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Stand Out From the Crowd

Advice on how to navigate the admissions process

Stand Out From the Crowd

(page 1 of 3)

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A quality education is a worthwhile investment, but with thousands of schools to choose from, how do you choose the right one? How do you survive the mind-boggling process? Is it possible to find the “perfect” fit? We talked to local admissions officers at the secondary and college levels and asked for tips on how to learn about the ins and outs of area schools, how to determine if a school is the right fit, and advice for those interested in applying in the near future. From doing your research in advance to understanding each school’s unique mission, this guide will help you stand out from the crowd when applying for schools.

Secondary Education

Breck School

Breck has been everything we wanted and expected—an excellent education in small classes, individual attention to our kids’ needs, opportunities to try new things in a safe environment, and a community of parents who believe in the school’s mission. —Anne Damon and Roy Ginsburg, parents of Breck students

What, in your opinion, are the best ways to learn about the ins and outs of a particular school? It is important that interested students and their parents have as much information as possible about Breck. Visit the campus for a tour, meet faculty and students. Spend a morning or a full academic day as guests of Breck students in the applicant’s current grade level.

What is the deadline for applications? February 1, 2007. The candidate’s application file must be complete to be considered in the first round of decision-making. Decision letters are mailed to applicants and their parents in April of 2007.

What is Breck’s mission? To prepare each student for a college whose culture is compatible with the individual’s needs, interests, and abilities; help develop each student’s unique talents and potential; and instill in each student a deep sense of social responsibility.

Contact info:
123 Ottawa Ave. North, Mpls., MN 55422
763-381-8100 • www.breckschool.org

Minnehaha Academy

We can’t imagine our daughter being better prepared for college, academically, socially,
and spiritually. —Parent of a recent Minnehaha Academy graduate

When reviewing applications, what makes a student truly stand out? For Lower School (grades K-5), we rely on a visit to our school. During this visit the Minnehaha teacher will make observations about readiness and fit for the curriculum at Minnehaha Academy. For Upper School (9-12) and Middle School (6-8) we do a thorough review of academic background (school records, testing, teacher recommendations). We also interview prospective students, have them answer some short essay questions and encourage them to visit classes for a day.

On average, how many applications do you receive every year? How many students do you accept? For a given school year, we receive between 350-400 applications. We accept 70-75 percent of the applications we receive.
Do you have any advice for those interested in applying/attending in the future? Call our Admission Office. Visit our school. Visit other schools. Talk to parents. Find the school that is the right fit for your student.

Contact info: 3100 West River Pkwy., Mpls., MN 55406
612-728-7763 • www.minnehahaacademy.net

Minnetonka Public Schools

If you are looking for a community committed to families and children, one that values and supports education, and has a hometown community feel, you’ve found it in the Minnetonka School District! —Dr. Dennis Peterson, Superintendent

Who attends Minnetonka Public Schools? The Minnetonka Public School District is a high performing school district proudly serving families in all or part of 10 communities: Minnetonka, Chanhassen, Deephaven, Eden Prairie, Excelsior, Greenwood, Shorewood, Tonka Bay, Victoria and Woodland.

How many students are enrolled in District 276? We serve approximately 7,700 students in grades K-12. In addition, our birth-to-5 Early Childhood Family Education Program serves families and children during the most critical early developmental years.

What sets District 276 apart from other public schools?
We are a leader among public schools in the state, nationally recognized for the use of technology in the classroom as an accelerator of learning. The education students receive in Minnetonka schools is unlike any other.

Contact info: 5621 Cty. Rd. 101, Minnetonka, MN 55345
952-401-5000 • www.minnetonka.k12.mn.us

Mounds Park Academy

MPA has sparked a passionate, hard-working sense of global and personal responsibility in me, as well as an urge to not only learn and experience the world, but to change it for the better. —Current MPA senior Sara Coomes

Do you have any advice for those interested in applying to MPA? Mounds Park Academy is a pre-kindergarten through 12th grade school and admits new students in every grade level each year. Students applying to our middle (grades 5-8) and upper (grades 9-12) schools should set high academic standards as that is what will be expected of them as students of MPA. Mounds Park Academy places a high value on a liberal arts education and encourages students to not only take a wide range of academic subjects, but also to get involved in the many extra-curricular activities offered at the school. When looking at applicants, we look at how well-rounded their previous education has been and what activities they have been involved in outside of the classroom.

On average, how many applications do you receive every year? How many students do you accept? Last year at Mounds Park Academy, we received around 175 application and offered admission to approximately 145 students.

Contact info: 2051 E. Larpenteur Ave., St. Paul, MN 55109
651-777-2555 • www.moundsparkacademy.org

The International School of MN

We care much about the students, their growth academically, intellectually and physically. The school runs like a clock. We are the gears of the clock and we help students see the time. —ISM Upper School math teacher

What, in your opinion, are the best ways to learn about the ins and outs of a particular school? The Admissions process at The International School of Minnesota is designed to help parents make the best educational decision for their children. We strive to enable The School, applicants, and parents to learn as much as possible about each other in order to determine the suitability of ISM’s environment for each applicant. Interested families are encouraged to visit The School for a tour by appointment. The prospective family will have the chance to visit a classroom and talk with our admissions staff.

What is the admissions deadline? ISM has an open enrollment admission policy. As long as students meet the academic criteria, they are accepted throughout the school year. Students are enrolled on a space-available basis.

How is the International School different from other schools? ISM is part of the SABIS® Educational System. The SABIS® Educational System and other points of distinction tend to attract an extensive breadth and depth of students and families of different cultures, religions, languages, and perspectives.

Contact info:
6385 Beach Rd., Eden Prairie, MN 55344
952-918-1840 • www.ism-sabis.net

Southwest Christian High School

Southwest not only prepared me well for the rigors of college, but also helped me define my biblical worldview. —Nancy Walters, 2006 graduate

When reviewing applications, what makes a student truly stand out? We have three criteria for our applicants: a desire to grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ, a desire to learn, and a desire on the part of the family to work with the school’s vision, mission, philosophy, and values. Students who really shine in the application process are those who have shown self-discipline in their studies and have sought out ways to challenge themselves and find out their gifts/strengths.

How valuable are pre-college learning programs? As a college-prep school, very valuable. Southwest offers AP courses in Calculus, U.S. History, and English. We also offer honors courses and two college-level courses taught by Crown College professors.

When determining if a school is the right fit, what would you recommend a student (or parent) take into consideration? Two things: the people (students, staff, and families); and the school’s foundation (mission, vision, etc.) These two things will have a more permanent impact on a student’s life than a particular class or sport, the facilities, or the location. Students and parents should ask themselves, “What are the people like here? What are they about? What drives this school?”

Contact info: 103 Peavey Rd., Chaska, MN 55318
952-556-0040 • www.swchs.org

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