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Winter 2019


At this time of year, it is heartwarming to exchange greetings with the many families, educators, and other professionals with whom we work. We are so fortunate to live in a time that offers a tremendous variety of educational paths to challenge, support, and inspire young people to grow into their best selves.

In reflecting back over 2018, we are proud to have added Holly Daniels as a TBG affiliate. Her work further expands our expertise in serving teens who are overcoming obstacles to further their education. Throughout my career, it has been gratifying to see the evolution and expansion of resources for integrating educational and therapeutic resources.

Recent years have also brought an increased emphasis on wellness to the campuses of many colleges and traditional boarding and day schools, resulting in an upsurge in programs designed to help students find balance and build healthy lifestyles. At TBG, we keep abreast of both the opportunities and the challenges facing contemporary teens, which is why we are collaborating with Oxford Academy this coming May to present Cam Adair, an internationally known speaker on digital addiction.

When attending conferences alongside educators and admissions professionals this fall, three themes stood out among the conversations of what qualities are fundamental for 21st-century teens. As always, schools and colleges are eager to admit students of strong character. Resiliency, with ongoing discussions about grit and growth mindset, continues to be a priority. Open-mindedness is a trait that is receiving increased emphasis. Each of these qualities helps students find the maturity to take healthy risks, bounce back from mistakes, and successfully collaborate with, learn from, and appreciate those who think differently from themselves. Whether preparing for interviews, writing essays, or exploring personal growth experiences, reflecting on these values can help candidates put their best foot forward in planning their school search.

Each year, we treasure the opportunity to know and work with each of our Bertram candidates and their families. We also hold the educators, schools, and other professionals with whom we work in high esteem. We wish you the best in the coming year and we look forward to another fulfilling year of supporting educational hopes, dreams, and new beginnings.

In this issue:

  • Deena offers advice on choosing college essay topics that stand out from the crowd.
  • Audrey outlines what to look for in schools to serve “twice exceptional” students, who are gifted and have learning differences.
  • I interview faculty from Choate Rosemary Hall and Philips Exeter Academy, plus an LGBTQ diversity consultant about how boarding schools are supporting transgender students.
  • In Bertram News, Krissy introduces upcoming speaker Cam Adair and explores the growing issue of video game addiction.
  • Jeremy highlights strategies and services that help teens integrate therapeutic lessons into everyday life.
  • Our Save the Date feature highlights an upcoming conference relating to transgender students.

Also, don’t miss Holly’s recent column that outlines the various platforms for submitting applications to traditional boarding and day schools. 

As always, we look forward to hearing from you.

Cammie Bertram and the Bertram Team

College Bound

Almost any topic can be the seed of a powerful college application essay. Whether you are writing about a beloved family recipe, an injustice, or learning to swim, what matters is that you write with authenticity and self-awareness. And, of course, the essay should be unique. But how can the authenticity, self-awareness, and uniqueness be achieved on the page? If almost any topic is a possibility, then where should students begin?

Unique essays often come from asking yourself unique... read more

From the Quad

It is possible for students to be gifted and have a learning disability. This circumstance—being particularly advanced in some domains, while facing challenges in others—is called “twice exceptional,” or “2e” for short. Identifying this learning profile and finding the right school are important steps in paving the road for 2e students to succeed.

The conundrum inherent in serving these students effectively is that sometimes a learning... read more

The Big Picture

For those of us who have worked with young people for decades, meeting students who do not conform to traditional gender roles is not new. What is new, however, is that the discussion of gender not being binary has taken on increased prominence. As a result, growing awareness and new policies to support students are gaining momentum on school campuses.

Supporting transgender students and strategies for gender inclusivity have become regular topics in educators’ professional... read more

Bertram News

TBG and Oxford Academy Bring International Expert on Video Game Addiction to Westbrook

Imagine being a teenager who plays video games for up to 16 hours daily. Imagine letting your parents drop you off to work at jobs that you do not actually have and then sneaking back home to game. This is the story of Cam Adair, founder of, which offers tools, resources, and peer support for those struggling to quit video games.

Drawing on his own experience,... read more

The Flip Side

Parents—and teens themselves—breathe a sigh of relief when teens overcome obstacles that previously held them back. When teens struggle with mental health and addiction issues, finding effective services and support is the foundation for clarifying concerns, reclaiming health, and refocusing priorities. Then, as families start to move beyond crisis mode, they face another hurdle. Teens and young adults need transition plans that will help them continue to apply the lessons... read more

Save the Date

February 17-19, 2019 - Atlanta, GA

The Gender Education and DeMystification Symposium (GEMS) is an annual event designed to offer a clinical and educational perspective regarding gender identity. Symposium attendees hear from the nation’s leading experts and attend break-out sessions covering a wide range of topics focused on assisting transgender children, adolescents, and young adults. Educators, educational consultants, clinicians, and program staff who are... read more