Friday, February 24, 2017

We are so excited about the PCACAC AP case study for this month, we are sending it again. Please don't forget to turn in your answers soon.

As part of the PCACAC AP Committee's desire to proactively discuss ethics, we are sending out monthly "case studies." In these cases, we typically offer a situation and discuss whether the issue is in compliance with NACAC's Statement of Principles of Good Practices (SPGP).

And now for something completely different...This month's case study is a multiple choice competition. Anyone who would like to participate should submit answers to jtalmage@stpaulsschool.com by Feb 28. Those with the most right answers will be entered in a raffle for a $25 gift card. Correct answers and the winner will be announced in early March. Remember, if you have a question about a situation or SPGP, please contact a member of the AP Committee.

1. Which of the following is NOT a Core Value of NACAC's SPGP:
a. Professionalism
b. Education
c. Collaboration
d. Social Responsibility
e. All are core values of SPGP

2. Which of the following is NOT a Member Convention of NACAC's SPGP:
a. Members will make protecting the best interests of all students a primary concern in the admission process
b. Members will provide accurate admission and financial aid information to students, empowering all participants in the process to act responsibly.
c. Members will be ethical and respectful in their counseling, recruiting and enrollment practices.
d. Members will look to provide confusing and inaccurate information to students and families in order to make the admission process as intimidating as possible.
e. Members will support a common set of admission-related definitions and deadlines.

3. NACAC's SPGP does NOT provide an ethical framework for which constituents in the admission process?
a. Admission Officers
b. School Counselors
c. Independent Counselors
d. Students and Families going through the admission process
e. Organizations that work with admission offices

4. You can contact the PCACAC Admissions Practices Committee for which of the following situations?
a. You encounter a practice that seems weird and you wonder if it is ethical
b. You encounter a practice that is clearly a violation
c. You are concerned that the SPGP needs clarification
d. Your office is considering a new practice and would like to explore ethical issues of the practice
e. All the above

5. If you make an allegation or a complaint, which of the following is true?
a. The member against whom you make an allegation will be told your name
b. Your name, professional affiliation, position and even gender will not be shared
c. Your name will be published on the PCACAC website celebrating your ethical integrity
d. You will receive a Certificate of Integrity to post on your office wall

6. In an admission letter dated February 14, Great U writes to a student, "Congratulations. Because we love your community engagement, we would like to offer you a Service Scholarship for $5,000. Please reply within thirty days to confirm your acceptance of this scholarship." What is the SPGP issue in this situation?
a. The practice of thirty days reply is manipulating the May 1 common reply date
b. Colleges should not be offering scholarship in an admission letter
c. The letter needs to state May 1 explicitly
d. There is no issue-colleges can have any deadline for a scholarship
e. Both A and C

7. MostPopular U is looking at the options they have for the admission process and wants to be creative in the admission options they offer students next year. Which of the following application plans are NOT allowed by the Statement of Principles of Good Practice?
a. MostPopular First Choice Commitment
b. MostPopular Earliest Early Action
c. MostPopular Restrictive Regular Decision
d. MostPopular Last Chance Admission
e. All of the above

8. A university has required a housing deposit in order for admitted students to hold a space in on-campus housing prior to the National Candidate Reply Date of May 1. Is this a violation of SPGP?
a. No, housing is not a purview of the admission office
b. No, so long as the housing deposit is refundable
c. Yes, regardless of whether or not the housing deposit is refundable
d. It depends.

9. What does SPGP Mandatory Practice I. A. 2 state?
a. All post secondary members agree that they will not use disparaging comparisons of secondary or postsecondary institutions
b. All counseling members agree that they will not use disparaging comparisons of secondary or postsecondary institutions
c. All members agree that they will not use disparaging comparisons of secondary or postsecondary institutions
d. All members agree that they will accurately represent and promote their schools, institutions, organizations, and services
e. None of the above

10. Joanie was crushed when she was put on the wait list at her first choice college. She deposited at her second choice which had offered her a nice financial aid package. On May 2nd, she was thrilled to receive a call from her first choice college. Which scenario is acceptable under the SPGP?
a. The admission officer said there was not much money left in the financial aid budget so he could not tell her what her package would be, but he needed her to respond by the end of the day on May 3rd.
b. The admission officer followed up with a written email acceptance offer, but no award letter. He gave Joanie three days to respond.
c. The admission officer let Joanie know she would receive an email the next day with her acceptance and award letter. She would have a week to respond.
d. All of the above.

If you wish to file a complaint, please complete a NACAC Confidential Complaint form. All personal information will be kept confidential, but the information will be forwarded to the appropriate affiliate AP Committee. This committee will follow up on the issue. 
Want to review previous case studies? 
View all of the Admissions Practices Case Studies on The Anchor here.
Want to submit a case for consideration? Please e-mail the PCACAC AP Committee Chair at jtalmage@stpaulsschool.org

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

PCACAC President's Update

Dear friends,

Has this happened to you? You tell someone that you're a member of PCACAC, and they ask, "what's that?" What would you say?

Have you read our mission on the PCACAC website? As president, I've had occasion to re-read it and remind myself of our core purpose as an organization. PCACAC exists to "support and advance college admission professionals as they guide their institutions, students, and families in an ethical manner." We do this by advocating for students' rights in the admission process; by promoting college access, especially for the underserved; by promoting ethical professional behavior; and by offering professional development for our members.

So, how is PCACAC living up to its mission?

Two weeks ago, members of the Government Relations Committee descended on the General Assembly in Richmond. I joined their group, led by GRC chair Ginger Miller, as they met with several Virginia delegates and senators to advocate for reduced counselor-to-student ratios, improved college access, and promotion of ethical professional standards at higher education institutions. In a couple of weeks, our efforts will shift to the national stage for NACAC's Day on the Hill in Washington.

The PCACAC Annual Conference is coming! The Conference Planning Committee is putting together an exciting program for us at the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg on April 23-25. I've seen the list of breakout sessions, and we're going to have some dynamic and thought-provoking topics. Have you registered yet? If not, you can stop reading this and go straight to the online registration form.

In addition, we will be offering a fantastic pre-conference workshop this year: Potomac and Chesapeake Admission Counselors Equity Collaborative. Chris Miller, chair of our Inclusion, Access, and Success committee, has gathered a great group of presenters for an interactive discussion of diversity, equity, and inclusive practices in college admission and counseling. I hope you'll join us for this exciting new addition.

PCACAC members are actively engaged in NACAC's ongoing review of the Statement of Principles of Good Practice, and the Admissions Practices committee's monthly case study emails have become a model that other ACACs are copying to help educate professionals about how the ethical standards in our core document can guide us through real-life situations. Have you done this month's SPGP quiz yet?

And our Professional Development committee has been hard at work throughout our region, most recently in Fairfax County, where they offered a full day of training for public school counselors earlier this month. Be on the lookout for more programs coming up, including a more relaxed event for those on the college side next month after the northern Virginia college fairs.

These are just a few examples of how PCACAC is living its mission, and we wouldn't even have a mission without members like you. Thank you, as always, for all that you do for our students and our profession, and I look forward to seeing you in Williamsburg in April!

Anthony AmbrogiPresident, Potomac & Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling
Director of Admissions and Enrollment Research, Randolph-Macon College

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Meet another member of our profession on the high school side...

Meet Stephanie Metruk, Assistant Director of College Counseling, Garrison Forest School (MD)

What led you into admissions/college counseling? Share your journey story!
 Mine is not an unfamiliar story, I applied to be a tour guide at the end of my first year at Gettysburg College and was lucky enough to have incredible mentors within the Admissions Office who pushed me to apply for leadership roles and dive deeper into opportunities in the field. Having an absolutely nightmarish college search myself, Admissions work seemed like a natural fit, the goal to make it less miserable for the kids sitting in my interviews and information sessions than it had been for me. I worked at Albright College for my first two years after graduation and am still grateful for the amount of responsibility and trust the office gave its staff, even to first year counselors. I traveled extensively, got to run programs and coordinate a full tuition scholarship. The schools smaller population allowed me to really work closely with both prospective students and tour guides and gave me valuable experience I will never forget. In the summer of 2010 I was fortunate enough to be offered the chance to return to Gettysburg to join my mentors and serve as the Coordinator for International Student Admission. For five wonderful years I had the chance to watch Gettysburg’s International Student population more than triple in size and work with some of the most amazing students I ever had the fortune to meet. I always kept a domestic territory as well and in my last two years formed a strong relationship with the College Counseling staff at the Garrison Forest School in Owings Mills, Maryland. I was ready for a new challenge and came onboard first as the Assistant Director for Admission working predominantly with Middle School students and when we were unfortunate enough to lose Marty O’Connell to sunny California I knew I had to jump at the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful office and learn the ropes of counseling from the fabulous Ann Marie Strauss! Now, on the other side of the desk, and absolutely loving it, I can say that my mission and motivation has stayed the same since those first days as a Gettysburg College tour guide; to work hard to make this process less intimidating and maybe even fun for students. While each day has its highs and lows I wake up looking forward to making a difference for these fabulous young women in any way I can!

What's your favorite admissions/counseling memory or travel story?
My best memories are of traveling with an incredible group of admissions reps to the United World Colleges in Europe. We would spend two unforgettable weeks trekking endlessly on planes, buses and even ferries from Norway to Bosnia to meet with students who would leave me speechless and in awe. Some highlights include witnessing an incredible international talent show in Norway, interviewing a record 42 students in one day (each one as incredible as the last), the school locations themselves, nestled in a small Italian town right on the Adriatic sea or in a beautiful Castle on a hill, and hearing the call to prayer come over the mountains while having dinner within view of the bridge in Mostar. The Admissions reps I traveled with were always wonderful about lending advice and I learned just as much from a conversation in the Schipol airport as I did from any workshop I had ever attended. This experience instilled in me the importance of forming strong relationships and friendships through this profession and appreciating those who take time to share and be transparent with you.


How do you balance work/life?
This one is so important and so hard to learn! I will start by saying that I was not always very good at this and still sometimes don’t do as well as I should. First, I do not allow my e-mail to automatically populate on my phone. I have set times at night that I check my email from home in case of any emergencies and save the rest for the morning. My girls know that if they need help with something that night it has to come in before 8:30pm or I won’t see it (even though I’ll probably secretly check just one more time before bed) and my colleagues knows to text me if it’s a “full on panic get this done immediately” type situation. I set personal and professional goals and stick to them, if that means I have to get up and leave the office right at closing time so I can make sure I get that workout I’m determined (and desperately need) to get in, then that’s what it means. I can always come back to any important work that needs to be completed after I’ve taken care of myself first. This also means staying late when I need to so that I can come home and just be with my family or friends without worrying about outstanding items looming over these important and much needed moments. Don’t forget about your support systems as you get into your busy seasons, the connection to the world outside of applications and non-stop demands on your energy will be crucial to survival in this field. While people on the inside can provide support and empathy for your stresses, it is so important to have people you can talk with about something, anything, else for a few hours and forget about the natural stresses that come with work worth doing.


What advice would you give to someone considering entering the admissions/college counseling profession?
Talk to everyone you can and be thoughtful about the office in which you want to work. There are so many different styles and methodologies out there. You want to be sure you are in an office that aligns with your values and allows you to live a well-balanced life. This might not always be an opportunity at first, I mean, we all have to start somewhere, but talk to reps at college fairs or counselors at school visits and learn about what their styles and philosophies are. Join organizations like PCACAC and NACAC and connect with others in the field. The same job can look so incredibly different place to place and surrounding yourself with strong mentors and leadership will make all the difference in your development as a professional. The connections you form can lead you to learn more about yourself and new opportunities you may never have considered otherwise.


It is also so important to make friends with those on the other side of the desk. For admissions counselors it keeps you grounded, remembering that these endless pages of grades and resumes are real people who feel feelings just like the rest of us. They can also give you insight as to which kids are truly right for your institution in ways that you might not read in that 500 word essay they spent way too long obsessing over. If you’re on the admission side you can repay this lesson in humanity by offering transparency and treating counselors like the colleagues they are instead of prospective families. Don’t feed them the same jargon you spout in info sessions or avoid questions whose answers might make your university appear the way that it is instead of the way someone wants you to make it seem. Most importantly, try hard not to encourage the applications of students who you know will never have a spark of hope in your admission committees. Honesty and integrity in this field will earn not only respect for your school but for you as a professional and make you someone everyone will truly enjoy working with! 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

PCACAC Admission Practices Committee's February Case Study - Multiple Choice Questions

As part of the PCACAC AP Committee's desire to proactively discuss ethics, we are sending out monthly "case studies." In these cases, we typically offer a situation and discuss whether the issue is in compliance with NACAC's Statement of Principles of Good Practices (SPGP).
And now for something completely different...This month's case study is a multiple choice competition. Anyone who would like to participate should submit answers to jtalmage@stpaulsschool.com by Feb 28. Those with the most right answers will be entered in a raffle for a $25 gift card. Correct answers and the winner will be announced in early March. Remember, if you have a question about a situation or SPGP, please contact a member of the AP Committee.

1.       Which of the following is NOT a Core Value of NACAC's SPGP:
a.       Professionalism
b.       Education
c.       Collaboration
d.       Social Responsibility
e.       All are core values of SPGP

2.       Which of the following is NOT a Member Convention of NACAC's SPGP:
a.       Members will make protecting the best interests of all students a primary concern in the admission process
b.       Members will provide accurate admission and financial aid information to students, empowering all participants in the process to act responsibly.
c.       Members will be ethical and respectful in their counseling, recruiting and enrollment practices.
d.       Members will look to provide confusing and inaccurate information to students and families in order to make the admission process as intimidating as possible. 
e.       Members will support a common set of admission-related definitions and deadlines.

3.       NACAC's SPGP does NOT provide an ethical framework for which constituents in the admission process?
a.       Admission Officers
b.       School Counselors
c.       Independent Counselors
d.       Students and Families going through the admission process
e.       Organizations that work with admission offices

4.       You can contact the PCACAC Admissions Practices Committee for which of the following situations?
a.       You encounter a practice that seems weird and you wonder if it is ethical
b.       You encounter a practice that is clearly a violation
c.       You are concerned that the SPGP needs clarification
d.       Your office is considering a new practice and would like to explore ethical issues of the practice
e.       All the above

5.       If you make an allegation or a complaint, which of the following is true?
a.       The member against whom you make an allegation will be told your name
b.       Your name, professional affiliation, position and even gender will not be shared
c.       Your name will be published on the PCACAC website celebrating your ethical integrity
d.       You will receive a Certificate of Integrity to post on your office wall

6.       In an admission letter dated February 14, Great U writes to a student, "Congratulations. Because we love your community engagement, we would like to offer you a Service Scholarship for $5,000. Please reply within thirty days to confirm your acceptance of this scholarship." What is the SPGP issue in this situation?
a.       The practice of thirty days reply is manipulating the May 1 common reply date
b.       Colleges should not be offering scholarship in an admission letter
c.       The letter needs to state May 1 explicitly
d.       There is no issue-colleges can have any deadline for a scholarship
e.       Both A and C

7.       MostPopular U is looking at the options they have for the admission process and wants to be creative in the admission options they offer students next year. Which of the following application plans are NOT allowed by the Statement of Principles of Good Practice?
a.       MostPopular First Choice Commitment
b.       MostPopular Earliest Early Action
c.       MostPopular Restrictive Regular Decision
d.       MostPopular Last Chance Admission
e.       All of the above

8.       A university has required a housing deposit in order for admitted students to hold a space in on-campus housing prior to the National Candidate Reply Date of May 1. Is this a violation of SPGP?
a.       No, housing is not a purview of the admission office
b.       No, so long as the housing deposit is refundable
c.       Yes, regardless of whether or not the housing deposit is refundable
d.       It depends.

9.       What does SPGP Mandatory Practice I. A. 2 state?
a.       All post secondary members agree that they will not use disparaging comparisons of secondary or postsecondary institutions
b.       All counseling members agree that they will not use disparaging comparisons of secondary or postsecondary institutions
c.       All members agree that they will not use disparaging comparisons of secondary or postsecondary institutions 
d.       All members agree that they will accurately represent and promote their schools, institutions, organizations, and services
e.        None of the above

10.   Joanie was crushed when she was put on the wait list at her first choice college. She deposited at her second choice which had offered her a nice financial aid package. On May 2nd, she was thrilled to receive a call from her first choice college. Which scenario is acceptable under the SPGP?
a.       The admission officer said there was not much money left in the financial aid budget so he could not tell her what her package would be, but he needed her to respond  by the end of the day on May 3rd.
b.       The admission officer followed up with a written email acceptance offer, but no award letter. He gave Joanie three days to respond.
c.       The admission officer let Joanie know she would receive an email the next day with her acceptance and award letter.  She would have a week to respond.
d.       All of the above.

If you wish to file a complaint, please complete a NACAC Confidential Complaint form. All personal information will be kept confidential, but the information will be forwarded to the appropriate affiliate AP Committee. This committee will follow up on the issue. 
Want to review previous case studies? 
View all of the Admissions Practices Case Studies on The Anchor here
Want to submit a case for consideration? Please e-mail the PCACAC AP Committee Chair at jtalmage@stpaulsschool.org.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

We are excited to highlight another member of our profession...

Meet Dave Kraus who is the Director of Admission and Senior Athletic Liaison at Davidson College.

What led you into admission/college counseling?
Directly out of the University of New Hampshire, I was a middle school then high school English teacher and coach at a public school district in New Hampshire for 10 years.  When the opportunity presented itself to take an admission counselor at my alma mater, it seemed an interesting possibility to try for a few years.  Now, here we are 34 years later.  I have been incredibly fortunate in those years to work with two giants in the business.  I was hired at UNH by Stanwood Fish, now Dean Emeritus, and could not have had a better role model and mentor for my early career.  Stan’s vision, professionalism, ethics and calm laid the foundation upon which I have drawn many times through the years.  When I moved to Virginia accepting a position at Radford University, I had the privilege of working with and getting to know Jack Blackburn, Dean of Admission at UVA.  Jack was simply an icon in the admission world.  His intelligence, commitment to access, inclusiveness, and warmth are characteristics that I try to emulate daily.  I am no Stan Fish nor a Jack Blackburn but I like to think I have positively influenced my younger colleagues over the years.

What do you love most about your job?
Much has changed in the work since the mid ‘80’s, most notably marketing materials and certainly technology.  But the core of what we do remains the same, that is working with students and their families in an anxious and stressful time and helping them understand how the process works as they seek that good fit in their college choice—and reassuring that they will find that fit.  That remains the most enjoyable part of the work for me.

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue leadership in PCACAC and/or NACAC?
I have always felt the admission/college counseling field in general attracts positive, can do people.  That is certainly true in the membership and leadership of PCACAC many of whom have gone on to important roles and leadership in NACAC.  So, my advice if you are thinking of getting involved is simply DO IT!!

What's one thing that most people don't know about you?
I am most definitely an “I” on the Myers Briggs Personality test.

How do you balance work/life?
Balance?  What’s that?  I am afraid that my junior colleagues do a better job on this than I.

What's a current trend or future issue you're passionate about right now?
Higher ed faces many challenges on the horizon but I would have to put affordability at the top of the list.  When I was a college student, one could work hard during the summer and pretty much earn the year’s expenses.  That certainly is not the case now.  The indebtedness with which students graduate presently is frightening.  Wish I could say I have the solution but this must be addressed.

What advice would you give to someone considering entering the admissions/college counseling profession?
This is good work and important work.  We are privileged to do what we do every day.  Join us!


Monday, February 13, 2017

Registration is open for PCACAC's Annual Conference and Pre-Conference Workshop!

Dear Colleagues,

You are invited to join us for the 52nd Annual Conference, April 23-25, 2017 in Williamsburg, VA at the Kingsmill Resort. Rosemary Martin, Conference Planning Committee (CPC) Chair, and the CPC have been working diligently for the past few months to ensure that your conference experience is exceptional. If you have attended in the past, then you know the sessions are engaging as well as educational, networking is extensive, and the fun is endless.  The best part, of course, are the college admission colleagues!  So do your part and register today.
New this year - a Pre-Conference Workshop - PCACEC, Potomac & Chesapeake Admission Counselors Equity Collaborative, taking place Saturday & Sunday, April 22 & 23rd.  Thank you to William & Mary for hosting this transformative session. Register for the workshop soon - attendance is limited to 40. 

For more information, visit www.pcacac.org/conferences and look for the following:
Lodging is the responsibility of each participant. To book your guestroom at the Kingsmill Resort, call 800-832-5665 and speak with a reservations specialist. Tell reservations that you are with the PCACAC Conference to receive discounted rates.
Registration Fees - PCACAC members receive a $50 discount toward their conference registration. If you are not currently a member and would like to enjoy the benefits membership has to offer, please visit the Membership Information section on our Home page at www.pcacac.org and click on Join or Renew.
We look forward to gathering with our colleagues!

Questions? We are happy to help!
Visit the PCACAC Conference Page: 
www.pcacac.org/conferences
General Information: Rosemary Martin, Conference Planning Committee Chair, rmarti2@umd.edu
Sessions:: Robyn Lady, Conference Sessions Chair, ralady@fcps.edu
Registration: Annie Hilten, PCACAC Executive Assistant, info@pcacac.org434-989-7557

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Join Us for a New, Transformative Pre-Conference Workshop!

Dear Colleague:

In addition to attending PCACAC's 52nd Annual Conference in Kingsmill Resort in April, we want to invite you to arrive early to take advantage of an exciting opportunity - The Potomac and Chesapeake Admission Counselors Equity Collaborative (PCACEC). PCACEC is an interactive preconference workshop for the discussion of diversity, equity, and inclusive practices in college admission and counseling.  At PCACEC, counselors and college admission officers will come together to engage in conversations that build multicultural literacy and will share best practices for advancing our profession, specifically focusing on issues that affect historically underserved and marginalized communities. Discussions at PCACEare relevant for all members of the college admission community.

Dates and Times 
Saturday, April 22, 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM and Sunday, April 23, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM     
(Saturday and Sunday attendance required for the workshop.)     

Location
The College of William & Mary - Office of Undergraduate Admissions

A pre-conference registration includes workshop meetings both Saturday and Sunday, a continental breakfast and lunch on Sunday, and topics such as "The Language of Diversity" and "Diversity and the Student Search Process."  For more information regarding PCACEC and to register, access the Location, Registration, and Fees guide or go to www.pcacac.org/conferences. To attend both the pre-conference workshop and the conference, look for the combination package price.  A discount (only for PCACEC) is available for institution members if two or more representatives (coworkers) register for the workshop together. To learn more about this special offer for institution members, email info@pcacac.orgThank you.

Any questions? We are happy to help.
Visit the PCACAC Conference Page: 
www.pcacac.org/conferences
General Information: Rosemary Martin, Conference Planning Committee Chair, rmarti2@umd.edu
Sessions: Chris Miller, IAS Chair and Pre-Conference Coordinator, cmiller@glenelg.org
Registration: Annie Hilten, PCACAC Executive Assistant, info@pcacac.org434-989-7557