Recap: MEK’s 25th Annual BCA/BT Prep Parent Info Session

Recap: MEK’s 25th Annual BCA/BT Prep Parent Info Session

Recap: MEK’s 25th Annual BCA/BT Parent Info Session

MEK hosted our 25th Annual BCA & BT Prep Parent Seminar as part of our Build Your Dream Workshop, Saturday, April 20th at the Clinton Inn in Tenafly, NJ.

We were excited to share our wealth of information regarding the high school admissions process with all of our participants. But in case you missed the workshop, we wanted to give you the detailed highlights to help you on your child’s high school admissions journey!

Overview: Bergen County Academies and Bergen County Tech High School 

Bergen County Academies (BCA) and Bergen Tech (BT) are magnet high schools located in NJ that offer specialized academies and programs focused on giving students a rigorous, non-traditional educational experience in vocational studies. These schools give your child hands-on, real-world experience with a college level curriculum that will give them the tools for success after high school and in their post-college career.

Under the BCA/BT umbrella, you will find Applied Technology, Interactive Design, and Sports Medicine Programs hosted by BCTS and Northern Valley Regional High School. The Interactive Design program introduces students to UX/UI design, while the Sports Medicine program is a four-year course sequence involving the study and application of the scientific principles that are the foundation of physical performance.

The Academies at Englewood is a public magnet program part of Englewood Public School district that is located on the Dwight Morrow High School campus.

We will get into the specialized aspects of each school’s and program’s curriculum later in the blog.

Are you ready for the BCA Admissions Process?

Going into the process  it’s important for students to know their personal answers to the following questions as these are popular interview questions asked:

  • Why do you want to come to BCA?
  • Why are you applying to the Academy for ________?

Understanding why you want to go to BCA and knowing why you are applying to a particular academy gives depth to your responses and shows interviewers that you are serious about your interest in BCA (and have done your research!) 

Raising the Bar for High School Admissions (and Beyond)

When you’re applying to top high schools, like BCA, it’s important to keep in mind that EVERYONE who is applying to these schools has exceptional admissions packages. Their scores on admissions tests are high. Their GPA is fantastic. So, how do you set yourself apart?

To compete with your peers for placement at these prestigious schools, you must raise the bar on where you’re applying, raise your skill level, and raise the caliber of your work.

MEK has proven results for high school admissions success.

In fact, 80+% of MEK students were invited for an interview with BCA and received $200,000 worth of scholarships to private and Catholic high schools. This is because they raised their bar!

But our BCA and High School Admissions Prep students aren’t just applying to BCA and BT. They are using the knowledge they gain through our programs to apply to other top high schools, including boarding, day, private, and magnet high schools. 

Check out the list below to see where our MEK students have been accepted to!

Diversify Where You Apply

We support all of our students in their BCA admissions endeavors, but we also think it’s important to vary the places to which your child is applying. Our BCA Prep classes will teach your child skills that translate to whichever school they will be applying to, so they are not penned in by one option. 

The more schools to which your child applies, the more opportunities for acceptance to a place where they will be happy for the duration of their high school career.

Breaking Down the Specialized BCA Curriculum

Not all BCA/BT schools and programs carry the same curriculum. That’s why it’s important to know which school houses the program or academy that your child wants to focus on.

Take a look at the chart below to see the differences between which curriculum is offered at which school.

You’ll notice that these schools and programs don’t necessarily offer the same curriculum. Before applying, it’s important to note which school has the program or academy that your child is interested in pursuing, so they don’t end up in the wrong place.

The Problem with Strategy

We’ve often seen students try to create a strategy for getting into BCA or BT by applying to an academy or program that may seem easier to get into. For example, a student who wants to go to BCA might apply to the Visual & Performing Arts Academy because they think it’s easier to get into than it would be to get into Advancement of Science and Technology. What these students don’t realize is that the Visual & Performing Arts Academy may only admit 7 students to the program, while the Advancement of Science and Technology Academy may admit 70 students.

No matter which academy your child is applying to, it’s important to know that ALL academies are challenging to gain admissions to. So, it’s best to go for the academy that your child is truly passionate about, instead of aiming for what they think will result in easy admission.


No matter where your child is applying in the world of BCA/BT, each school and program has a set list of requirements. Please note, that in order to be eligible for admissions, you must be a Bergen County resident.

Application Requirements:

  1. Current school district information
  2. The completed application for the school they wish to attend
  3. A personal statement related to the program/academy/campus they wish to attend
  4. Teacher recommendations from their 8th grade math teacher, 7th or 8th grade English teacher, and 7th or 8th grade science teacher
  5. 6th, 7th, and 8th grade school transcripts
  • Admissions exam scores (N/A to BCTS/NVRHS)
  • Interview (BCA only)

What should you do?

Make a robust plan! 

Students need to keep their options open. Around 40% of MEK BCA/BT Prep students apply to multiple types of schools. And at MEK, we provide a comprehensive solution to all high school admissions opportunities.

Your High School Admissions Plan with MEK

We’ve put together a weekly timeline that includes important test dates and application deadlines starting on September 7th.

Take a look at these important dates to get a feel for what the fall is going to look like.

The Solution: Exam Prep 8, Summer 2024

What’s the solution to succeeding on your child’s high school admissions journey? Early, comprehensive preparation! Starting with MEK’s Exam Prep 8 program for incoming 8th graders this summer! 

Exam Prep 8 is our spring and summer high school admissions course that gives students the skill building they need to succeed on the BCA/BT, SSAT, and ISEE exams. It’s comprehensive admissions prep, no matter what your child’s goals.

This course takes what students learned during the school year and teaches them how to apply that knowledge to the different admissions exams. Exam Prep 8 is our “transformer” course that sets your child up for a strong fall of admission prep. 

Our Summer 2024 Exam Prep 8 course is currently open for enrollment, so your child can get a headstart for September.

Check out the comprehensive test prep timeline below!

MEK’s Program Covers the Test, Essay, and Interview

Comprehensive, early test prep is the key to success. But preparing for each aspect of the admissions process takes its own set of skills. But MEK has a comprehensive plan for that.

The Test

In order to do well on whichever high school admissions exam your child is taking, they need to have experience with the exam. At MEK, our Exam Prep 8, BCA Prep, and SSAT/ISEE 8 courses includes simulation BCA, SSAT, and ISEE exams as part of the curriculum along with test reviews to learn strategies for how to take the test. And what students need to know depends on which test they are taking.

BCA/BT Entrance Exam vs SSAT / ISEE Exam  

The BCA/BT Entrance Exam features competition math style questions for Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1, and literary analysis essay skills for reading comprehension, while the SSAT/ISEE Exam features Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1 critical thinking skills through Common Core aligned questions, and reading comprehension verbal reasoning skills through multiple choice questions. 

No matter which test your child is taking, there are specific skills your child needs in order to succeed on these exams. And these are skills your child will learn in our MEK High School Admissions programs:

The skill requirements that MEK covers are:


  1. Strong foundational calculation skills and number sense
  2. How to interpret word problems and apply topic specific number sense
  3. Build endurance, stamina, and decision making skills for a competitive setting


  1. Learning to be an independent writer
  2. Building strong reading comprehension skills
  3. Applying organization skills to long reading passages
  4. Learning to write in a timed setting

The Application Essay

Your application essay is your time to shine! This is where you have the chance to pull together all of your experiences and give the admissions officers a look into your personality and potential outside of your GPA and test scores. The application essay is about showing your humanity beyond the numbers.

A strong application essay uses:

  • Narrative Writing
  • Storytelling
  • Exploration of Academic and Personal Interests
  • Reflection

While narrative writing skills make for an interesting essay, they aren’t always taught in the traditional school classroom. That’s why supplemental prep outside of the classroom is beneficial when embarking on your child’s high school admissions journey.

The Interview

The interview is another way for students to show their personality and commitment to the school to which they are applying. It’s all about showing admissions officers that you are hardworking, passionate, and interested in pursuing your goals. Remember, like the admissions essay, this is your chance to put a face and some humanity behind the numbers in your application.

When preparing for the interview, have answers to the following questions:

  1. What are your genuine interests and passions?
  2. What are your academic interests?
  3. Do you really want to be here?
  4. Are you able to think independently?
  5. Can you make our community a better place?

Above all else, take time to read as much as you can, write as much as you can, and reflect on your experiences.

Assess Where You Are

In order to progress to the next step of your high school admissions journey, you must consider where you currently are. That means taking into account your:

  • Report cards
  • Course difficulty or rigor
  • NJSLA/MAP scores
  • Areas of Academic Interest

How can you help your child along on this journey?

  1. Assess your child’s tendencies, skills, and interests. Doing so means you’ll be able to point them in the right direction when it comes to where to apply and what they can use in their essays, interviews, and application package.
  2. Plan smart: set short and long term goals. This way you are getting both a detailed and big picture look at the whole process.
  3. Plan practically. Make sure that when you are planning, your plans align with scheduling so you won’t miss any deadlines or important dates.

BCA Prep with MEK Review

We are committed to ensuring that your child is ready for the challenging BCA admissions exam! That’s why we’ve upgraded our Fall 2024 BCA Prep program with your child’s goals and schedule in mind.

MEK’s BCA Prep is a 13 week program, from September 7th, 2024 to December 6th, 2024, that combines four major elements for rigorous test prep starting on day one of their prep experience:

  1. Math Lecture
  2. English Lecture
  3. Math & English Clinic
  4. Application Guidance

Math Lecture

Schedule: 1x per week

Length: 3 hours

During the three hour, in-person math lecture, students will spend the first hour taking a simulation BCA exam and the subsequent two hours in their math lecture. Students will learn essential test-taking strategies and problem solving skills to build consistency and stamina through exam review.

English Lecture

Schedule: 1x per week

Length: 2.5 hours

During the two and a half hour, in-person English lecture, students will spend the first 45 minutes taking a simulation BCA exam and the subsequent 90 minutes in their English lecture. Students will learn essential test-taking strategies and content knowledge to build confidence through exam review.

Math & English Clinic

Schedule: 1x per week

Length: 2 hours

During the two hour, virtual Math & English clinic, students will meet with their instructor to get a live q&a session and feedback on the supplemental exercises and drills to apply what they learned during that week’s lectures.

Application Guidance

Schedule: On Demand / In-Person or Virtual

Application Guidance is offered per request either virtually or in-person and is also provided as a workshop during the Math & English clinic.

Course Placement

During this time, students are placed in the course levels that best cater to their current performance level and test prep needs. Periodically, throughout the program, students are reevaluated based on their class performance and placed into different levels as needed.

This system provides students short term milestones to aim for and to use as their stepping stones to success on their Entrance Exams.

Get Started

Now is the time to start preparing for high school admissions, whether your child is planning on applying to BCA, BT, or other top high schools.

Get a headstart on success with our Summer 2024 Exam Prep 8 program and continue your high school admissions prep right up until test day with our Fall 2024 High School Admissions courses.

Take advantage of our Early Bird Discount for Summer 2024 when you register for Exam Prep 8! Save 15% off when you put down a $300 deposit by May 4th. Pay in full by May 4th to receive an additional 5% discount. Click here to register!

Call us at 855-346-1410 to learn more! 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.


Looking for an ACT Program? Click Here