College Update HeaderVol. 6                                                 June 2017                                                             No. 10                           


This will be our last College Counseling Update until September. We have spent the past week evaluating the year and our program. We are happy with the progress we have made and we will continue to search for ways to better serve the students and you.

We would like to thank everyone for their support this year. We are fortunate to work with a wonderful group of parents. We value the feedback we have received as it has helped us to improve our offerings. During the summer, I will be in the office most days, so if you have any questions related to the college application process, please feel free to call me at 978-448-1556 or email me at

We hope everyone has a relaxing and safe summer and we look forward to seeing you in the fall.

Best Wishes,


Director of College Counseling 

Parents of Seniors: Thank You!
Your children’s Lawrence careers, and their college searches, have ended. While there are bumps in any road, we hope that overall, the ride has been a happy and rewarding one both for you and your new graduates.

We thank you for your support during the long college process: for the time you spent filling out our questionnaires, for attending college office parent events so faithfully, and for taking hours off from work to come in and meet with us when it seemed important to do so. We take our work with you very seriously, and one of the great rewards of our profession is knowing that our efforts on behalf of your children are appreciated, even if we don’t always agree.

Our best wishes for the coming summer and beyond. Please don’t hesitate to contact any of us in the future should the need arise.

Sean Sheehan, Director of College Counseling
Kimberly Bohlin Healy, Associate Director of College Counseling
Courtney Cronin, College Counselor
Christopher Margraf, College Counselor
Lauren Chenevert, College Counseling Office Assistant

Parents of Juniors: Parent College Questionnaire

If you have yet to complete the Parent College Questionnaire, it would be helpful for us if you could do so. You can access the document through your Naviance Family Connection account. Once you arrive to the site, you should log in. (If you have forgotten your username and/or password, please email Kim Bohlin Healy at, and she can reset them for you.) Once you have logged in you will arrive at the home page, where at the top you will see a large tab, “about me.” Click on that tab and you will arrive to the “about me” page. In the top left corner there is a section called “surveys to take,” under which you will see the Parent College Questionnaire. Click on that link and you will arrive at the questionnaire. You can also fill in the Parent College Questionnaire PDF and email it directly to your child's college counselor. We appreciate your taking the time to complete it, as it is a great help to us when we write our counselor statements.

Parents of Juniors: Summer Reading

Summer Reading

This may not be your typical summer reading, but if you find some spare time or are in need of a book for the beach, here are few suggestions from the college office.

College Admissions “Overview” Books:

  • Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania, Frank Bruni, Grand Central Publishing, 2015. "Over the last few decades, Americans have turned college admissions into a terrifying and occasionally devastating process, preceded by test prep, tutors, all sorts of stratagems, all kinds of rankings, and a conviction among too many young people that their futures will be determined and their worth established by which schools say yes and which say no. That belief is wrong. It's cruel. And Frank Bruni explains why, giving students and their parents a new perspective on this brutal, deeply flawed competition and a path out of the anxiety that it provokes."
  • The College Admissions Mystique, Bill Mayher, Noonday Press, New York, NY, 1998. Advice and perspective from a highly respected, retired college counselor from Northeast prep schools.
  • College Unranked: Ending the College Admissions Frenzy, Lloyd Thacker, editor, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 2005. Close to two-dozen essays from college deans and presidents.
  • Looking Beyond the Ivy League: Finding the College That’s Right for You, Loren Pope, Penguin Books, New York, NY, 2007. Advice from a highly respect college consultant.

Preliminary College List-Builder Books:

  • Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges, Loren Pope, Penguin Publishing Group, New York, NY, 2013-2014 edition. A ground breaking guide to the 40 best colleges you've never heard of - colleges that will change your life.
  • The College Finder: Choose the School That’s Right for You, Steven Antonoff, Wintergreen Orchard House, Westford, MA 2008. College lists book with category groupings such as academic fields, learning environment, world view, athletic life, finances and hidden gems.
  • Rugg’s Recommendations on the Colleges, Frederick E, Rugg, Fallbrook, CA, 2009. Lists of colleges by major, organized by selectivity and denotes size of school. (newest version available for purchase in online format)

Narrative, Subjective College Guidebooks:

  • Barron’s Guide to the Most Competitive Colleges, Barron’s Educational Series, Hauppauge, NY 2011. Profiles close to 70 colleges with approximately 10 pages on each.
  • Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges, Loren Pope, Penguin Books, New York, NY, 2006. Exactly what the title states!
  • The Fiske Guide to Colleges, Edward Fiske, Sourcebooks, Naperville, IL 2011. Profiles over 300 colleges and includes application “overlaps.”

Campus Visit and College Interview Books:

  • Campus Visits and College Interviews, Zola Dincin, College Board, New York, NY, 2012. Checklist, tips, websites to help prepare for interviews and visits.
  • The College Atlas & Planner, Wintergreen Orchard House, Westford, MA 2007. Spiral-bound book of state-by-state maps that display only colleges and universities and major highways – great visit planner.
  • Guide to College Visits, Princeton Review, Random House, New York, NY, 2007. Good planner with regional maps, sample itineraries, directions, hotel suggestions for over 370 schools.

Strategy Books/How Colleges Admit Students:

  • Admissions Confidential: An insider’s Account of the Elite College Selection Process, Rachel Toor, Saint Martin’s Press, New York, NY 2001. Duke admissions officer guides readers through the yearly cycle of recruitment, application and selection process.
  • College Admission: From Application for Acceptance, Step by Step, Robin Mamlet and Christine Van De Velde, Three Rivers Pree, New York, NY, 2011. Former dean at Stanford lends admissions advice.
  • The Gatekeeper’s: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College, Jaques Steinberg, Viking, Penguin Putnam, New York, NY 2002. NY Times education reporter shadows a Wesleyan University admissions officer for a full-year admissions process.
  • Winning the College Admissions Game, Peter Van Buskirk, Peterson’s, Lawrenceville, NJ 2007. Former Dean of Admissions at Franklin & Marshall allots 2/3 of the book to advice for students and the remaining 1/3 advice for parents.
Information for Junior Parents

Summer 'To-Do's'

As summer is upon us, you may well be wondering what your rising senior needs to be doing to prepare for college applications. The students have had their final briefings with the college counselors and have headed off armed with a to-do list for the summer: Summer Checklist. The more that your student can accomplish this summer in preparing to submit college applications, the better off he or she will be, and the less stressed the fall term is likely to be.

First and foremost, students are to continue their research into colleges so that they can prioritize their list of colleges to visit and plan those visits. These visits should include a tour and information session, and, at any college that offers them, students should schedule interviews as well. Lots of information about college visits and interviewing is included in our manual, College Counseling Handbook, on the LA website. Our expectation is that students will arrive back on our campus in the fall with a nearly final list of where they will apply. Students should continue to use Naviance Family Connection to update their college list as well as their interest level. . (If you have forgotten your username and/or password, please email Kim Bohlin Healy at, and she can reset them for you.)

Students can also take steps toward completing their applications during the summer. All students in the Class of 2018 have created a Common Application account and can continue to work on all sections within the 'Common App' tab throughout the summer. Beginning on August 1, students may add specific colleges to their Common Application. Attached you will find a sheet with tips for filling out the Common Application: Common Application Tip Sheet.

Information for Junior Parents

SAT and ACT Reminders

Registration for 2017-2018 tests will open over the summer (around July 1). Please check the websites over the summer (SAT:; ACT:  for registration deadlines. It is important to note that SAT is offering a new testing date on August 26.

Important Reminders:

  1. Students are responsible for registering for tests and sending official test scores to college when they apply. Students are also responsible for understanding the test requirements at each school to which they will apply (Subject Test requirements, SAT with essay, ACT with writing, etc.).
  2. Students are responsible for registering for tests.
  3. Students are responsible for understanding the test requirements at each school to which they will apply. Do they require subject tests? Will they accept the ACT with writing in lieu of subject tests?
Parents of Juniors

Common Application Summer Essay Work

We included some work and suggestions regarding the essay in our April college counseling class. All students should continue working on a draft and then fine tuning their essays in order to return to school with a draft that is ready to submit as soon as their first application is due. This could be as early as October 15 or November 1. If you have seen other children through the essay-writing process, please be aware that the choices for essay topics on the Common Application changed for the Class of 2014, again for the Class of 2016, and once again for the Class of 2018. 

The college essay, or personal statement, has become a critically important piece of an application, particularly in highly selective institutions. The reason for this is that the essay is typically the only part in the application where the student’s “voice” is allowed to come through in his or her own words. For this reason, it is important that the essay be written by the student, and the student only. Admission officers can easily detect when a parent or other adult has had a heavy hand in writing the essay, which should read as if a teenager had written it. Your role as parents, then, will be to help your son or daughter by discussing essay topics and serving as a source of encouragement. The college counselors will meet with each senior throughout the fall to help essay revisions, content and overall development.

So that you may be prepared to guide your students, here are the essay topics that appear on this year’s Common Application:

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. [No change]

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? [Revised]

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

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. [No change]

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

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? [New]

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. [New]

We have discussed with our students several essay topics that they should generally avoid: College Essay Topics to Avoid. That being said, we have certainly seen students write thoughtful and unique essay's about one of these "topics to avoid." We have encouraged our rising seniors to send their counselor drafts of their essay for feedback.

Information for All Parents

Website Information

Currently, there is a plethora of information available in print and on the web about the college process. We want to be sure that you are aware that our webpage on the school website contains many valuable resources. You can access our page at: LA College Counseling Webpage.

We encourage you to visit our web page and to look at its many features. You can access our College Counseling Handbook, and past issues of the College Counseling Office Monthly Update. There are helpful links about financing a college education, college scholarships and summer opportunities. You also find information about standardized testing and the calendar for our office.

Please take the time to look at our web page and let us know if you have any suggestions on how we can make it even more beneficial for you.

Information For All Parents

College Counseling Handbook

Please remember, if you want more detailed information about the college application process, that our College Counseling Handbook, is always available on our web page on the Lawrence Academy website. The book describes in detail our approach to applying to college. The information in the handbook is organized to take you through all of the steps of the college application process. You can select specific chapters or download a PDF of the entire book.

Dates To Remember


  • June 3 SAT & Subject Tests at LA
  • June 10 ACT (not offered at LA)
  • July 31-Aug 3 College Application Bootcamp (Class of 2018)
  • July 28 Registration deadline for August 26 SAT
  • August 1 Common Application rolls over for the Class of 2018
  • August 4 Registration deadline for Sept 9 ACT
  • August 26 SAT & Subject Tests (not offered at LA)
  • September 9 ACT at LA
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