Back from NACAC

Last week I was in Baltimore to attend the annual National Association of College Admissions Counselors meeting, otherwise known as NACAC. This meeting is held in a different city each year (last year was Seattle, next year is St. Louis) and is a fantastic opportunity for college counselors to connect with peers on both sides of the college admissions desk. There are workshops on a whole range of topics: everything from financial aid to NCAA eligibility; writing the essay tips, to sharing the news of hidden-gem colleges – there’s even a college fair. It was hard to choose which workshop to attend when there were so many offered at the same time – a feeling I know our students must encounter when they go to college. Overall, I come back feeling equally refreshed and exhausted. I learned a great deal which I am bringing back to our office, both from the Conference as well as the four days of traveling from Baltimore up and down the East Coast to Philadelphia and Washington, DC to visit colleges prior to the start of NACAC. In my travels I saw Hyde-Woodstock alums Ariana Arbes ’08 at St. Joseph’s University and Taiga Koda ’08 at American University. On each occasion it was a pleasure to see our alumni in their college settings and know that they indeed found the right fit school for them. That is our whole mission, and it was terrific to see it in action.

We meet again with seniors this week to check in and see where they stand with their college counselor meetings, their Common Application draft status, getting their resume and essay finished and to work on their explanation of transcript. We meet with students from 12:30 to 1:30 every day and are beginning evening Office Hours as well. I feel good about where the seniors as a whole stand, even if they are feeling very nervous. The general attitude is one of wanting to get a move on, which is just where it should be at this juncture. By Fall Family Weekend, the bulk of the seniors should be pretty much set with the basics of their applications, and will then need to settle on a final list of colleges for which they will then work on supplemental applications if there are any. Our goal is that by the winter vacation, all of our students will be done with their college applications. A big dream, but one I know we can dare to dream.