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Lessons Learned Since March '20 – Part 2

In January I compiled a list of lessons learned since the start of the pandemic for SCENES. Lessons such as buying TP and Clorox wipes anytime you had the chance, and the most flattering angle for video calls. At the time, I think we all were hoping we were wrapping up the pandemic.

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6 Tips to Healthier Eating Habits on the Road or in the Office

Everyone’s clothing shrunk during the pandemic, right?

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Back to School

I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting this summer as I prepare to leave my current position as an Admission Counselor at the University of Iowa. A little background: as an undergraduate, I worked in the Office of Admissions in two student positions and absolutely adored it. So much so that I began considering a year or two in admissions post-graduation. Driven by my desire to return to admissions and a feeling of uncertainty as I navigated student teaching, I accepted a temporary counselor position following graduation and a full-time position six months later. I knew my time as a counselor would either be short-term and followed by a return to teaching, or I’d decide to stay in higher education for a good portion of my career. A little over two and half years later, and I’ve made the difficult decision to return to the classroom.

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Community

Believe it or not, I got to hit the road about a month ago and visit some high schools in Northwest Iowa. I always love going to that area of the state; it’s close to home (I grew up in Southwest Minnesota) and it reminds me to slow down. I felt a little rusty actually going into high schools and really talking to people (weird, I know) but it was so fun.

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Simple Steps to Assist First Gen Students

“Go to the FAFSA website and create your FSA ID. You will need to use your parent's 2019 tax returns which you can link to your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.  Once we receive your FAFSA, we can tell you how many loans and grants you qualify for based on your EFC. You might get selected for verification. You will be notified if you are selected, and additional documentation will need to be completed. Login to TritonPass and accept your financial aid package under the ‘Academic Profile’ tab. You will then be prompted to complete Entrance Counseling. We recommended only borrowing what you need, and suggest avoiding the unsubsidized loan if possible because that accrues interest while you are attending college. Do you have any questions? Great! Call us if you need help with anything.”

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Zooming into Spring Freshmen Recruitment

“Can everyone hear me?” “Nope, go ahead!” “You’re muted!” are just a few statements that have been uttered in the countless Zoom meetings we’ve all endured for almost a year.

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New Year. New FAFSA?

Now that 2020 is squarely in the rear-view mirror, what can we look forward to in the new year? A new FAFSA perhaps? No, not exactly, but we can expect major improvements in the not-too-distant future.

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Remember Who's Watching

As 2021 begins to unfold, the lessons of 2020 are still fresh in our minds. We know it’s important to be connected, not to take anything for granted, and to have flexibility. However, one reminder helps me find daily perspective about how to handle each situation that gets thrown our way.

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Changes of Scenery!

Mount Mercy University is thrilled to welcome Todd Coleman as their new Assistant Vice-President for Enrollment & Marketing and Sabrina Tapps-Fee as the Director of Undergraduate Admissions!

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Meet our Newest Board Member!

The Iowa ACAC Executive Board is excited to welcome a new member! Yuri Tilapi is the new co-chair for Inclusion, Access, and Success. We asked Yuri to share a little bit more about her background so that we can get to know our new exec board member.

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3 Tips for a DIY Travel Season

It’s early October (in 2019). You’re packing up your life, heading to Starbucks or Dunkin’ to get your 29th Pumpkin spiced something while listening to (insert podcast name here). It’s travel season.

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Return to Learn: The Teacher Perspective

As school districts across the country prepare for the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year, we felt that it was important to hear from teachers about their thoughts and fears about their districts’ return to learn plans. This is a stressful time for everyone, as we learn to navigate the changes that COVID-19 has brought. Hearing teachers’ perspectives is helpful for us as admission professionals as we reflect on the ways in which our own work will change this upcoming fall.

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Developing Students into Leaders & Beyond

This past year I had the opportunity to co-advise the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) Student Admissions Ambassadors (SAA), an all volunteer group that gives campus tours, assists with student panels and much more. I will say it is a bit different to be on the "other side," as I was a member of this exact group during my time as an undergrad at UNI.

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Virtual Vision 2020 Recap

Dr. Bill Withers, faculty emeritus at Wartburg College, got our first ever virtual Iowa ACAC conference off to a great start! He discussed that in recent years many areas have been going through disruptions (or accelerated changes), and these have only been hastened by COVID-19 – media, health care, and K-16 education.

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Looking Back & to the Future: Government Relations

Over the past three years I have had the opportunity to lead our Government Relations Committee, while serving as Government Relations Chair for Iowa ACAC. Through this experience, we have successfully put on 2½ Visit the Hill events for high school students, counselors, admission professionals, and more (½  because the first year I took over there was a crazy ice/snow storm where we probably should have canceled the event, but didn’t, and only a few people ventured out to attend!). These events have had really awesome sessions, where hundreds of people have been able to learn more about issues that directly impact them. I will always be grateful and appreciative for the Government Relations committee members. They are the real reason why these events have been so successful and it has been a joy to work alongside them!

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COVID-19 from the High School Student Perspective

Last month, we reflected on how COVID-19 is impacting admission professionals, especially with the adjustment to virtual recruitment and working from home. This month, we wanted to hear from current high school students about their experiences during the pandemic, including online courses and a virtual college search process. Three students participated in the interview via email. Alex and Marta are high school juniors from Iowa City West High School; they are at the beginning of their college search process. Brooke is a senior from Glenbrook North High School in Illinois who plans to attend the University of Iowa. Thank you to all three of them for answering our questions!

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Two Sides of the Same Student Coin

Professional school counselors and college admissions counselors can work together to help students in innumerable ways through the college decision process. Working as partners, they can call upon the skills and expertise of each to provide the best information and most satisfying college search process for students. As a former professional school counselor, now college admissions counselor, I see many ways the two groups can work together for students.

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Life in the Home Office

The world has changed so much since our last edition of Scenes. Last month, I had drafted an article around the first of March about staying healthy during spring travel. The article including some tips about avoiding the flu, and just barely touched on COVID-19. By the timeAdmissions team videoconference we got ready to publish Scenes in the middle of the month, most of us were working from home, classes were transitioning to a virtual format, and students were moving out of the residence halls. Things certainly changed fast!

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What Does Out of Pocket Really Mean?

We’re recruiters. Our titles may differ, but our jobs have the same goal: to recruit students to our College/University. Personally, I was offended when someone first told me this with such a blatant disregard for my personal style of work. I don’t like to think of myself as a “salesperson” but at the end of the day we are working to “sell” our school to people.

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What's New in Higher Education & Admissions?

The University of California system is facing a lawsuit unless they eliminate their ACT or SAT requirement for admission. Back in October, the University of California was threatened with a lawsuit unless it drops its standardized test requirement. Lawyers representing the Compton Unified School district, college-access organizations, civil-rights groups, and students sent a letter to the UC system’s Board of Regents, stating that the ACT/SAT requirement violates civil rights laws in the state of California. The argument is that well-qualified students are being discriminated against, particularly underrepresented minority students, students whose first language is not English, students who have disabilities, and students from a lower socioeconomic status. If the UC system decides to drop the test requirement, many other institutions may choose to do the same, with massive impacts on ACT and the College Board. Check out the Chronicle of Higher Education for more information.

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