By Elyse Rench, McKendree University
The IACAC annual conference was an experience I will never forget and look forward to attending in the future. When I began my career in admissions six years ago in Indiana, I had the opportunity to attend their annual conference and realized the profound effect a professional organization of this magnitude can have on its members. As a counselor for McKendree University, I was fortunate enough to have attended the annual conference in Illinois this year and it reassured me of the importance of being a part of an organization that is comprised of amazing individuals that provide knowledge, motivation, support, and friendship to all of its members. To witness a group of professionals that care so deeply about their work is uplifting in more ways than one.
The amount of time, organization, and dedication that the conference committee puts forth is remarkable. Each session I had the opportunity to attend offered something interesting and diverse to myself and my fellow colleagues. Although I felt all of the sessions I attended were top notch, my favorite session was Social Media in Admission. As I currently work with the social media outlets in our office, I found this session to be particularly insightful. It was not only reassuring, but provided me with numerous useful tips that I will be able to implement going forward. The presenters that led the session were enthusiastic and passionate in their discussion with the audience. I felt I received a wide range of knowledge on current trends being utilized and at the same time learned how each university differs in their approach. It was a very dynamic presentation and stirred the audience to brainstorm and ask questions. I left with pages upon pages of notes and felt reenergized.
Not only did the sessions create new awareness and understanding, but the conference as a whole provided opportunities to network with fellow admission and high school counselors.
The Thursday evening entertainment provided the members a chance to get to know one another. We played some competitive games of ski ball and showed off our groovy dance moves. It was nice to relax and share a few laughs with the many wonderful new friends I had made.
IACAC is an organization that not only provides professional development to its members, but serves as an engine of change and new ideas. I really enjoyed witnessing the presentation of the IACAC scholarships to the many deserving students and the presentation of awards to my fellow conference attendees. It is important to recognize one’s achievements and foster growth within an organization. Hearing accolades given to each recipient was very moving. I can only hope to continue my own professional growth within this organization that I now call home.