Bergen County Academies Upperclassmen

BCA Meetup Event: Advice from Upperclassmen

BCA Upperclassmen and Incoming Freshmen Coming Together!

Last week, MEK Review hosted a very special meet-up event.

Our BCA Prep students, who were recently accepted into the freshmen class of Bergen County Academies and Bergen County Technical High School, met with six successful 11th graders from BCA to celebrate their big accomplishment and get answers to all of their questions about high school!

Students gathering at MEK Review for BCA meetup

Congratulations Class of 2023!

The students pictured above worked very hard this past year to prepare for the challenging BCA/BT admission test, as well as to complete their applications and essays.

They successfully finished our Exam Prep 8 course over the summer, where they built key foundational skills and learned essential test knowledge for admissions to not only Bergen County magnet schools but also private and parochial schools.

Afterwards, they went through rigorous training during Fall BCA Prep or High School Dual Prep to master test-taking skills and content.

We are so proud of their dedication, persistence and truly-deserved acceptances. Way to go!

Meet Our BCA Upperclassmen

Six students from Bergen County Academies

We wanted to give our hardworking incoming Bergen County Academies freshmen a huge head start by facilitating a conversation with 6 incoming BCA seniors. The students heard incredibly valuable advice from:

  • Paige: Academy of Visual Performing Arts at BCA
  • Jennifer: Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology at BCA
  • Salome: Academy of Engineering and Design Technology at BCA
  • Carrie:  Academy of Engineering and Design Technology at BCA
  • Annika: Academy of Medical Science Technology at BCA
  • David: Academy of Business and Finance/International Baccalaureate at BCA

These upperclassmen students are currently attending and thriving at one of the top high schools in the country. They are also all seasoned graduates of MEK Review’s programs at one point or another: High School Honors, SAT Prep, ACT Prep, SAT Subject Prep, AP Exam Prep, and College Counseling!

3 Key Tips for High School Freshmen

Our BCA upperclassmen answered a range of questions about studying for tests, getting good grades, picking extracurricular activities, choosing a college track, getting to know your guidance counselor and so much more.

However, there were a few key themes that kept coming up again and again, no matter the subject. So we decided to share here!

Tip #1. It’s all about time management!

Whether it came to selecting your extracurricular activities or completing homework, our BCA upperclassmen stressed repeatedly to incoming freshmen that time management was key.

Freshmen students need to build and practice strong study habits and good organizational skills right away to be able to handle the challenging classes and other activities.

They advised freshmen to think carefully about extracurricular activities, especially ones that are very time-consuming such as sports. Students need to make sure that the clubs they belong to truly reflect their interest and passions, especially if they plan to sacrifice time and effort to participate. It’s about quality, not quantity.

Our upperclassmen also advised for freshmen to come up with strong study habits. They emphasized that cramming before a test is not an option if students are seeking a high GPA. They also strongly suggested for students to use a planner or organizational phone apps to keep on top of all their assignments, tests, projects, and extracurriculars.

If you want more tips on how to better manage your time, read our 3 Secrets to Getting and Keeping a Top GPA.

Tip #2. Take initiative.

Whether it’s getting to know your guidance counselor, getting help in a class, or taking advantage of available resources and opportunities, our BCA upperclassmen all said: “remember to take action on your own.”

Unlike middle school, freshmen will experience much more independence and much less direct help. Some students struggle with this newfound freedom as they are more accustomed to teachers or administration guiding them with information at all times.

Above all, our BCA upperclassmen stressed the importance of taking initiative in high school:

  • On Grades: “If you get a bad grade on a quiz or paper, don’t expect the teacher to come and talk to you about it. You need to come to them.”
  • On Guidance Counselors: “You need to make a point to get to know your guidance counselor. Drop into their office or chit-chat with them when they are in your homeroom. Get face to face time with them.”
  • On Events: “There are many cool and interesting events and opportunities you can be part of, but you don’t always know about them. You have to make a point to find out.”
  • On Seeking Extra Help: “If you find yourself struggling in a class, don’t wait! Reach out right away for help from a teacher or tutor.”

As you can see, it’s important as a freshman student to take ownership of your experience and performance by reaching out to teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, directors, and, of course, additional support such as our teachers at MEK Review for help or direction when needed!

If you want to know exactly what you should be focused on during your freshmen year of high school, don’t forget to explore our 9th Grade Checklist.

Tip #3. Know your weaknesses.

Our BCA upperclassmen also emphasized the importance of identifying your areas of weakness as soon as possible. You may have aced math all your life, but reach a stumbling block when the math topics increase in difficulty. One of the upperclassmen described struggling intensely in her Calculus class until she reached out for help.

All of our BCA upperclassmen were in agreement that students shouldn’t try to ignore the problem and think they can just figure it out on their own.

You have too many other responsibilities and coursework in high school. Ignoring the root of the problem will only make you fall further behind. Instead, reach out for help right away to fix it as soon as possible.

Go to your teachers. Consult a classmate for advice. At MEK, we also offer solutions that have assisted many students over the years during their academic struggles, such as High School Honors Courses, which prepares one for rigorous math and science courses.

Bonus Tip!

One final bonus tip from our upperclassmen:

We’re all in this together!

Our BCA students emphasized that although high school, especially a challenging magnet school, can feel intimidating and stressful, everyone is going through the same experience. Everyone is nervous, unsure, and sometimes needs help.

Expect and participate in a strong sense of community and fellowship with your classmates that will bond you together and keep you going during your 4 years of high school!

What’s Next?

Our teachers and counselors at MEK Review are here to help you through your experience, from getting into your dream high school to getting into your dream college!

Call 855-346-1410 or contact us today for help with any of your academic needs.

We look forward to hearing from you.

MEK Review

MEK Review is the top learning center in North Jersey, dedicated to helping students of all ages begin an incredible success story. With our guidance, students have gained acceptances into the best schools in the country, earned top test scores, prepared for difficult admission tests, and transformed into their best selves in the classroom. To find your perfect solution, explore our programs or book your free consultation with an expert counselor!


Don’t miss the next insider event.