Less than one month into my position as an Admission Counselor at Rockford University, I drove down I-39 toward Illinois Wesleyan University for the 2018 Summer Institute. Still having to use Google Maps to get around the city of Rockford, I was apprehensive about the unknown of what I was about to experience. I had been told that SI was the perfect place for new admission counselors to learn about the profession, and based on my experiences, I could not agree more. There are lessons and strategies that I learned at the conference that I still use to this day. However, what I could not have imagined was that the most valuable takeaway from Summer Institute was the relationships that I established with fellow counselors both new and veteran. In just three short days, I cultivated a support system made up of fellow new admission counselors going through the same experiences as me and experienced admissions professionals that have taken on a mentor-like role for me as I continue to grow in the profession.
When I volunteered for the 2019 Summer Institute Committee, it was about more than simply putting on a conference for the incoming group of new admission counselors. I wanted to help cultivate an environment that encouraged “making every connection count” (a nice play on our theme, if I do say so myself) and creating those same types of relationships that I had built early in my career. As planning continued, I soon realized there was an opportunity for me to go beyond the role of committee member and help engage Rockford University further with IACAC. Therefore, with the support of my office, I took the chance and submitted a bid for RU to host the 2020 Summer Institute, and it paid off! Now as a new co-chair of SI 2020, I have been overwhelmed by the positive interactions I’ve had with members of IACAC and the continued support I have received in helping Rockford University work to put forth the best conference possible. IACAC, and especially Summer Institute, has given me relationships that would not have otherwise existed, and it will be such a rewarding experience sharing Rockford University’s campus with the 2020 Summer Institute attendees! Make sure the new counselors in your office are able to attend Summer Institute next summer at Rockford University!