counselor to make sure these reports are sent as needed.
  • Once your applications have been submitted, be sure to track the status of each app online to ensure all of your application materials were received. Follow up with your school counselor ASAP if a school is missing your transcript or a letter of recommendation. Check your junk email folder regularly (daily), so you do not miss correspondence from schools.


*Stay in the know! Subscribe for news, tips, and advice*


February Action Plan – Juniors

Lots on the to-do list this month, juniors! Here are a few things we think should be on your radar:

  • Now is the time to visit colleges! Are you going to sit in on a class? Do you want to try to meet with someone in your intended department of interest (major, minor, etc.)? Not all schools offer formal pathways to these opportunities, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make them happen. After all campus visits, even if you just sit in on a general info session and take a tour, send your regional rep and any admission representatives you met while on campus a follow-up/thank you email.
  • Some colleges open up their on-campus interviews this spring. If you plan to visit campus and interview, please prepare. You should always prepare for interviews, even if a school states they are not evaluative.
  • Many applications for summer activities/programs are now live. Next summer is a wonderful opportunity to do something really meaningful, perhaps even fun, that will help you tell your story for college! Make your plans now.
  • Meet with your college counselor and get a game-plan in place for spring/summer.
  • Start working on your resume. Some summer programs, internships, and interviewers will ask for this, so it’s useful to have handy.
  • Do you know what major(s) you will mark on your application? Do you have a clearly defined “story” for your college apps? If not, this is a critical part of the process that should be determined now.
  • Start to think about your senior year schedule. Do you know what you will be taking? Your senior classes should be the most challenging of your four years.


*Stay in the know! Subscribe for news, tips, and advice*


Colleges Offering Guaranteed Admissions

Guaranteed college admission? Yes, it exists! Quite a few US colleges/universities offer guaranteed admissions to students who meet certain SAT, ACT, and GPA criteria. You often find these policies at large public institutions because they have a ton of applications to read through and this is a good way to make that process more efficient. So is guaranteed admissions only for in-state students? No! There are several public university systems that offer guaranteed admissions specifically to out-of-state applicants who meet certain standards. 

College Kickstart compiled a comprehensive list of schools with guaranteed admissions policies for both residents and non-residents and the base criteria. Head over to their website to check it out!


*Stay in the know! Subscribe for news, tips, and advice*

2018-2019 Common Application Essay Prompts

The Common Application has announced that the 2018-2019 personal essay writing prompts will be the same as the seven 2017-2018 essay prompts.

With the announcement of the essay prompts and the ability for applicants to roll over their Common App account each year, there’s no better time than now to get a head start on your app work. For more information, go to Common App Ready, a series of ready-to-use resources, presentations, training videos, and handouts covering everything from account creation through submission.

2018-2019 Common Application Essay Prompts

1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

4. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.

5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.



By 10th and 11th-grade college talk should be consistent—especially if you are, or have a student who is—aiming to attend a selective college or university. That said, we start the majority of our work with students, which includes applying to summer programs, narrative development (your “story” for college), developing your college list, and completing the personal statement and resume, in 11th grade. There is no better time to start the process than right now!

Juniors should consider the following:

  • It is test prep time! If you have not started yet, start now.
  • Meet with your school counselor. S/he will write one of your letters of recommendation for college, and the letter will be much more personal if you know each other! Talk about your plans for this year and next year; let them know about your preliminary college list, any visits you have scheduled, and your testing plan.
  • Now is the time to build your story for college! Have you gotten more involved with any of your extracurricular activities, especially those that relate to your academic interests? Look for leadership opportunities in school and consider activities outside of school as well. Think about ideas for new and different activities, or for how to get more involved in your favorite activity (academic and non-academic).
  • Visit the websites of the schools you are interested in. Explore the admissions and academics pages. Start to think about your major of interest and how the activities you are involved in support this interest; you should be exploring your interests outside of the classroom/school!
  • Visit colleges in person! Spring is a great time to visit colleges. Talk to students, faculty, and staff, and take notes about classes, clubs, etc. you might want to include in your essays.

Email us or fill out the contact form to schedule a consult and find out how we can support you in your college planning and application process!


*Stay in the know! Subscribe for news, tips, and advice*