By DJ Menifee
Western Illinois University
Are you willing to challenge yourself? For the rising seniors that participated in IACAC Camp College 2012 at Bradley University, the answer was yes. In July, over 40 bright and enthusiastic students brought their open-minds and their willingness to learn to Peoria, Illinois. The camp started off with fireworks as Jerry Pope, National College Advisor at Niles Township High School District 219, delivered a message on persevering through adversity. This message spoke loudly to the hearts of the students and staff in attendance. This was the type of message that makes you take a step back and evaluate your journey and the challenges you may or may not have faced to get to where you are today. During the camp, students participated in engaging sessions on the college search process which included: finding the right fit, essay writing, college fair preparation, mock admissions, and making the transition from high school to college amongst other impactful activities. The students in attendance amazed the Camp College staff with how they challenged themselves throughout the program through their dynamic performance and attention in sessions.
Through a collaborative effort, the students were able to visit Illinois State University in addition to visiting Bradley University, which gave them a perspective of both a private and a public institution. One of Camp College’s goals was to expose students to another campus which allowed a comparison of campus environments. Similar to the theme of IACAC’s annual conference, camp college allowed students to connect and build long-lasting relationships with their peers and staff.
The energy did not stop at Bradley University. Camp College also builds relationships with students through mentoring them throughout their senior year. Members of the College Awareness and Preparation (CAP) Committee have volunteered to mentor 3-5 students. The mentoring program allows for IACAC volunteers to serve as a continuous resource to students during their search while lending an ear and voice of reason as they face challenges during their senior year.
Simply put, the profession of college admission is the best career in the world. Counselors are in a position to motivate, empower, inspire, and educate the students we see every day. Camp College is providing students the knowledge and tools needed to make the best decision for their futures. Camp College not only helps students with the college process it also helps change lives. Like many of the committee members of Camp College, I believe it was a blessing to be a part of the lives of students at such a pivotal point.
The CAP Committee wants to thank the participating students and their families, high school counselors/contacts, the staff at Bradley, the committee, and IACAC for their hard work and dedication in making this camp possible.