The NACAC Annual Conference is for anyone in the counseling and/or admission community who would like to stay up-to-date on industry trends. The conference brings together many secondary and postsecondary college admission counseling professionals to exchange ideas, hear from experts and learn more about the products and services that will enable them to accomplish their goals. This year’s NACAC National Conference was hosted in Seattle, WA and offered a choice of 180+ thought-provoking education sessions, with 45 sessions simultaneously streamed for virtual attendees! Hear from two IACAC grant recipients about their experiences.
Alejandro Campos, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admission at the University of St. Francis explained, applied for a NACAC grant because he wanted to expand his knowledge of the admissions world. He wanted to find new ways to advance his career while also learning how to best serve his institution. He attended a session titled, “Leading Through Change” and in this session, he learned that while change may be rough, the only way for problems to be addressed you need to change. “I looked back at my own experiences and having radical ideas on ways to improve, I need to remember that change is a slow and arduous process.”
Alejandro highlighted three takeaways from the conference:
- You are never alone: All of us have experienced different hardships during the pandemic. But, we all have each other to lean on. I found myself feeling out of place since this was my first time attending NACAC. However, after talking to fellow first-timers and those in the Emerging Professional SIG, we all experienced the same issues.
- Network, Network, Network: Have conversations with everyone around you. While at NACAC, you will meet people in all different types of roles, From Directors, Assistant Vice Presidents, to Vice Presidents. They are just people who have a title. Ask them, “What is your Story?”, you will be surprised at how they got to where they are at. Plus, you never know that person you have a conversation with may help you with moving up the higher education ladder.
- Find your Passion Area and Master It: After speaking with many of my IACAC colleagues at the receptions. I explained to them that I have a passion for helping veteran students and talking to high school students about joining the military. That then turned into discussions with others on their experiences with the military (Military Education Program)
Nate Bargar, College and Career Counselor at Carmel Catholic High School, highlighted his 3 main takeaways:
- How to help students provide context when addressing traumas in a students life in their essays and interactions with those in college admissions.
- We as professionals and colleagues are struggling in a variety of ways as well. It’s important for us to look out for each other as well as our students.
- There have been a lot of changes in the last four or so years as to how NACAC operates and the affiliate’s role in that. How do we continue to look to NACAC and our affiliates for leadership, guidance, and best practices while keeping what is right for our students at the forefront of all we do.
Nate is already actively applying concepts that he learned in the sessions when assisting his students with their college essays. “One session that I have reflected back on pretty frequently since attending NACAC is one of the essay sessions associated with essay writing and how to properly guide our students that disclosed weighty situations, for lack of a better way to put it. The session provided some great guidance for walking students through the process of disclosing any variety of traumas in their college essays.” He also shares things he learned with his department to help provide perspective. Nate also got to see college campuses while attending the conference in Seattle. “On my trip I also got to see four very different college campuses. One of the institutions that I toured has scheduled a college visit with my school since we returned.”
Alejandro plans on becoming more involved within IACAC. After coming back from NACAC, he was asked to join the Government Relations Committee, Conference Committee, and present at Conference. Then two weeks later he was elected to be President for the community organization (Hispanic Latino Coalition of Will County). He also plans on mentoring his colleagues and others about the benefits of the IACAC grants and NACAC. “Members should apply for both. Begin advocating to go to NACAC or become more involved within IACAC, because these will be your peers for the next 3 years or 20 years.”
Join NACAC in Houston (TX) from September 22-24, 2022 and learn more about the IACAC grants.