Bergen County Academies: 2019 Parent Seminar Recap

20th Annual BCA Test Event & Parent Seminar

MEK Review’s 20th Annual BCA Test Event & Parent Seminar was a huge success! Thank you to all who attended and participated.

We had 100 students take a free full-length Bergen County Academies admission test, while their parents learned all about the admissions process for 3 prestigious magnet schools in Bergen County: Bergen County Academies, Bergen Tech, and Academy @ Englewood.

If you were unable to attend, don’t worry!

Here is a quick recap of what you missed and what are the best next steps to take:

MEK Review’s Student Outcomes in 2019

This past year, MEK Review’s BCA Prep program had another amazing year.

Out of our 125 MEK students, we had:

  • 89 students receive invitations for BCA interviews (out of only 600 sent)
  • 48 students accepted into BCA (out of 270 accepted)
  • 16 students accepted into Bergen Tech
  • 24 students accepted into Academies@Englewood

 

Overall, 1 in 6 incoming freshmen at Bergen County Academies are MEK Review students!

Top Tips for BCA Admissions Test

While students experienced the test firsthand in another room, parents learned all about what to expect on the admissions test and how it differs from other high school admissions tests.

Our top tips:

  • BCA & BT admission tests are the same
  • A@E is a separate test but very similar
  • All 3 magnet school tests are different from other popular H.S. tests, including the ISEE and SSAT for private school, and HSPT for parochial school
  • The BCA & BT tests are not standardized. They change every year, which is why MEK keeps a close eye on variations and trends.

 

What to expect on the Bergen County Academies admissions test:

  • English section: 45 minutes to read a fiction or non-fiction text and craft a literary analysis response
  • Math section: 60 minutes to answer 40 multiple choice questions with 5 answer choices

Bergen County Magnet Schools: The Basics

Parents also learned about the differences between regular public schools, magnet schools, and private schools. They also learned about the qualities for each of the 3 magnet schools in Bergen County and just how they differ.

Our top highlights were:

  • Magnet schools, unlike private schools, DO NOT require tuition or cost
  • Magnet schools, unlike regular public schools, DO require student and parent to apply
  • Magnet schools, like regular public schools, are aligned with Common Core State Standards

 

Magnet schools highly focus on a student’s college test prep and specific career track. They also offer more resources, higher expectation levels, more hands-on curriculum, more internships, and greater diversity. They are a great place for your child to get an education and prepare for college and the real world. However, you need to pick the right school for your child. Not necessarily the most prestigious school, but the right school.

Through our hands-on guidance, our expert counselors at MEK Review can help you arrive at this decision right for your child.

Bergen County Magnet Schools: A Comparison

Key similarities between the 3 magnet schools in Bergen County:

  • All 3 have programs or academies that are highly focused on STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math careers fields
  • Both BCA and BT have Visual Performing Arts programs
  • Both BT and A@E have Law programs

 

Key differences between the 3 magnet schools in Bergen County:

  • Class size: BCA admits 270+, BT admits 170, A@E 110
  • Academies vs programs: At BCA and A@E, students must apply to a specific academy. BCA has 7 and A@E has 5. At BT, students apply to 1 school with 9 programs. They must select which program they want to enter and this is generally honored.
  • Interviews: Unlike BCA and A@E, BT does not require an interview for admissions

Bergen County Admissions Process

At the parent seminar, we emphasized the confusing and time-consuming admissions process for BCA. It’s important to know the process, timeline, requirements, and have a set plan from the start.

Here are just a few topics we discussed:

What Determines Admission

  • Student Residency
  • Transcript
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Admission test
  • Application with essay
  • Interview (except for BT)
  • Portfolio for BCA and A@E’s Visual Performing Arts academies

Admissions Timeline

  • October – November: Open house for all 3 schools
  • November: A@E admission test & interview
  • December 1: A@E application deadline
  • December 15: BCA/BT application deadline
  • Early January: BCA/BT admission test, A@E admission results
  • Mid-February: BCA interview invitations sent
  • March: BCA interviews
  • Late April: BCA/BT admission results

MEK Review’s BCA Prep Program

We also showed parents what to expect their students to struggle on when it came to the practice Bergen County Academies test and how our comprehensive BCA Prep program guides parents and students from application to admission.

Here are a few highlights:

3 Stage Process

Stage 1: Summer Exam Prep 8

This is one of the most crucial stages. As our 20 years of data shows, early preparation is directly linked to admission. Exam Prep 8 builds a student’s essential foundational skills and knowledge in just 7 weeks to ready them for more intensive Fall Prep.

Stage 2: Fall Session I

Fall Session I is intensive test-training prep starting from September to November. This teaches students the skills, strategies, and mindset they will need to ace the high school admissions test.

Stage 3: Fall Session II

Fall Session II is from November to early January. At this point, students complete their application submissions and application essays, take weekly full-length practice tests, and polish their skills for the official test date.

Why it Works

MEK’s BCA Prep program and High School Dual Admissions Prep program are so successful because of a winning combination of 4 key elements:

  • Assessment
  • Guidance
  • Test Prep
  • Support

 

MEK uses multiple avenues to assess an individual student’s strengths and weaknesses.

From this assessment, we begin to offer personalized guidance on everything from school choice to application submission to an individual study plan. Then we begin rigorous test prep, helping students master test content as well as learn proven test-taking strategies and mental endurance to handle test day pressure. We also offer constant individualized support to address any needs or extra help a student might need.

The Journey to NJ’s Best High Schools

This is just a glimpse at everything we covered at the Parent Seminar!

For more information, contact us to set up an initial consultation, where we can answer all the questions you may have about the best school for your child. We are also offering a free BCA evaluation test until May 11, so you can see where your child stands on the BCA test.

Lastly, if you want your child to get started right away, seats for Exam 8 are filling up quickly. Call 855-346-1410 today to save your seat!

We can’t wait to hear from you.

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