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School and College Counseling

Bergen County Academies is fortunate to attract students with a multitude of talents and interests. The School Counseling Department provides a safe, supportive and nurturing environment for students to learn and grow in an academically challenging institution. Our mission is to provide academic, social, and emotional support at each grade level in order for each student to reach and surpass their individual potential. Working in partnership with teachers, administrators, parents, and community members, we provide the necessary support that students require during their adolescent years.

Through a developmental school counseling program, our counselors work with students every step of the way throughout their high school career. The process begins first trimester of freshmen year with the seminar course Freshmen Exploration for Social, Emotional and Academic Success. Knowing it can be difficult adjusting into the high school culture; this course enables students to become comfortable with their school counselor as well as peers while also exploring typical adolescent issues. By providing freshmen with the necessary academic, social and emotional skills for personal growth and development, students begin to understand their role in creating a positive school climate and making informed choices.

During sophomore year, once again, students work hand in hand with their school counselor in Sophomore Seminar, a course which addresses important issues related to academic, career and college planning. At this time, counselors discuss AP/ IB course selection, the value of enrolling in meaningful summer programs and activities, standardized testing options, and methods of finding colleges that will be a good fit. This seminar is designed to reduce the stress and anxiety students often encounter as they move forward towards their postsecondary goals

As students enter junior year, the School Counseling Department recognizes that the college selection process becomes a major focus. Understanding its importance, counselors work with students to ensure a smooth, confident approach for this sometimes daunting task. Junior College Night is held every year in the winter of junior year for parents and students to understand the entirety of the college process. Immediately after this important night, counselors conduct college planning conferences with students and his/her family to demystify the college process, suggest appropriate collegiate prospects, and guide students through testing and application procedures. Each year, the School Counseling Department hosts numerous college visits, professional speakers, financial aid nights, and our annual spring college fair which attracts over 150 prestigious college and universities.

As junior year comes to an end, students are invited to attend our annual College Exploration Experience (CEE), a three day, two-night program that serves as an intensive look at the college admission process. Students will attend seminars on topics such as How Colleges Select Students, How to Write Your College Essay, and The College Interview. They will be given a mentor who will meet with them in a small group or individual setting to answer questions, refine their essay, and help create a custom list of colleges to consider. Our mentors are both college admissions officers and experienced independent school counselors. They represent selective colleges and universities as well as some of the most prestigious independent schools in the country. While this program is not required, it is highly recommended by our School Counseling Department and previous attendees.

Fall of senior year is an especially busy time in the school counseling office. Counselors assist students with applications, essay critiques and college lists. Although applying to college can be a stressful time in a student and family's life, counselors provide ongoing support and resources to navigate through these challenging times.

Throughout high school, our students utilize Naviance, an online career and college portal. This excellent tool allows students, parents and counselors to communicate about the college process, research what majors are offered at different colleges and maintain a working list of college prospects. With Naviance, the college process becomes far less daunting and students are able to truly assess which colleges are best for their personal goals and abilities. Parents are able to access Naviance as well, so that they can be fully involved and active in the college process.

Although a student's needs vary at each grade level, our commitment to each student's success remains the same. From encouraging students to reach out when they need a helping hand or supporting them through tough times, the School Counseling Department is committed to helping each student reach and surpass their academic, social, and emotional potential.