Academics

College Counseling

Continuing
The
Journey

Take what you’ve learned about your strengths, accomplishments, interests, and aspirations and spring forward with confidence into your next venture. Brimmer’s college counselors use their expertise and personal rapport with students to support them throughout the college application process. We think of the process as a fulfilling and culminating experience for students, one that includes applying critical thinking, employing communications skills, and using self-knowledge to chart one’s course.

Meet Our Counselors

List of 3 members.

  • Photo of Lisa Summergrad

    Lisa Summergrad 

    Director of College Counseling
    617-278-2326
  • Photo of Dona Rehm

    Dona Rehm 

    Associate Director of College Counseling, Co-Director of Career Readiness
    617-278-2322
  • Photo of Alicia Parker

    Alicia Parker 

    College Counselor (Parental Leave, Fall 2021)

Learn About Our Programs

List of 4 items.

  • Grade 9

    • Although there is no formal college counseling in Grade 9, students are introduced to the college counseling program and SCOIR, our college and career exploration platform, through their 9th Grade Wellness curriculum.
    • We encourage students to focus on trying their best in their classes and finding their interests through extracurricular involvement both at Brimmer and beyond.
    • Parents/guardians and students are invited to all events hosted by the College Counseling Office, including the Grade 9 and 10 Parent Introduction to College Counseling event before Back-to-School Night, College Funding and Financial Aid events, and the monthly College Parent Coffee events.
    • If a student has educational testing on file with Brimmer, parents should check in with the Director of Academic Services for information regarding accommodations for standardized testing.
  • Grade 10

    • Students are encouraged to complete the Career Profile on SCOIR through the YouScience platform. This tool will help students see what career options exist and what areas align best with their individual interests and strengths.
    • Practice for standardized testing begins with the PSAT®, which is given to students for the first time in the Grade 10. After students receive their scores in December, we encourage them to meet with a college counselor to discuss their score report.
    • Parents/guardians and students are invited to all events hosted by the College Counseling Office, including the Grade 9 and 10 Parent Introduction to College Counseling event before Back-to-School Night, College Funding and Financial Aid events, and the monthly College Parent Coffee events.
    • Students interested in pursuing athletics or performance arts in college should seek to meet with a college counselor; those seeking to play at the NCAA Division I or II level or NAIA need to register with these respective organizations at this time.
  • Grade 11

    • Students are encouraged to use SCOIR to sign up for College Rep Visits beginning in Grade 11. This is a great way to learn about different colleges and start to explore the college landscape.
    • Students take the PSAT for the second time during October of Grade 11 to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program. We also encourage students to take a free practice ACT through Summit Educational Group, which are offered on most weekends. Once students have a practice ACT score, we can compare it to the student’s PSAT score and recommend which test a student should take.
    • Counselor assignments are communicated with students and parents in the early winter. Students are encouraged to meet with their assigned counselor in December for preliminary conversations about the college process. 
    • Starting in the second semester, students are enrolled in a weekly College Counseling Class to introduce the college application process. The college counseling curriculum covers topics such as the landscape of American higher education, what makes a college “good,” holistic admissions, financial aid, a balanced college list and the college essay.
    • 11th graders and their parents are invited to attend the Junior College Night in late January. The College Counseling team will review the college application timeline as well as the landscape of college admissions as an introduction to this stage of the journey to college. Topics will include testing, financial aid, SCOIR and college visits, while also reflecting on the purpose and motivation behind the college process.
    • College Night is held in the spring to dive more deeply into the ins and outs of the college application. College Night alternates between a Case Studies Event and a College Representative Panel to give students a variety of ways to learn more about what goes into a college application.
  • Grade 12

    • Students in Grade 12 continue to participate in a College Counseling class once a week during the first semester. The first part of the semester is dedicated to preparing student applications, including discussions on essays, supplements, interviews, and decision plans. The second part of the semester is focused on the transition to college, such as how to access resources on campus, how to get involved, and how to manage expectations.
    • The first semester for Grade 12 is the key timeframe when students will be exploring and applying to colleges. Students should be attending College Rep visits, meeting with their counselor, and dedicating time outside of school to the application process. More details on the timeline and expectations can be found in the college guide.
    • In the second semester, students are encouraged to meet with their counselors to discuss their college options, including comparing financial aid offers and comparing programs at each school to which they have been accepted.

College Counseling FAQ

List of 6 frequently asked questions.

  • When does the college process begin at Brimmer?

    The College Counseling Office officially begins working with students during second semester of Grade 11 when students are enrolled in a weekly college counseling seminar and begin individual meetings with their assigned college counselor. We also hold a Grade 11 College Night in January for parents and students to kick off the college process.
     
    During Grades 9 and 10, we encourage students to focus on their academics and extracurricular activities as these areas are extremely important in the college application process. The College Counseling Office also hosts several events throughout the year that focus on various areas of the college counseling process including testing, financial aid, advice on the admissions review process from college admission counselors, and we encourage students and parents/guardians from the entire community to attend. Grade 9 and Grade 10 parents are invited to an Introduction to the College Counseling Team event in the fall ahead of Back-to-School Night.
  • What does the standardized testing calendar look like for Brimmer students?

    Students take the PSAT at Brimmer for the during October of their Grade 10 year and again in October of their Grade 11 year. We then encourage students to take a free practice ACT through Summit Educational Group, which are offered on most weekends. Once students have a practice ACT score, we can compare it to the student’s PSAT score and recommend which test a student should take. We recommend that every student take an official ACT or SAT test in the spring of Grade 11. Students can take the test for a second time in either the late summer or early fall of their Grade 12 year. The College Counselors will also help guide students through the process of choosing to apply test-optional if that option is available.
  • How does the college counseling team feel about Early Decision and Early Action?

    Early Decision is a binding option, and if accepted, students must attend that college. This option is not for every student; it is only for those students who have a first-choice college. We recommend that students who are considering this option have a conversation with their college counselor. Early Action is another early option but is not binding (with the exception of a few colleges that are Restrictive Early Action). The advantage of Early Action is that students are able to send in their applications early and hear a decision early, but they don’t have to commit until May 1st. We recommend that students individually discuss their application deadline options with their college counselor.
  • What makes the college search process unique to Brimmer?

    Our small class size allows for our college counselors to really get to know students. We meet weekly in small groups beginning second semester in Grade 11 and continue through first semester of Grade 12. We also have individual meetings with students which allows the college counselors to assist students individually in every step of the process from developing an appropriate college list based on the student’s interests to helping keep a student’s application process on track. The time our counselors spend with students helps them to write detailed and meaningful college recommendations.
  • How are parents and guardians included in the college process?

    Parents and guardians of students in all grades are encouraged to attend any of the events and programs that the College Counseling Office hosts during the year. College Coffees are held once a month for parents of students in any grade to meet with the college counselors and answer questions. We encourage parents of 11th graders to meet individually with their student’s college counselor and be a part of each step of their student’s process.
  • How does Brimmer stay connected to trends in the college admission world?

    Our College Counselors attend regional and national conferences each year. They also stay up-to-date by visiting colleges throughout the US and abroad. Many colleges also hold counselor events in the local Boston area that the college counselors are invited to and attend. Each fall, over 85 colleges and universities visit Brimmer to meet with students and update counselors on their individual college or university.
Smarttrack College Funding

College Counseling News

Upcoming Events

List of 1 events.

  • Nov
    19

    College Coffee

    All upper school parents/guardians invited.
As an inclusive community, Brimmer welcomes students who will increase the diversity of our school. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, gender, gender identity and expression, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, or any other characteristic protected from discrimination under state or federal law, in the administration of our educational policies, admissions practices, financial aid decisions, and athletic and other school-administered programs.