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A Forced Programming Change, Here To Stay

A Forced Programming Change, Here to Stay

Julie Nelson
Xavier University

Think back, if you can, to your first year as an admission professional. Just like with any new job, you learned by doing. You also probably learned by observing other counselors on the road, from talking to high school counselors, and through spirited conversations over turkey sandwiches before college fairs.

Now imagine you started your admission career in the summer of 2020. Not only were your supervisors working from a whole new playbook, but they were writing it as they went along. Your colleagues from other offices sometimes forgot to unmute, so you missed the important parts of their advice. And there’s something about watching someone eat over Zoom that’s a little creepy.

Thankfully, the New Counselor Institute provided a way for our newest professionals to connect, to learn, and to laugh.

Once a month, the nearly 80 participants and committee members, led by NCI Chairs Derek Brinkley (Columbia College Chicago), Sarah Goldman (University of Oregon) and Maira Rodriguez (Marquette University), met for an hour and a half long session: 45 minutes of presentation on topics like application reading, financial aid, self-care, and advocacy, and then about a half hour in small group discussion. Between sessions, the small groups connected both personally and professionally. Now that the year’s worth of sessions is over, here’s what some of the participants had to say:

I loved that this program was a year-long program! I think I learned a lot more and was able to take more time to talk in small groups during this rather than at an in-person program. Overall, it was a fantastic experience and program! I wish we could continue it!

I am thankful for getting to meet other counselors at different universities. It was nice to get the experience of interacting with other reps even when we didn’t have the traditional travel season. I look forward to hopefully meeting some of those reps during travel again!

Thank you so much for a year of wonderful content, the opportunity to learn about the profession and connect with colleagues.

As we transition to more traditional admission activities, the committee and participants are planning to meet in person and to continue to provide support and guidance as the next year unfolds. In addition, the committee has also started to gather ideas and plans for the next year, including adding specific information for transfer admission specialists and community college counselors.

Based on the success of this year’s program, the New Counselor Institute will continue in its year-long format for the 2021-22 school year with some sessions being remote and others in person. While planning has just begun, be sure to check out for updates and registration information later this summer.

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