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November, Gratitude!

With temperatures cooling down and the recent time change, fall is among us and so is the month of Thanksgiving. As Admissions professionals, we can get caught up in the preparation of who can open their application first and get the biggest head start to applicants, what college has the most impressive materials to share with prospective students and who has the most fall visits scheduled for students to have the most amazing experience.

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Professional School Counselors: An Urging for Proper Titles

Last week I received a letter in my school mail from a college in Iowa. It was addressed to, “Instructors, guidance counselors, and  administration.” I cringed. Nothing ruffles my feathers more in education than being called a “guidance counselor.”  It is 2022 and the profession of school counseling has been around since the early 1900’s. It has evolved and adapted to modern and current times, yet somehow, the title of guidance counselor has been hard to shake. 

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Observations from Fall Travel

It is the first fall travel season that has been somewhat normal in a couple of years. Or was it? Since my team is wrapping up their fall travel season soon, I asked them to reflect on their experiences. We have a mix of seasoned counselors and new college graduates on our staff, so it has been interesting to see their various experiences when they roll in each Friday. While some of these observations have been happening over time, we have noticed that some are more prevalent now than ever. How does your fall travel compare?

  • Students aren’t sure what they are looking for in a school or what they want to study. This doesn’t seem like a big surprise, right? However, it seems to be paralyzing to some students this year. They don’t even know where to start.
  • Parents are very involved in the process and doing things for the student. Ah, helicopter parenting at its finest! We know parents have been filling out applications in the past, but it seems to be on a whole new level.
  • Students are moving slower in the application process this year and are generally overwhelmed with the thought of college. We have spent the last couple of months trying new strategies for outreach to meet students where they are.
  • There’s always a group of highly motivated students. Even though some students are uncertain about the next steps, you can always count on a group of go-getters to be on top of everything. Thank goodness!
  • Students are more open to learning about schools they have never heard of. Hogwarts? No, Wartburg. (Like we’ve never heard that one before!)
  • College fairs were better this year than last year, but still not as good as they were pre-pandemic. It seems that fewer schools are busing in students, and more schools are having their own fairs. Evening fairs were not as well attended either.
  • Students seem less interested or available to meet with admission counselors at the high school. I feel like we’ve been moving in this direction for a while. Students are taking college courses while in high school and getting practical work experience as a part of their curriculum. Others have already been on campus and feel they don’t need to connect.
  • Some students think they need to decide on a school before applying. How can we all be more transparent and helpful in communicating application options to students?
  • Our school counselor friends are working with more students with mental health challenges than ever. School counselors are juggling so much. How can we assist them with college search resources and take some of their load off? (Please tell us; we all want to help!)
 
Niche just released research conducted with over 20,000 students in their Class of 2023 Fall Senior Survey. 97% of the student responses reported fears about the college search process. It is disheartening to think that so many are nervous about the application process, financial aid, and choosing the best college for them when we all have an admission staff eager to help. As we enter the middle of the admission cycle, I encourage you to think about new ways to reach students, whether it is through their school counselors, parents, virtual events, or simply buying a student a cup of coffee. Students need us now more than ever! Best wishes as you continue to work through this complicated recruitment cycle!

Wearing Many Hats on Campus: Building Relationships and Earning Trust

In July 2007, Central College thankfully took a chance on one of its young, inexperienced, recent graduates to become a Residence Hall Director. While that may not seem that unordinary, I had not been an RA or worked in Residence Life as a student, so I likely was not the prototypical candidate they may have been looking for. While this was not the job I thought I would end up with out of college, I was thankful to be able to re-join the campus community that had supported me academically, socially, athletically, and spiritually. 

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I know, there aren’t fireworks, champagne or silly hats and glasses, but it’s just as important for us in education.

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Road Warrior Survival Guide

August is here and school supplies are flying off the shelves. This can only mean one thing: admissions recruitment travel season is right around the corner. Whether you are new to the field or have earned your “road warrior” status years ago, surviving travel season comes much easier with preparation. Here are my tips and tricks learned during 10+ years navigating the rolling hills (interstates, highways, brick, gravel and sometimes even dirt roads) of Iowa behind the wheel of a college-branded car:

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What Does the Future Hold?

When I was in my undergraduate secondary education program, I had to take a methods class on wrestling. I had never wrestled or even watched a wrestling match (other than those ‘rasslin programs on TV). I asked my advisor, Dr. John Byrd, “Why do I have to take this class?  I have no interest  in wrestling.” His reply was very insightful. He said, “You never know when a job offer will include coaching wrestling.” Well, he was wrong. My first job did not require that I coach wrestling. My second job did! 

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The Impact of Latinos Unidos of Iowa

Latinos Unidos of Iowa is a non-profit organization led and founded by Lena Robinson. Last year, I served on the Board of Directors as their Scholarship Liaison and wanted to take some time to highlight the incredible work that LU does every day. One of the primary missions of this organization is to meet and connect with Latinx students and individuals throughout Iowa, providing resources for students as well as offering scholarships to students pursuing associate, undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate programs in Iowa.

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See you at the Hill!

The Iowa ACAC Government Relations Committee is excited to return to Des Moines on Thursday, February 24, for our annual Visit the Hill event! Join us at Forté Banquet and Conference Center starting at 9 a.m. for a morning full of education and conversations that you won’t want to miss! 

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Admissions #10yearchallenge

Greetings from South Dakota! A recent trend on Facebook was the #10yearchallenge where you post a picture of yourself today alongside a picture of yourself from ten years ago…or maybe some could do 20 years ago or more. It’s a fun opportunity to take a few minutes to reminisce and reflect upon certain chapters in your life and think about where you’ve been, what you’ve done, what you’ve been able to experience, challenging times, good times, and so on and so forth.

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Admissions Gift Guide

Has anyone else noticed that there is a gift guide for everything now? They’re all over social media this time of year! Gift guides for him, gift guides for her, gift guides for teens, for moms, for dogs; I’ve even seen gift guides based on the different enneagram types. So I figured it was time someone made a gift guide for admission representatives. Here’s my 2021 holiday admissions gift guide: 

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4 Tips to REALLY Step Away

Six hundred and twenty-eight days is the time between when our whole world changed and when I am writing this. Obviously, we need no reminders about the differences that we have faced in our industry due to Covid-19 or in our personal lives, but for some reason this year feels different. We are relatively back to normal, hosting tours and on-campus events, and with that comes the usual stress, burnout and overall exhaustion of the fall. 

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Grit!

FRIENDS! I don’t think I have ever been more thankful than I am this year, heading into the Thanksgiving holiday. We are all here. Like, literally AT WORK, physically.  I know it took some adjustment(s) but let’s be thankful! When I sit back and ponder on the year (which who has time to actually do that in the hustle and bustle of recruiting season), I am in awe of my colleagues, friends, family, our students and my co-workers. We did it, not always gracefully, but we did it. We’re back to a new “normal” and I really feel grateful. 

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Post-Season Travel Adjustments

Where to start? What to do? Your mind is probably needing a break from the consecutive days on the road mixed with the busy visit days happening back on campus. As the weather is cooling off, it’s likely your travel schedule is, too. If you’re a seasoned road warrior, you know this transition all too well. If you’re newer to the road, you may feel a little discombobulated. Start with a deep breath. What we set out to complete amidst the chaos of travel season may not always materialize. You may realize that you didn’t email every student you spoke with at a high school visit or college fair this fall. You might have missed a congratulations text to a new commit or a next steps call to a new prospect. As you turn in your rental keys, fill out your final reimbursement forms and unpack your travel bags, here are a few tips to help with your transition back to the office.

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College Fairs are Back Again!

After a year and a half of Zoom meetings, Google chats, work from home, and socially-distanced campus tours, it was great to be back on the road again for the Iowa ACAC College Fair circuit. To say that I was nervous about taking over as the Iowa ACAC College Day/Night Chair in the middle of a world-wide pandemic is probably an understatement. If I’m truly being honest with you, I was terrified.

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Scenes from Seattle

It was a privilege to attend the NACAC conference in Seattle in late September. The sun was shining, the hills were steep, and it was a  beautiful thing to attend a conference again. I had the best time doing an Instagram takeover, posting about fabulous sessions, keynotes, and Seattle spots. If you don’t already, give Iowa ACAC a follow!

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Changes of Scenery

Promotions/new positions, new team members and bidding farewell - check out the Changes of Scenery in some of our member offices. Do you have big news to share? Major changes in your offices in the past few months – new colleagues, promotions, weddings, babies, etc. – let us know and we'll share the news with your Iowa ACAC colleagues!

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Looking to the Future

It’s been several years since I had the opportunity to attend the NACAC Conference. That, coupled with a year away from any type of airline travel, had me so excited to arrive in Seattle for the return of an in-person NACAC conference. As a new Assembly Delegate, I was unsure of what to expect going into the conference this year. NACAC has recently undergone a lot of changes in its organizational structure, and it was evident coming into the conference that more change is on the horizon.

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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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The Supervisor/Supervisee Relationship

Our relationship with our supervisors is one of the most important relationships that we have in our career, but it times it can also feel the most complicated. As three admissions professionals who have been in the field for a while, here are some things that we have learned over the years that can help you establish a great relationship with your supervisor.

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