Bergen County Academies Upperclassmen

Bergen County Academies Meetup Event: Advice from Upperclassmen

BCA Upperclassmen and Incoming Freshmen Coming Together!

Last Wednesday, 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 up with six 11th graders from BCA to celebrate their big accomplishment and get answers to all of their questions about high school!

Congratulations Class of 2023!

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

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

Afterwards, they went through rigorous test-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

We wanted to give our hardworking incoming freshmen a huge head start by letting them get to know 6 incoming BCA seniors and MEK Review alumni. The students heard invaluable 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 courses, SAT Prep, ACT Prep, SAT Subject Prep, AP Exam Prep, and College Counseling!

3 Key Tips for High School Freshmen

Our upperclassmen answered 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 upperclassmen stressed repeatedly to incoming freshmen that time management was key.

Freshmen 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 the clubs they are part of truly reflect their interest and passions, if they plan to sacrifice time and effort to participate. It’s about quality, not quantity.

Our upperclassmen also advised that freshmen come up with strong study habits as cramming before a test is not an option if students want a high GPA. Plus, they suggested students 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, check out our blog “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 resources and opportunities, our upperclassmen highlighted the need for freshmen to take action on their 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 coming to them with information or help.

Here are a few comments our upperclassmen made regarding 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 freshmen to take ownership of your experience and performance by reaching out to teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, directors, and, of course, MEK Review for help or direction when you need it.

Don’t forget to explore our 9th Grade Checklist and discover what you should be focused on your freshmen year of high school.

Tip #3. Know your weaknesses.

Our upperclassmen also stressed the importance of identifying your areas of weakness as soon as possible. You may have aced math all your life, but have an experience similar to one of our upperclassmen who struggled in her Calculus class until she reached out for help.

All of our 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.

For instance, check out MEK’s High School Honors Courses that prepares you for rigorous math and science courses or our School Support Tutoring that helps boost your performance in the classroom.

Bonus Tip!

One final bonus tip from our upperclassmen:

We’re all in this together!

These 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.

So you can expect a strong sense of community and fellowship with your classmates that will encourage you and bond you together.

MEK Review

MEK Review is 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 to get help with all your academic needs.

We look forward to hearing from you.


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