Monday, March 30, 2015

What's Trending?

Don’t have time to keep up with the ever-changing world of college admissions? The Current Trends and Future Issues committee is here to help! Visit our committee’s page on to stay up-to-date with all the news from the profession. We update our library of articles and resources several times a year. Here are a few recent articles:

  • 10 Admissions Trends for 2015: Nothing in admissions moves at the speed of revolution. But we still expect to see the process evolving, with long-term trends intensifying. Here are the ten trends that the writers at Story2 expect to dominate the coming year. 
  • In late December, the College Board writers released the most comprehensive problem set to date drawn from the new SAT and PSAT, providing some “flesh and bones” to the test specifications released last April. The level of difficulty and sophistication of numerous test items was surprising. If this practice set is an accurate reflection of the new test in development, it will be hardest SAT we've ever seen, and significantly harder than the ACT.
  • “While it is true that, on average, the more years of schooling one completes, the more skills one acquires, this report suggests that far too many are graduating high school and completing post secondary educational programs without receiving adequate skills,” writes Irwin Kirsch, Director of ETS’s Center for Global Assessment, in the report’s preface. “If we expect to have a better educated population and a more competitive workforce, policymakers and other stakeholders will need to shift the conversation from one of educational attainment to one that acknowledges the growing importance of skills."
The authors report that average scores for U.S. millennials were lower than in many other countries and ranked at the bottom in numeracy and PS-TRE. More worrisome is the fact that the youngest segment of the U.S. millennial cohort (16- to 24-year-olds), who could be the labor force for the next 50 years, also ranked last in numeracy and among the bottom countries in PS-TRE.

If you have something you’d like to contribute, please send it to David Hamilton, CTFI chair, at

50 for 50: Kellyn Fleming

Kellyn Fleming
Senior Assistant Director of Admissions
Randolph-Macon College (VA)

How long have you been in admissions/college counseling?
I have been in Admissions for 5 years at R-MC.
How did you get started in college counseling/admissions?
Unlike many people in this profession, I never worked in admissions as a student but it was always a position I was aware of and became interested in as a student. When I graduated I knew I wanted to be in education in some capacity, but not necessarily teaching. Working in Admissions allows me the chance to still get to work with students but not in a classroom setting. It seemed to be the perfect fit!
What's your favorite admissions/counseling memory?
In such a fun and rewarding profession it is hard to pick just one. From getting to help students make one of their first big decisions, to then getting to see those same students graduating from your institution four years later bring more prepared for life than ever, is one of my favorite memories that I get to relive year after year and makes me so proud!
Aside from that, a lot of my fondest memories revolve around the travel opportunities I have been able to take advantage of. One in particular was my first NACAC conference in Denver, CO. I had never been to Colorado before, so that in itself was awesome, but also getting to experience the “big picture” of what we do and having my tiny little bubble of admissions popped has forever enriched me! It is so awesome to be part of this “small world” of admissions and experience it on so many levels.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue membership in PCACAC and/or NACAC?
 Definitely get involved! After going to my first PCACAC conference, I quickly wanted to get involved and am into my second year on a committee for PCACAC and it was one of the best decisions! Through involvement you not only get to build fantastic relationships with colleagues within your profession but they also get to know you and that helps to grow your connections and the possibilities within college admissions counseling. I have met so many wonderful and positive people since getting involved, and I hope to get even more involved in the future.
If not working in admissions/college counseling, what else could you see yourself pursuing?
A baker/wedding planner for sure!
What's one thing that most people don't know about you?
I was Miss Majorette of Virginia back in the 90’s.
What's a current trend or future issue you're passionate about right now? And why?
Something that concerns me is the financial aid opportunities and the growing amount of student debt. It’s important as admissions counselors to educate our families the best we can what their options are and how we can help them but, in particular, working for an institution that provides a liberal arts education, we try to find that balance between cost and the value of a liberal arts education. It’s not something that will be going away any time soon but hopefully by helping our families see the big picture we can help them out as best we can.

*** To Celebrate Potomac Chesapeake's 50th Conference Anniversary, we're highlighting some of our current members. Each week until the conference at The Homestead in Spring 2015, a new member will be posted. Interested in participating? Email Aundra Weissert at to get started.***

Friday, March 13, 2015

50 for 50: Olander Fleming

Olander Fleming
Assistant Director of Admissions for 
Emerging Populations 
Longwood University (VA)

How long have you been in admissions/college counseling? 

I’m in my 5th year working in admissions.

How did you get started in college counseling/admissions? 

Being an admissions counselor wasn't even on my radar as a potential job after I graduated.  A friend from college called me a few weeks after graduation and said his father (then Dean of Admissions at Longwood) was looking for a bi-lingual recruiter who didn't mind traveling out-of-state.  I graduated with a degree in Spanish from Hampden-Sydney College and knew I wanted to use the language in my profession, as long as it wasn't teaching, so I applied.  A few weeks later I started as the Out-of-State counselor, covering Maryland to Connecticut. 

What's your favorite admissions/counseling memory? 

Favorite memory has to be during an Accepted Student Open House a few years ago.  Rewind a couple months before the program to around mid-January when we do the “fun” phone-a-thons encouraging students to apply.  I called an individual who had a profile which was clearly admissible to Longwood to encourage her to apply as it was the last document we needed to make a decision.  Fast forward back to the Open House, her mother approached me to thank me for the call to her daughter.  The student was suffering from a variety of health issues her senior year and with each set-back, saw her dream of attending college slowly fade away.  My phone call encouraging her to apply brightened her day and gave her a new hope for her future.  I was glad she approached me as it helped show me there are some things in admissions we sometimes don’t care to do and aren't as motivated to complete but if we give it a 100%, it could mean the world to a student.

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue leadership in PCACAC and/or NACAC? 

If you have a passion or consider yourself an “expert” or “the best” on that subject, seek ways you can participate in regional or national leadership to offer your expertise.  If you aren't sure where to begin, approach someone who holds a leadership position and ask them about their journey to where they are at now.  Networking is key if you would like to advance yourself.

If not working in admissions/college counseling, what else could you see yourself pursuing?

One of my minors was in International Affairs and as a final project I researched and presented on the disappearance of the Afro-Argentine in Argentina.  If you've ever been to the country, you’ll notice it isn't a very diverse country when it comes to skin color.  What I found that while the color of their skin was more European, some people had physical features more similar to those of African descent.  There isn't much published information available on the subject so if not working in admissions, I could see myself in Argentina conducting more research on the Afro-Argentine. 

What's one thing that most people don't know about you? 

I love to collect baseballs from stadiums, museums, theme parks and cities I visit as I travel.  I've been doing so since high school and have them displayed in my house. 

What's a current trend or future issue you're passionate about right now? And why?

 I’m very interested in providing information in Spanish to Hispanic families who need it.  The parents are a very tricky group to present to as some speak Spanish, others don’t. Some never attended college, others did but in another country.  A small percentage is undocumented or under DACA status. No matter what their background is, the Hispanic population is growing and consists of a large number of individuals who don’t know much about the higher education system here.  There aren't many resources available in Spanish that cover the college search process and financial aid.  I’m fortunate to work for a university which supports my passion and allows me to provide information through presentations in Spanish in the Virginia/DC/MD area.

*** To Celebrate Potomac Chesapeake's 50th Conference Anniversary, we're highlighting some of our current members. Each week until the conference at The Homestead in Spring 2015, a new member will be posted. Interested in participating? Email Aundra Weissert at to get started.***

Friday, March 6, 2015

PCACAC-on-the-Hill Annapolis

Dear Colleague,
Exciting news! PCACAC-on-the-Hill Annapolis is scheduled for Wednesday, March 18, 2015. As the Government Relations Committee finishes up the final details, I wanted to extend you all an invitation to participate in this exciting day we have planned. Acting as the voice for students who have none, we hope you will join us to speak on behalf of students across Maryland to ensure equal access and success to post-secondary options. You will have the chance to meet directly with Maryland lawmakers and their staffers and advocate for the rights of students in the college admission process. We will be set up in a delegation room, and legislators and their staffers will have the opportunity to engage with members of PCACAC to discuss strategies to best ensure that high schoolers have the resources they need to make informed decisions about their collegiate choice.  Lunch will also be provided to legislators and their staffers. Please feel free to invite current high schoolers who are going through the admissions process or college students who had a positive college counseling experience.
As a non-profit, volunteer organization, PCACAC depends largely on its volunteers.  If you would like to help out with this event, please email me at by Tuesday, March 10.
Event Details:
When:  Wednesday, March 18, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Where:   Lowe and Taylor House of Delegates Office Building, Delegation Room 142
We hope to see you there!
Samuel T. Shoge
PCACAC Government Relations Chair
Washington College (MD)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

PCACAC Statement on Sweet Briar College

Dear PCACAC Members,
It was with great surprise and sadness that I learned along with most of you Tuesday of Sweet Briar College’s plans to close at the end of the spring semester. While we all know there are institutions throughout the country with financial challenges, to learn of a venerable institution in our own region closing its doors is heartbreaking.
Sweet Briar has announced teach-out partnerships and expedited transfer plans with four Virginia colleges – Hollins University, Mary Baldwin College, Lynchburg College, and Randolph College. Additional members of the Women’s College Coalition in other areas of the country have started to announce their own offers of expedited transfer admission and advising for current Sweet Briar students. Sweet Briar Admissions has also offered to work with admitted students for fall 2015 if they need help with applications to other schools. You can follow Sweet Briar’s homepage at for updates on transfer arrangements.
PCACAC urges all of our postsecondary member institutions to be supportive of, and flexible with, current Sweet Briar students who will need to evaluate their transfer options over the next few months.  While this announcement comes two months before May 1, there are also admitted students for the fall 2015 freshman class who must now reevaluate their options or apply to additional schools. Any efforts our members can make to be flexible with application processing and deadlines for students newly considering their institutions as a result of Sweet Briar’s announcement are encouraged.
We are thinking of all the current students, alumnae, faculty and staff – especially our colleagues in Sweet Briar’s Admissions Office – at this difficult time.
Kelly Farmer
Director of Freshman Admissions
Stevenson University
President, Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling