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It Was A “Dickens” Of A Fall

It Was a “Dickens” of a Fall

Editor’s note: This article was submitted during winter break

By Amy Belstra, Libertyville High School
Chief NACAC Delegate

Rushing through final exams and last-minute college applications, answering questions about PSATs, reading Early Action and Early Decision apps, the whirlwind of holiday happenings–my inner Ebenezer sometimes whispered, “Bah, Humbug.”

I know I needed a visit from some Holiday Ghosts: NACAC’s Past, Present, and Future. Let’s look at our year thus far, and peek ahead to what’s coming.

Ghost of NACAC Past

The national conference in Boston during September feels like ages ago, but it was a momentous NACAC. The 2017 Assembly voted to approve the new Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP), now called NACAC’s Code of Ethics and Professional Practices (CEPP). The new CEPP is divided into four sections: Sections I and II outline the ethics and practice of our profession, for both colleges and secondary schools; Section III is a glossary that defines the terms we as practitioners are so used to, but others may not understand; Section IV discusses monitoring and compliance with our ethical practices.

Ghost of NACAC Present

As our national organization familiarizes itself with the different components of the CEPP, members and member institutions will be expected to enact any new procedures for the 2018-2019 admission cycle, while all professional practices which carry over from the SPGP are expected to be followed.

It may be helpful to highlight some changes to the SPGP/CEPP:

  • The document is more organized and more transparent. The Task Force that wrote the CEPP worked diligently to make it easier to understand.  As well, they noted in the CEPP Introduction that our work is changing rapidly, and we must do our best to respect the intent of the document:
    “Even with our best efforts, this document cannot anticipate every new admission or recruitment process or strategy that may be enacted. We hope, however, that professionals will always honor the spirit and intent of this document. As the college admission landscape continues to change, adjustments to the language, procedures, or behaviors advanced in this document will be considered.”
    In the Preamble, the Task Force recognized that we are a profession of caring people, whose ultimate goal is to serve our students well:
    “Our profession strives to ensure that the students we serve and all of our colleagues are valued and supported. We thrive by embracing and engaging our unique identities, experiences, and perspectives, and we are committed to increasing the enrollment and success of historically underrepresented populations. We are dedicated to promoting college access and addressing systemic inequities to ensure that college campuses reflect our society’s many cultures, stimulate the exchange of ideas, value differences, and prepare our students to become global citizens and leaders.” 
  • To the delight of our colleagues who work with transfer and international populations, the new CEPP includes stand-alone sections on Transfer Admission and the Use of Agents in International Student Recruitment.  As well, the document clearly outlines acceptable Application Plans (Early Action, Early Decision, Regular Decision, etc.), Application Deadlines, and Wait List and May 1 policies. 
  • The new Glossary of Terms in Section III actually defines common language in our profession, from “Admission Officers” to “Transfer Students”. A parent or student could read and understand this document, even if new to the college application process. 
  • The Monitoring and Penalties section outlines how complaints or violations are handled, and encourages anyone who questions a practice by a high school or college to submit a complaint – even parents or students.  As well, all institutions are encouraged to check with their affiliate Admission Practices committee as they consider a new practice to ensure they comply with the CEPP.

Ghost of NACAC Future

First, a huge shout-out to two IACAC groups: our Delegate Directors (Nate Bargar, Ziggy Blackwell, Traci Flowers, Mike Ford, Carlene Klaas, Megan O’Rourke, Eric Ruiz, Kim Wiley, Roberto Suarez, and Michelle Rogers) and our Admission Practices Committee (Andy Borst, Kevin Coy, Sandie Gilbert, Carlene Klaas, Jennifer Paar Gross, and Shawn Wochner) for the hours they spent reviewing drafts of the CEPP and preparing for the 2017 NACAC Assembly. I count myself incredibly lucky to be a member of these two groups!  

In the future, as you learn more about the new Code of Ethics and Professional Practices, never hesitate to reach out to any of the IACAC members listed above. The AP Committee’s goal is to empower you to make sure we all act ethically and equitably on behalf of those we serve–our students.  And the Delegate Directors are your voice: if you have questions or concerns about trends happening in our profession, reach out! Find our contact information on the IACAC website, and email or call any of us.  

Here’s to 2018, with one wish:  God Bless Us, Every One!

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