Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Words from the 2017 Student Support Grant Recipient Deandra Smith

Greetings, colleagues! My name is Deandra Smith, and I am the Associate Director of Post-Secondary Success at DC Preparatory Academy. I am also a new PCACAC member, and am honored to have attended this year’s Summer Institute (SI) as a grant recipient.

My time at SI was nothing short of amazing. I had an opportunity to connect with so many new colleagues, both new and seasoned professionals, as well as had an opportunity to visit the beautiful Roanoke College. The presenters provided excellent, useful content, and they were also well-prepared and beautifully executed their ideas. One of my favorite sessions included, “Decisions, Decisions—the Subjective Nature of College Admissions.” During this session, I learned about the NCACAC State of College Admissions’ List, specifically in regards to what colleges are looking for in a student’s application. I also had the opportunity to read a few applications during that time, and to share my thoughts about which of two students would be accepted into William and Mary. Reading two applications in about 20 minutes proved to be very stressful, and it made me even more appreciative of our admissions colleagues around the country!

I must admit that the Vice President of Roanoke, Brenda Porter Poggendorf’s, keynote speech about not being as focused on a student’s final destination, as we are with their journey, was very intriguing and touching. One quote in particular, “It’s okay for students to take an untraditional route,” caused me to deeply reflect, to take a step back, and to reconsider the ways in which I engage students. My goal is to intentionally empower students as they navigate the murky waters of young adulthood. There are so many life-long lessons that I will have the opportunity to experience with my students, and I am so thankful to be a part of their journey.

Overall, I had such a positive experience attending Summer Institute, and look forward to attending additional events in the future as I glean knowledge from my colleagues. I would like to personally thank all of the faculty, staff and committee chairs for planning a wonderful conference. I will certainly cherish my time at PCACAC, and the great thing is that this is just the beginning!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Congratulations to the 2017 Student Support Grant Recipient Tracy Kyttle, Collegiate Directions College Scholar Transition Retreat

Every August, CDI counselors deliver a college transition retreat to their graduating class before they go off to college. It is a full day of activities beginning with a light breakfast and team building activity. The morning is spent in small breakout sessions where the students and counselors discuss case studies and solutions about challenges that can arise during the social, academic, and financial transition to college. The students then pursue a college focused outside scavenger hunt while the counselors set up a formal dining meal. Through two years of culminating workshops, CDI scholars graduate high school to be socially intelligent, service oriented, personally responsible, and lifelong learners. To prepare them with the social and cultural capital they need to attend a selective institution where formal banquet meal on campus or shared dinner with the president are possible, our scholars practice their etiquette skills with a real simulation. Following the student etiquette lunch served by counselors, students move into more breakout sessions and end the retreat with a student panel. CDI invites alumni and college scholars back to the office to serve as panelists and mentors to their younger peers. Students leave the retreat with a list of packing essentials and their CDI college counselor assignments.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Only a few days left to register for PCACAC's 14th Annual Summer Institute & College Tours!

Dear Friend and Colleague,

If you have been waiting for the new fiscal year to begin before registering for the PCACAC Summer Institute, the time is now!  Registration for the 14th annual Summer Institute closes on Sunday, July 9th, at midnight!  Hosted this year by Roanoke College, there are still a few spaces available, so take advantage of this opportunity to renew your professional spirit and gather fresh new ideas for the next admission year.

Summer Institute faculty members are ready to deliver a top-notch program and we'd love you to join us for the college tours of Hollins University on the evening of July 18th and Radford University and Virginia Tech on July 19th!
Here's a quick glimpse at the schedule:
  • Sunday, July 16: Early registration from 5-8 pm
  • Monday, July 17:
    • 9:00-10:30 am: Registration and continental breakfast
    • 11:00 am-4:15 pm: Sessions and luncheon
    • 4:30-5:00 pm: Campus tours
    • 5:30-9:30 pm: Cocktail reception, Keynote speaker and dinner
  • Tuesday, July 18:
    • 8:00-8:45 am: Breakfast
    • 9:00 am-2:45 pm: Sessions and luncheon
    • 3:30 pm:  Depart for college tour at Radford; dinner on your own if staying overnight
  • Wednesday, July 19:
    • 7:00 am-3:00 pm:  College tours to Radford and Virginia Tech
    • 3:00 pm: Departure
For more information and the session lineup, visit is limited to 100 participants, so register today!  
Join PCACAC and receive a discount on registration.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available for your participation in this event.
We look forward to seeing you there!

Questions? Please let us know how we may help!
Professional Development Chair:  Rebekah LaPlante, Virginia Tech (VA)
Chair: Alice Robertson, Chantilly High School (VA)
Chair: Kate Perry, William and Mary (VA)
College Tours Coordinator:  Chris Boehm, Archmere Academy (DE)
Registration:  Rhonda Douthit, Executive Assistant, 434-989-7557

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

PCACAC Summer Institute is the Perfect Opportunity for New Hires!

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Consider sending your new hires to PCACAC's 14th Annual Summer Institute.  Even if you are not certain who the new counselors are yet, it is possible to register them for the Summer Institute at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, July 17-18, 2017.  Please visit for detailed information on the session line-up, fees, and how to register new hires.  Download the Fees & Registration Information at  Registration closes July 3, 2017 and space is limited to 100 participants, so register today!

College Tours - Radford, Hollins, Virginia Tech
Summer Institute attendees have the option to include in their registration college tours of Radford University, Hollins University, and Virginia Tech.  Immediately following the institute on Tuesday, July 18th, attendees will travel to Radford University and return to Roanoke College after dinner. The next morning attendees will begin early with a tour of Hollins University and wrap up that afternoon with a tour of Virginia Tech.   

General Information:  Alice Robertson and Kate Perry, Summer Institute Chairs, and
Professional Development Chair:  Rebekah LaPlante,
College Tours:  Chris Boehm, College Tours Coordinator,
Registration & Lodging:  Annie Hilten, PCACAC Executive Assistant, info@pcacac.org434-989-7557

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Get energized at the PCACAC Summer Institute!


Do you feel like you or a colleague could use a shot of 'professional' energy?  If so, then REGISTER NOW for the 14th Annual PCACAC Summer Institute at Roanoke College!  The two-day Summer Institute, July 17-18, 2017, is intended for new and veteran college admission and counseling professionals, with a lineup of sessions that will be of interest to both sides of the desk.  Meet dynamic people and get some new ideas on how to increase the effectiveness of your office! Learn tips on advising your athletic recruits and find out how to make your college's campus visit program dazzle.  Best of all, you can network with others who share your interests.  Optional college tours of Hollins University, Radford University, and Virginia Tech are planned for Tuesday evening, July 18 and Wednesday, July 19 following the Institute.

For detailed information on fees and how to register, download the Fees and Registration document at  Registration closes July 3, 2017. Space is limited to 100 participants, so register today!

We look forward to seeing you there!

General Information:  Alice Robertson and Kate Perry, Summer Institute Chairs, and
Professional Development Chair:  Rebekah LaPlante,
College Tours:  Chris Boehm, College Tours Coordinator,
Registration & Lodging:  Annie Hilten, PCACAC Executive Assistant, info@pcacac.org434-989-7557

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

President's Final Message for 2016-17!

Dear friends and colleagues,

We made it to graduation season! Given the bizarre craziness of this year, I'm sure many of us were wondering if we would make it to the finish line in one piece. I know I had a quite a few moments when I questioned that! Yet, here we are - another year in the books, with our seniors graduating and another freshman class ready to arrive soon. The circle of life in college admission continues...

...and so it does in PCACAC as well. Just as we finished up our 52nd Annual Conference a month ago, we dove straight into planning for the next year. were at the conference, right? If you weren't, you missed a great one. We had a fantastic slate of dynamic sessions, one of the best line-ups I've seen, including many new topics and new approaches to perennial issues. I want to thank everyone involved with putting on such an outstanding conference, including Rosemary Martin (Conference Planning Chair), Robyn Lady (President-Elect and Sessions Chair), and Annie Hilten (PCACAC's devoted and hard-working Executive Assistant). With the conference behind us, we're already getting ready for our Summer Institute this July at Roanoke College. And save the date for next year's Annual Conference in Dover, Delaware!

We also elected new officers at the Conference. Please join me in congratulating our new PCACAC leaders:
  • President-Elect: Jake Talmage, St. Paul's School for Boys (MD)
  • Secretary: Heather Jeter, The Steward School (VA)
  • Delegate and Government Relations Chair: Ginger Miller, Landon School (MD)
  • Delegate and Professional Development Chair: Rebekah LaPlante, Virginia Tech (VA)
  • Delegate (at large): Sanjay Mitchell, Thurgood Marshall Academy PCS (DC)

Finally, as my last few weeks as President of PCACAC wind down, allow me a moment to express my gratitude and thanks to all of you. It has been an honor and privilege for me to serve as President this year for an organization that has meant so much to me for nearly 20 years. I've greatly enjoyed working closely with so many of you, and I look forward to continuing to do so as I transition to the role of Past President. Not only am I finishing my stint as President of PCACAC, but I am also leaving my home of 16 years at Randolph-Macon College for a new position as Co-Director of College Counseling at St. Catherine's School in Richmond. I appreciate the support of my friends and colleagues at R-MC; while I'll miss them greatly, I look forward to an exciting new chapter to begin this summer.

Again, thank you for all that you have done to support me this past year and for all that you do for PCACAC every year. Have a wonderful summer!

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

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Check out this week's PCACAC Member Spotlight on Mollyemma Teague!

Mollyemma Teague is an admission counselor and the alumnae admission engagement liaison at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA.

What led you into admissions/college counseling? Share your journey story!
I was lucky enough to be employed as a student worker in our Office of Admission while I was an undergraduate student at Hollins, which gave me a taste for the work we do and the impact we can have on the lives of high school students. While in college, I worked as the Assistant Residential Director of Duke Youth Programs, and learned that I had a passion for youth development. While I had this passion for youth development, it didn’t necessarily translate in passion to residential experiences. I was more interested in learning the stories of our students, what inspired them educationally, and what their goals were academically. This made for an easy transition into the field of admissions work.

What's your favorite admissions/counseling memory or travel story?
It’s so hard to choose just one! One of my favorite experiences was participating in the 2016 Memphis Case Studies. Getting to work with high school counselors, admission counselors from other universities, and current high school students to assess applications was a really eye opening experience for me. I love learning about the processes of other universities, and what students are focusing on as they go through the college search process.

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue leadership (or membership) in PCACAC and/or NACAC?
Don’t be afraid to dive in head first! When I first began my professional development journey, I truly just raised my hand and offered to help wherever I was needed. I made my intentions and desires to be involved known to my director as well as other counselors that I have professional relationships with so that as opportunities arose that were good fits for me, I had people who could advocate for me and help get me connected.

If not working in admissions/college counseling, what else could you see yourself pursuing? 
I have always loved poetry and writing. I could see myself being an English professor, but it would not carry the same weight and reward for me as working in admissions or college counseling. I have definitely found my niche!

What's one thing that most people don't know about you?
I am classically trained in both piano and cello, having played both instruments for over 15 years.

How do you balance work/life?
I am dedicated to self-care on the mental, physical, and emotional levels. I know I do my best when I feel my best, and that includes spending time with family, nature, and live music! I make sure to work efficiently when I’m in the office to stay on top of, if not ahead of, my to do list so I can truly relax during time off.

What's a current trend or future issue you're passionate about right now? And why?
I am really interested in public charter college preparatory schools. I’ve recently had some really exciting conversations with college readiness advisors at public charter schools in major urban areas about the ways they promote college readiness to their students starting as early as 9th grade. As someone who spends a good two thirds of her year reading applications, I am always interested to learn how students prepare to put their best foot forward.

What advice would you give to someone considering entering the admissions/college counseling profession?

Be willing to be a yes person. Say yes to opportunities in professional development, say yes to small task requests like tours or birthday cards, and say yes to learning new things. The more you learn, the higher the quality of your work and interactions, and the better you can serve your students and work efficiently as part of a team.