Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It’s Time to Start Planning for NACAC: Advice from A Local Member

Hello from just one of the many members of your Seattle NACAC Local Arrangements Committee (LAC).

It struck me today (Memorial Day) that most of you are winding down on another fabulous year in either college guidance counseling, or college admissions, which means it’s time to start planning for NACAC in Seattle this September!

I can’t tell you how excited all of us on the LAC are to be able to host this conference. We know this year’s event will be the biggest and best ever and I and the other members of this committee look forward to sharing all of our thoughts throughout the coming months to prepare all of you as best as we can.

Please use this blog as a guide of do’s and don’ts (probably mostly do’s!). Since this is my first post on the blog, forgive me for rambling, but here are a few things that have come to my mind as you prepare for Seattle this September:

  1. When you arrive at the airport (SEA-TAC is the official name) it’s a bit confusing, so I’m asking you to remember one thing…all transportation to and from the Seattle area hotels are across the skybridge and back down on the 2nd floor.

  2. Just about everything in downtown Seattle is within walking distance of your hotel, regardless of where you are staying (in fact our beloved Starbucks is on every corner…and sometimes 2 to a corner!)

  3. You have to go to Pike Place Market and see the flying fish!! (and the original Starbucks is also at the market…so please pass up the 47 others as you leave your hotel and go to the original!)

  4. The downtown monorail is a quick, and convenient, way for you to get to the Seattle Center and the Space Needle

  5. If you can’t get to the Needle before Saturday of the conference, please do not worry since the social will be held at the Experience Music Project (EMP) which is located right next door to the Needle. (Oh yeah; I’m the co-chair for the social so be prepared for the best NACAC social of all time!)

I think that’s it for now. I promise all future posts to this blog will be shorter!

We can’t wait to see you in Seattle!

Todd Abbott
Associate Vice President and Consultant
Enrollment Services

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Network Like You’ve Never Networked Before

I realize I may be preaching to the choir of NACAC veterans here when I say that networking is a key part of the NACAC conference. So, perhaps this point is best directed towards the first-timers in the crowd. Either way, I think all of us can use a reminder of why networking at functions like this is so important in our profession.

The NACAC conference is jam-packed with phenomenal pre-conference seminars and workshops, educational sessions, an entertaining welcome reception and social while getting the chance to check out a cool host city like Seattle. However, can you imagine attending one of these conferences never having the chance to reconnect with old colleagues and friends, “talk shop” with others experiencing similar challenges, or meet someone new at another institution? Me neither.

One of the most beneficial aspects of the national conference is having a venue to talk with others who have been there and done that in regards to college counseling and admissions.

The landscape of secondary and higher education continues to evolve and I have found it extremely helpful to gain a better insight by talking with others who understand what I’m talking about.

I know I am guilty of occasionally focusing too much on my own institution throughout the academic year and neglecting issues taking place on a more macro level. This upcoming conference is expected to have more than 5,000 attendees—what a great opportunity to get caught up on national and international issues by networking!

So, in Seattle, I already know that you will reconnect with old friends and colleagues. My challenge to you (and to myself) is to make a point to meet and network with new colleagues this year. NACAC veterans should make a concerted effort to meet some first-timers and vice-versa. You will be surprised at what you gain from something as simple as this. It is often too easy to remain sheltered in your comfort zone only networking with familiar faces.

When you’re hanging out at the Experience Music Project (EMP) for the Social, hanging out with exhibitors in the Exhibit Hall or attending a SIG, don’t forget to network like you’ve never networked before!

Justin Doty
Trinity University
2007 LAC Co-Chair

Send us comments on this posting.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Notable Notes from NACAC

New Preconference Opportunity: Beyond Ranking
Wednesday, September 24

The Education Conservancy's campaign to build a robust system of guidance and information for students welcomes your participation in critiquing its initial Web site prototype. This free workshop will be an opportunity to learn about and help shape the development of a non-commercial, educationally relevant, collaboratively-designed tool to assist students in understanding and navigating the college selection and admission process.

Presented by Lloyd Thacker, The Education Conservancy (OR)

Visit the National Conference Web site for more information or to register for the conference.

Recently Added to the NACAC Conference pages:

Friday, May 09, 2008

Why Now is a Good Time to Look at the Conference Offerings…and Why I Rarely do!

Confession: I often look at the national conference educational session offerings on the airplane as I fly to whatever city is hosting the conference! But this year, I thought that I might try to be a little more organized and take a glance at what sessions are being offered to us in September. It’s not like I have a lot of time on my hands, but this is often the time of year when some of my best thoughts occur about the college admissions process.

It’s when I’m helping families and students make sense of admissions decisions – and I either have the answers or I don’t. It’s when I’m feeling bombarded by new articles about the “state of college admissions” (who knew there were so many experts out there, right?) at every turn. And it’s when I’m beginning earnest work with rising seniors who are asking tough questions about college admissions, their chances, the trends, etc… And in rare moments of quiet in my office questions skip in and out of my mind.

Questions about what really is most important in an application these days? Questions about the role of athletics in the admissions process? Questions about how to help the vocal performer that I might have in my next senior class? Questions about whether or not I should advise a student to apply to an engineering program or not? Believe it or not, questions like these (and SO many more) might very well be answered at an educational session.

So, before you forget what you really want to ask and learn in this next admissions season, print out the list of educational sessions and highlight some that you want to try to attend.
Yes, there will be some changes, but that’s okay. Changes are easy to make…remembering in September what you so badly wanted to ask in May is more difficult. Or maybe that’s just my experience!

P.S. Looking through the educational sessions is also a great way to get excited about your time at the conference!

Happy end of the school year to all – see you in Seattle!

Elizabeth Guice
Director of College Counseling
St. Andrew’s Episcopal School (Austin, Texas)
Member of the Local Arrangements Committee – Austin 2007

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Dr. Zenobia Hikes, Vice President for Student Affairs, Virginia Tech to Address NACAC Members in Seattle (WA)

Dont Miss this Must-Attend Event on Saturday, September 27

Dr. Zenobia Lawrence Hikes served as the vice president for student affairs at Virginia Tech during the worst school shooting in U.S. history.

She has provided expert commentary to CNN, numerous other electronic and print media outlets, universities, and professional associations.

In this must-attend event, she will address the simultaneous challenges of violence, emotionally fragile students and incivility in American culture, which impact institutional environments and the quality of the admitted-student pool.

Hikes will discuss the new uncharted territory and lessons learned in times of tragedy and explore the value of partnerships between secondary schools, parents, admission officers, student affairs, and other university stakeholders as we move toward resiliency.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

NACAC Notables

NACAC Survey: Space On College Campuses Still Available For Students

Despite headlines about the growing competitiveness among the nation’s colleges and universities, at least 295 colleges and universities still have space available for qualified students in their Fall 2008 freshman and/or transfer classes, according to the results of the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s annual Space Availability Survey: Openings for Qualified Students.

The survey queries NACAC member four-year colleges and universities on the availability of space, institutional financial aid and housing as of May 1, 2008. Now in its 21st year, the survey is designed as a tool for counselors, parents and teachers as they assist students who have not yet completed the college admission process.

Of those institutions that have space available, 99 percent also have institutional financial aid availability, and 95 percent have housing space.

Survey results may be viewed at Survey results will remain posted throughout the summer, and colleges will be asked to update their listings as the number of openings at their institutions changes.

"It is important for students and their counselors to know that postsecondary options are still available for the Fall semester." said NACAC President Kimberly Johnston. "This survey is a valuable resource for students and their families who have not yet completed the college admission and enrollment process. NACAC is proud to provide this service."

Fact Sheet Available 2008 Space Availability Survey: Openings for Qualified Students Fact Sheet.