COLLEGE COUNSELING AT BMA IS DIFFERENT.
Students at Burke Mountain Academy are the beneficiaries of a well-tailored college advising program that considers their academic and athletic ambitions. As such, our advising program is very different from those of other high schools. For instance, college counseling at traditional private schools generally begins in earnest in the middle of the junior year with perhaps, some programming in the lower grades. The case is quite different at BMA.
We believe that students in grades 9 and 10 should focus on their athletic, social, and academic development without the distraction of overt college admissions programming. Similarly, during the winter of the junior year, when students at other high schools are beginning to consider their college options, our students are intensively focused on the race season; discussions about college would put counter-productive pressure on their athletic performance.
You might wonder if our timeline puts students at a disadvantage in college admissions. Certainly not. Our goal is to help students select and apply to colleges that are well matched. Some students may choose to take a gap year or a PG year to continue focusing on their ski racing. What's important is that students feel confident in the process.
While the Director of College Counseling is always available to parents and students of all grades, formal advising at BMA begins in the spring of a student's junior year, when they participate in a multi-day college counseling workshop. When they return to campus for their senior year, college advising is directly integrated into the schedules of all 12th graders during Trimester 1 of the English 12 class. To ensure that students have completed high-quality applications for the Early Decision/Early Action deadlines, the Director of College Counseling attends the October training camp in Europe.
“From an academic point of view, we certainly have a high opinion of ski academies…. They end up being some of the strongest students we have.”
Bob Clagett, Dean of Admissions at Middlebury College in The New York Times
Applications from Burke Mountain Academy will not list an array of activities, class offices held, clubs, etc. Burke is a small community of 70 students who work together as a large family. We believe that when one student is made a leader, all others become followers. At Burke, each person has an equal responsibility for strengthening the community. We have no class elections, no dorm proctors, no student council, and very few additional sports. Each student is encouraged to set high goals and to take risks in developing his or her own unique potential. Common goals, activities, and interests service and unite the school. Many schools consider the following list to be extracurricular activities. Burke considers these activities integral to the program. Every Burke student participates in:
- general maintenance of the school property
- helping to set up for and host major races
- taking responsibility for her/his own room and common living spaces
- taking equal turn at kitchen duties
- involvement in community service projects
- collaborating to create and implement a Senior Service Project
- establishing and participating in community meetings, dances, talent shows, and a general sense of fun
- dryland training in a variety of activities: road and mountain biking, running , swimming and hiking
For many it is a special honor to be named to an All-State or All-American team. At Burke, such athletic distinction is not unusual. An athlete can rank fourth in his or her class in skiing at Burke, yet be ranked tenth nationally. Academic humility is also the norm at BMA. As a policy, we do not issue athletic, academic, or character awards.