Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Profile: Meet Annie Hilton

PCACAC has a new Executive Assistant! We sat down with Annie Hilton, to learn a little bit about our new EA. Spoilers: she's pretty awesome.

Give us some background! Where are you from, where did you grow up, a little info on your most recent job with The Covenant School, etc.  

I grew up in Orange County, Virginia not too far from where I live now.  Before the age of 6, I traveled quite a bit and lived overseas.  Alas, my memories are few.

Can you share anything about your own college advising experience? 

I didn't explore my options for college as much as I should have.  I applied to three different universities and was fortunate enough to be accepted to all three.  I didn't give my final decision much thought and just went with my first choice.  I'm pretty certain I would not have gone wrong with any of my options, but sometimes think I should have looked at the programs more carefully to balance these with my interests and strengths.  Regardless, my counselor was as helpful as possible, but I could have asked more questions and been a more deliberate in planning. 

What’s a special or hidden talent that you have? 

I love to paint and create art.  I hope to enroll in a stained glass class in the near future.

What did you think you wanted to be when you were 5 years old? 

I remember pretending to be a teacher when I played.  This is probably because my father was a teacher and administrator.  

What drew you to PCACAC? 

Great people, volunteers, and mission.  Members of PCACAC truly touch the future in positive ways.

What are you most looking forward to, in your new position with PCACAC? 

I look forward to completing the first year so that I can begin to work from experience and not always direction.  I believe that most positions, particularly those associated with an academic year or cycle, one will begin to accomplish tasks more efficiently after completely one cycle.  After completing a year in the Executive Assistant role, the basic learning curve will be complete, and I will begin to facilitate efforts beyond the basic responsibilities of the PCACAC Executive Assistant.  Also, I want to connect names and faces without hesitation.

Having now attended a PCACAC Conference, what was your favorite part? What did you like about the conference? 

 Using some slang acquired from my teenage daughter, the PCACAC "peeps" were definitely the best part of the conference.  It is inspirational to be around people passionate about their professions and volunteer efforts. These folks are quite accomplished.  It is worth repeating that the PCACAC people were my favorite part of the conference, and the 10-layer, Smith Island cake served by Liquid Assets was pretty incredible as a runner-up. 

What’s one thing we definitely have to know about you?

I love coffee!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Really? You Want to go there?

As part of the PCACAC AP Committee’s desire to proactively discuss ethics, we will be sending out monthly “case studies.” In these cases, we will offer a situation and discuss whether the issue is in compliance with NACAC’s Statement of Principles of Good Practices (SPGP). Thanks to Dale Bittinger, Assistant Vice Provost for Admissions and Orientation at UMBC (MD) and PCACAC AP Committee Vice-Chair, for this month’s case. If you have a question about a situation or SPGP, please contact a member of the AP Committee.

April Case: A student walks into her counselor’s office after attending an admitted student day at Myperfect College and is excited to share how much she enjoyed the program.  The counselor replies that this surprises her as she really thought Myperfect College was not as academically rigorous and the students did not grow as much personally as at the student’s other choice, Herfavorite College.  The counselor goes on to state that Herfavorite College invited her to fly out and visit the college this past year and she could see many of her students enrolling there.  The counselor adds that Myperfect College has had a number of changes in senior leadership over the past few years and that some of the students from their high school did not have a good experience while enrolled at Myperfect College. 

Is this compliant with NACAC’s SPGP?

Discussion:  According to NACAC’s SPGP Mandatory Practices I A. 2, “All Members agree they will not use disparaging comparisons of secondary or postsecondary institutions.” Furthermore, according to the interpretations section of the SPGP, “Members will refrain from publicly disseminating biased, unflattering and/or potentially inaccurate information about secondary or postsecondary institutions, their admission criteria and/or their curricular offerings.”

While many think of this section of the SPGP applying to college admission officers recruiting students, it should be noted that section I A addresses, “All members.” Therefore, school and non-school based counselors should also be following this ethical guideline. The questions to consider are, “Was this a disparaging comparison?” and “Was this publicly disseminating that information?”

Conclusion: As always, this is not as easy as it first seems. While the counselor may have had good intentions to help her student, her negative inferences (“surprises her as she really thought…not as academically rigorous and the students did not grow as much…”) about Myperfect College would be unethical. However, another statement (“number of leadership changes”) is factual and is not necessarily disparaging. Finally, the concern that some students from the high school did not have a good experience is in a gray area—it is factual but infers a negative that may or may not be applicable.  

The AP Committee might have a difficult time considering sanctions as the comments were not made in a public forum. This situation, though, would provide an opportunity for a member of the AP Committee to discuss the issues with the counselor and help her better understand NACAC’s SPGP.

Want to learn more about similar Ethical Situations? Attend the “So What’s Ethical? Current Case Studies in Admissions Ethics” at the PCACAC Conference on Monday, April 18.

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 in order to help the college work fairly with all students. 

Want to review previous case studies?
View all of the Admissions Practices Case Studies here.