Myskeshia L. Mitchell
Peoria High School
Attending the IACAC Annual Conference in Normal in May changed my professional life! I met some great game changers in the profession of college admission counseling. As a first timer and Project Reach recipient school I enjoyed learning and networking throughout my three days of attendance. I would like to thank the members of the Professional Development Grants committee who awarded me a grant to attend the conference. I would also like to thank the members of the Project Reach committee that chose my school as a recipient. The opportunity to attend truly created an IMPACT on my professional development.
One of the sessions I attended was Building a College Counseling Program from the Ground Up. This session gave me fresh ideas to consider and propose as my district moves towards establishing a separate College and Career Counselor at each high school. My district sees the need for the position but I needed to know how to make it a reality. This session discussed how I can work with my colleagues to address the needs of our school by evaluating existing resources, utilizing data, and creating implementation plans. The presenters provided examples of listservs and forums to join. Since the conference, I have joined them and they are a wealth of information and serve as networking opportunities. I found the resources presented, which included, graduation survey examples, senior college application presentations, website examples, and school calendar examples incredibly valuable. The session was packed with relevant information for all stages of the implementation process. It opened my eyes and further ignited my passion for college and career counseling..
I walked away from the entire conference feeling inspired to make impactful changes in college counseling within my district. As a school counselor whose main job is to assist with FAFSA, college applications and oversee scholarships, this conference was the best conference I attended relevant to my job duties. The importance of secondary counselors and postsecondary counselors converging to make sure students entering college are not only successful at admission but also in retention is critical. Thank you IACAC for providing the platform for us to do just that. I went back to my school encouraging my colleagues to join the organization.
Thank you IACAC! I will continue to share the various programs for students and learning opportunities for counselors. I look forward to attending the conference next year.