Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Letter from the Chief Delegate: Mike Carter

Letter from the Chief Delegate,

I want to thank all of the members of the PCACAC Delegation for their service, wisdom and thoughtful contributions to this year’s NACAC National Assembly.

2014 PCACAC Delegates


High School Delegates:

Barbara Conner, Foxcroft School (VA)

Jenifer Evans, Broadneck High School (MD)

Heather Jeter, The Steward School (VA)

Robyn Lady, Chantilly High School (VA)

Scott Mayer, St. Christopher’s School (VA)

Kathleen Martin, Wilmington Friends School (DE)

Chris Miller, Glenelg Country School (MD)


College Delegates:

Karen Felton, George Washington University (DC)

Lou Hirsh, University of Delaware (DE) (retired)

James Pennix, Radford University (VA)

Sam Shoge, Washington College (MD)


Executive Committee Delegates:

Mike Oligmueller, The Potomac School, (VA)

Kelly Farmer, Stevenson University (MD)

Mike Carter, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School (VA)


Alternate Delegates:

Jayne Fonash, Academy of Science, Loudoun County Public Schools, (VA)

Aundra Weissert, Washington College (MD)

Matt Boyce, George Mason University (VA)


Our Delegates represented PCACAC in fine fashion at the 2014 NACAC Assembly.  As we discussed in our caucus, NACAC’s Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP) is the standard for our profession, but is also very much a “living document” that needs to grow as our profession grows.  Much of the hard and necessary work of the delegates in assembly is to vote on amendments to the SPGP to ensure the responsible growth of our standards. 
This year PCACAC Delegates worked on several key issues.  We continued to hone the language passed in the 2013 Assembly involving international agents to further clarify a resolution enforcing accountability, transparency and integrity in the use of international agents in college admissions.  Similarly, the delegates voted to strengthen language regarding institutionally-affiliated financial aid and scholarship offers.  The third major issue tackled in the assembly was particularly rewarding for PCACAC and dealt with safeguarding students and families in wait-list situations.  It was especially gratifying to complete the language on this issue, as the original motion for this change was initiated by our very own Jake Talmage, Director of College Counseling, St. Paul’s School for Boys, (MD), current PCACAC Secretary and Executive Committee member when he was a delegate in the 2011 Assembly.  Jake’s motion was to protect students offered admission through the wait-list by ensuring that there was an appropriate amount of time for a student and her/his family to consider such an offer.  Ultimately, the assembly voted to mandate that a student be given a minimum of 72 hours to decide on whether to accept a position off of a wait-list.  This year, the NACAC Admissions Practices Committee, (which includes PCACAC member and delegate, Lou Hirsh), further amended “Jake’s bill” to close some loopholes, and strengthened the standard to read “allow students a reasonable amount of time (at least 72 hours or May 1, whichever is later) to respond to an offer of admission from that institution’s wait list and gain admission to that institution’s incoming class.  This offer of admission should be a written or electronic communication to the student.  Postsecondary institutions should also strive to fully inform wait list students of their financial aid and housing opportunities, if different from their normal policies.  Postsecondary institutions should not require a commitment from a student until the financial aid award and housing options, if any, have been provided.”  The passage of this on Saturday September 20th, (which became effective immediately) is a tremendous example of how NACAC, PCACAC and counseling professionals like Jake Talmage, work tirelessly to serve and support our students and their families.  Thanks Jake!
The 2014 Assembly also witnessed one of our own, Sue Rexford, Director of College Counseling, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (MD) run for the office of NACAC President-Elect.  Sue ran a spirited and energetic campaign, attending a year’s worth of NACAC Board events, meetings, NACAC’s Leadership Development Institute, and a myriad of pre-conference and conference sessions, “meet and greets” and “speed-dating” interviews.  She epitomizes the best of Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling and we were so proud to have her represent our region as a candidate for President-Elect.  While the election did not have the results that we had hoped for, it was nevertheless a wonderful opportunity to highlight Sue’s leadership.
The delegates also had the opportunity to elect three new members of the NACAC Board.  One of those elected was Amy Jarich, former PCACAC Member and PCACAC Technology Chair, who is currently the Director of Admission at the University of California- Berkeley.  Congratulations to Amy!
The hard work of the PCACAC Delegates in the NACAC Assembly is a testament to the strength of our association and reflects tremendously on the ethics of our profession.
Thanks for your faithful service,
Mike Carter
PCACAC Chief Delegate

The Washington Post: The people behind college matchmaking: School counselors and admission officers

Article published by The Washington Post highlighting the NACAC 2014 conference featuring PCACAC members.
“It’s not our job to ‘get everyone in.’ It’s our job to craft the right match. At the end of the day, I want to have credibility in matching kids to the right places.

Robyn Lady, Director of Student Services at Chantilly HS 
One key message, Wolfe said, was “to help counselors see that counselor and teacher recommendations should complement each other.” Sometimes, he said, they overlap too much. That’s especially true for teachers who are prone to rehashing the extracurricular activities of students instead of writing about how they excel in the classroom.
Timothy Wolfe, Interim Associate Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admission at William & Mary College

To read the full article, click here.

50 for 50: Anthony Ambrogi


Anthony Ambrogi
Director of Admissions and Enrollment Research
Randolph-Macon College (VA)
How long have you been in your current position at Randolph Macon? How long have you been there total?
I’ve been Director of Admissions and Enrollment Research for 8 years (since 2006). I’ve been at R-MC for 13 years (since 2001).
How did you get started in college counseling/admissions?
Like many people in this profession, I just sort of fell into it. I worked at my high school in Richmond before coming to R-MC, and I spent a year as a fill-in college counselor until a permanent replacement could be hired. That was my first introduction to the profession, and I was hooked. It also introduced me to other counselors and college admissions reps, and the more I talked with them, the more interesting it seemed. And then, there was a little bit of luck involved; when I started looking for a new job, Randolph-Macon was hiring. It was the right kind of college for me and near where I lived, so things just worked out.
What's your favorite admissions memory?
In one of my first years at R-MC, I was working with a student from northern Virginia who narrowed down her choice to us and another Virginia college. She was completely torn, and during the week before May 1, we traded emails, phone calls, and chat messages back and forth as she tried to make up her mind. We had a lot of good conversations about what she wanted and which college might be the best fit. She ended up choosing the other college, but I felt like I really helped and made a difference for her. (There’s also the NACAC New Orleans conference with my staff, but those are stories for another day!)
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue leadership in PCACAC and/or NACAC?
Don’t be afraid to step up. I think it can be intimidating sometimes, especially when they see people with decades of experience in leadership roles, but we all had to start somewhere. One of the best parts of our organization is that we are so welcoming to new people and so open helping members grow into leadership positions. So if you want it, go for it!
If not working in admissions, what else could you see yourself pursuing? 
I was a high school teacher before coming the admissions world, and I always enjoyed that. In fact, I teach a history class at R-MC every fall – it’s fun for me and helps me stay in touch with the student body. Besides, I’m too old to play professional baseball anymore.
What's one thing that most people don't know about you?
I was on Jeopardy. I came in second, but I got a photo of me with Alex Trebek and a free pen…so that’s something.
What's a current trend or future issue you're passionate about right now? And why?
What an appropriate question for the outgoing Current Trends/Future Issues committee chair! One big concern for everyone involved in college admissions is financial aid. There’s no good solution to the inequity and the rising college debt among students, but PCACAC members can help with educating our students and families about what aid is available, how the process works, and how it will affect the student beyond graduation. So many families – and even some of us in college admissions – simply don’t know how financial aid works, and we can help bridge that knowledge gap.