Making Revelations & Connections at Conference
By Jill Homerding, Graduate Student, DePaul University
I am currently in my last year of graduate school at DePaul University obtaining my master’s in school counseling. The last year in the program consists of your internship experience, which is filled with a variety of wonderful learning experiences of becoming a school counselor. I thought attending the Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling conference would be a terrific professional development opportunity for me and only add to my learning experience. The conference and the people of IACAC did that and so much more. The conference helped me realize just how much crossover there is between high school counseling and college admission counseling.
While I had a wonderful overall experience at the conference, I want to focus on a session that was extremely worthwhile to me and made me understand just how much of a connection there is between school counseling and admission counseling. The session was humorously titled, It’s Not Me, It’s You. But Also Kind of Me. The purpose of the session was the realization that creating an environment where students feel welcome and at home is a vital part of the work of an admission counselor. Counselors must personally connect with students at each point within the recruitment process. Finding creative ways to make the student the focus and reaching out to them in relatable and tangible ways was a point the presenters did a wonderful job of making apparent.
The presentation was so captivating and refreshing to me that I have added admission counselor to my job search because I can see myself making a positive impact on high school seniors transitioning to college.
In school counseling, it’s all about making a personal connection with the student and helping them along in their 4-year journey of high school. It became very clear just how passionate the presenters were about their jobs as admission counselors. They broke down the process into five parts including; 1. Building a Foundation, 2. Establishing a Foundation, 3, Cultivating the Connection, 4. Guiding a Decision and 5. Maintaining the Relationship. These steps of making the student the focus and providing them with positive and welcoming support during their college search process made me realize how similar it is to school counselors connecting with their students. The presentation was so captivating and refreshing to me that I have added admission counselor to my job search because I can see myself making a positive impact on high school seniors transitioning to college. Ever since I was in high school, I’ve always known that I’ve wanted to make a career out of helping high school students. I learned at conference just how much passion and dedication admission counselors put into their work. I believe my passion for working with high school students is transferable to working on either side of the desk. Once I was able to express my thoughts and interests to college admission colleagues I knew at the conference, they were nothing but supportive and were already finding ways to help me through the gruesome job search process. It was obvious to see their passion to help others shine through, just as I’m sure it does when they are working with guiding high school students through the college admission process. Being able to attend IACAC Conference opened up my eyes to a potential career opportunity for me that suits my knowledge, skills, and passions.
Photo: Conference app photo hunt challenge: 5 or more people representing different colleges