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Parent Guides

Below are guides answering frequently asked questions about Tech and the college admissions process.  Except as otherwise noted, these guides are written by Tech parents in the Tech PA.  These guides represent the wisdom and experience of Tech parents and are not necessarily the opinion of the professional guidance staff or the College Office.

New Families at Tech

How Tech (Usually) Worked :  Brooklyn Tech's online handbook.  Covers many administrative topics such as schedules, IDs, and absence notes.  It also provides information on clubs, student government, and teams.

FAQs:  See the answers to questions that have come up at the first PA meetings in the last several years.  It covers questions on lockers, textbooks, joining clubs and teams, etc.

New family welcome page:  More info on getting ready in the summer before 9th grade, the first day, etc.

Student Guide Book:  This guide from the SGO (student government) provides a lot of detailed info.  It is from 2017, but still mostly up-to-date.

Questions?  Answers:

Ask a Tech parent group on social media:  These groups are not affiliated with or moderated by the PA.  We would encourage you to be respectful and keep the conversation focused on school-specific questions.


Ask Mrs. Nottingham Mrs. Nottingham is the AP (Asst Principal) of Parent and Student Engagement.  She is an incredible resource.  She tries to respond to emails within 24 hours, but at busy times of the year (like now), please remember that there are nearly 6,000 families at Tech and only one Mrs. Nottingham.  If you have a question regarding a specific teacher, please ask that teacher or the AP of that teacher's department before asking Mrs. Nottingham.

Academics at Tech

The Tech Curriculum:  There are many variations to the course of study at Tech, depending on what coursework a student has completed prior to Tech and the student's choice of Major for 11th and 12th grade.  This piece aims to give a broad overview of the coursework a student will take in four years at Tech.

Electives:  A list of the electives available and the process for selecting electives.

Unofficial Guide to the Major Selection Process:  Thoughts on how to choose a major for 10th grade parents (or 9th grade parents already thinking about choices).  “选专业(Major)”非正式的说明/Chinese version

Tutoring:  Both teacher and peer tutoring is available at scheduled times nearly every day.  Tutoring is good for both students who are struggling with course material and student who would like to delve deeper into a concept.

LOTE policy:  an explanation on the school's policy on Languages Other than English (i.e. foreign languages) and how it applies to students who have advanced standing in an LOTE prior to coming to Tech.

Standardized Testing

Below are the PA's thoughts on various standardized tests.


Standardized Testing Timeline:  This summary is from Princeton Review.  It's a good overview to get you started, but students should discuss with their guidance counselor for a specific plan.

PSAT:  When the test is administered at Tech, who takes it, why it's worth taking seriously, and how it's scored.

SAT and ACT:  Information on the two tests, when to take them, and score ranges for various colleges.

Unofficial Guide to SAT Subject Tests:  Thoughts on which tests to take and when to take them.

AP (Advanced Placement) Exams:  Thoughts on how the tests are used, score distributions, and whether to take them.

Websites, apps, and other technology for Tech parents

PupilPath Info and Sign-up:  PupilPath (also called Skedula) is the most important website/app for Tech parents.  It shows the grades your student has received on tests, homeworks, and other assignments as well as class attendance.  It also shows future assignments with due dates.  使用PupilPath的方法/Chinese version

Naviance:  Naviance is software used by Tech students and the College Office in the college application process.  It is perhaps the 2nd most important website for Tech families, but mostly used by 11th and 12th graders.  First see the College Office's excellent presentation on Naviance, and then also check out the PA's thoughts on Naviance.  使用Naviance的方法/Chinese version

Tech parent groups on Facebook and WeChat:There are several social media groups for Tech parents, in both English and Chinese.  They're a great source of information about academics, school-related events, Tech teams, and the college application process.

脸书(Facebook)和微信的家长群/Chinese version

Student arrival notifications:  You can sign up to receive an email or text notification from school when your student swipes in every morning.  The system is a little buggy (messages delayed ~30 minutes, the occasional missing message, typos).  FAQs

Useful web links:  Links to sites related to Tech clubs and teams, the DoE, and NYC education.

College Application Process

Brooklyn Tech's College Office:  Of course your first stop should be the College Office's homepage and the pages for your year, e.g. "I am a...Junior."  For an overview of the whole process, check out the materials from the College Office's Junior Information Night (materials at the bottom of the page), especially the main presentation.

Definitely read the presentation from Ms. Quinn (College Office) on college readiness for 9th and 10th graders.  It contains a ton of information on what selective colleges look for and what students should be doing to make themselves the strongest possible applicants -- a great introduction to the whole college process.

College Corner newsletter from the College Office:  Please make sure you read every edition of the College Office's newsletter -- critical and informative information.

Also check out "Rachel's Resource Room," a list of books and websites to read to get a good overview of the college process.

Extracurriculars and the Common App:  Tutorial by educational consultant Rachel Coates on how extracurricular activities are entered into the Common App.

Teacher Recommendations:  See the College Office's summary of how to choose recommenders and the kinds of questions that recommenders are asked to answer on the recommendation forms.

Guide to the Common Application:  This guide has instructions and suggestions for every question in the Common App.  It is super complete; it's a good idea to refer to it as your student completes her Common App.  The guide is written by Collegewise (admissions consultants) and Reach Higher (an organization started by Michelle Obama).

Tips for Writing College Application Essays:  An excellent piece from CollegeFit Advising with lots of specifics on how to write the Common App and Supplemental essays. Also see the presentation from Ms. McKinnon's (College Office) with tips for writing applications.  Here's a presentation from educational consultant Jonathan Shapiro..

Common College Interview Questions:  Several websites that list questions commonly asked in college interviews and suggestions for how to think about responses

Demonstrated Interest:  Here's a great, short email from Ms. Maysonet-Sigler (the College Office Coordinator at Tech) on the importance of demonstrating interest when applying to college and how to do so. 

Colleges that Tech Students Commonly Apply To:  Using Naviance data, Ms. Quinn from the Collge Office created a very useful list of colleges that Tech students most commonly apply to.  Note the differences between the colleges' overall acceptance rates and the acceptance rates for Tech students.  Most colleges limit the number of students they will accept from a particular region and high school, so being from New York City is hard, and being from NY's largest specialized high school is even harder. Tech students should consider applying to some colleges that are not on this list to avoid this "saturation."

Materials from the Options Institute at Riverside Goddard Community Center:

Get a head start in 9th-11th grade:  There are things your kids can do in 9th, 10th, and 11th grades to help them prepare for the college application process!  The more you do now, the easier the process will be in 12th grade!  Winter vacations are a good time to prepare. 

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Overview of applying for financial aid and potential sources of financial aid:  Both from the Options Institute at Riverside Goddard Community Center

Learning about FAFSA:  Filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the basic requirement for many types of federal student aid. Information from the form is also used by many states and colleges for their own financial aid programs.  The New School put together a good, plain English (and Spanish) summary and FAQ in their Understanding FAFSA Guide.  The US Dept of Education's Office of Federal Student Aid has a detailed website.  Ms. Maysonet-Sigler in the College Office sent this email about filling out the FAFSA form and applying for financial aid.  It discusses common misunderstandings, and also has links to more detailed information.

Estimating your cost and colleges to target:  An excellent overview of financial aid, including how to estimate your Expected Family Contribution (i.e. how much you'll have to pay) and colleges to target based on that number.  Prepared by educational consultant Rachel Coates.

Finding Excellent and Affordable Colleges  Links to the College Board's EFC and Net Price Calculator referred to in the presentation. 

How to factor cost into the college search

Examples of colleges to fit different situations

Financial Aid 101 by Kal Chany:   Presentations (slide show, written materialsand summary of different grants) by educational consultant Kalman Chany at the 2016 and 2017 parent workshops.  All are worth reading.

CUNY/SUNY Excelsior Scholarship:

Scholarships:  The College Office has a scholarships webpage including a scholarships newsletter.

Merit Aid:  Laguardia parent Neeta Vallab put together a search tool that neatly aggregates publicly available data on schools that offer merit aid (data sources are IPEDS and the Common Data Set).

Colleges with loan elimination/reduction policies:  Ms. Quinn in the College Office summarized the policies of colleges which aim to give financial aid that minimizes or eliminates the use of loans.  Note that the family incomes listed are not "limits."  Typically, colleges will require zero (or small) contributions from families below the incomes listed and increasing contributions from families above the stated incomes.


Motivation and Grit:  Here's a presentation form test prep company Applerouth on helping students develop their own motivation and grit.

Students Interested in College Athletics:  Students seriously considering Division I or II sports in college should contact Mrs. Luckman, Tech counselor and NCAA Liaison at (718) 804-6447, or visit her office at 7S8 Room B.

See more info here

College Application Process
New Families
Academics at Tech
Standardized Testing
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Technology for Parents
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