Friday, June 24, 2016

Submit Your College Fair Info

Early Deadline for Preliminary Listing:  July 15
Deadline for Final Listing:  August 22

Planning a fall college fair?  Let us advertise your college fair and help you maximize the turn-out of college representatives!

PCACAC is pleased to announce that it is time again to submit YOUR College Fair/College Night information for inclusion in our seasonal recruitment activity listings.  College representatives remain eager to have this information as they finalize their fall travel around the anticipated College Fair/College Night Schedule for our region.  It's easy to submit your information via our online College Fair/College Night Participation Form.  Help us help you reach the largest potential audience for attendance at your College Fair/College Night.

PCACAC membership is not required to submit your college fair information (but you are highly encouraged to do so!).  However, accessing the College Fair/College Night Fall Schedule is a member benefit.  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 and click on Join or Renew.  

Additionally, individuals who submit the College Fair/College Night Participation Form do not have to be the identified point of contact for fair registration.  Once your information has been submitted, an automated message will be sent confirming your listing.

The deadline to submit your information is Monday, August 22, 2016. A preliminary schedule will be released to members on July 25, with a final list posted on August 25.  

If you need assistance or have questions, please email me at the address below or contact PCACAC Executive Assistant, Annie Hilten,, 434-989-7557.

We look forward to advertising your college fair!

James B. Massey, Jr.
PCACAC College Fair/College Night Committee Chair
Sr. Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions
University of Maryland
College Park, MD

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What if we offer Early Decision (ED) Students New Housing?

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 Jake Talmage, Director of College Counseling at St. Paul’s School (MD) and PCACAC AP Committee Chair, for this month’s case. If you have a question about a situation or SPGP, please contact a member of the AP Committee.

June Case:   Having just completed the admission cycle for the fall of 2016, the Dean of Admission at Aspiring College (AC) goes to meet with her new boss, the VP for Enrollment, who was recently promoted from the Dean of Students Office.  In this meeting, the new VP tells the Dean, “You had a great year—best class ever! But, I see you and your staff had to work exceptionally hard to make the class. I think we could make your life easier by getting more students through Early Decision. What do you think if we offered ED students a guarantee to live in our new Living and Learning Center?”  While this idea seems like it may help attract more students through ED, the Dean is unsure how to answer.

Is this idea compliant with NACAC’s SPGP? What should the Dean do?

Discussion:  According to SPGP II B 4, “All Postsecondary Members agree that they will not offer exclusive incentives that provide opportunities for students applying or admitted Early Decision that are not available to students admitted under other admission options.”  Furthermore, the SPGP Interpretations section states, “Examples of exclusive incentives include special dorms for ED admits, honors programs only for ED admits, full, need-based financial aid packages for ED admits only, special scholarships for ED admits only, any promise of an advantage in the admission process if student(s) convert from Regular Admission to Early Decision.”

Under the VP’s proposal, ED students would be offered the special incentive of guaranteed housing in a new residence hall. At first glance, this certainly seems like a clear “exclusive incentive.”  But, there are some issues that could make the situation fall into a gray area. There are many different types of institutions that are NACAC members and the context of any scenario becomes very important. Let’s explore some of the questions that might be considered:

-        How large is the new Living and Learning Center? Would non-ED enrolling freshmen be able to live in the housing? How many spots does the college predict would be available to non-ED?  The perspective of whether this situation was “exclusive” could be affected if the new center housed a significant number of students or was limited to a very select population.
-        Is the new Center truly a special housing situation? Or is it just a title of a new residence hall? Understanding how this new center might vary from other residence halls would help determine whether this was an incentive.
-        Would ED enrollees be required to live in housing or just guaranteed the opportunity? How would non-ED enrolling students be considered for the housing (ie, an additional application or something else)?  Again, understanding whether the ED students are truly getting a benefit is necessary.
-        How does the college normally assign freshman housing?  Is this guarantee to ED different than their overall process? There are many different ways colleges approach freshman housing. For example, some use date of deposit.  If this were the case, and there are other admission decisions (EA, rolling) occurring on a similar time-line, then the question about whether this option was just for ED or for all students deposited by a certain date would need to be a consideration. 
-        How would the college market this possibility?  An important concept of the SPGP is to protect the Ethics of the Profession while working with students. In this case, the messaging could affect whether an AP Committee felt the college was offering an exclusive incentive that pressured students in an un-Ethical way.

Conclusion: So what can the Dean do? Many people think of contacting the Admissions Practices Committee when they encounter a violation. However, the Committee’s purpose includes serving as an educational resource. The Dean could contact the AP Committee to discuss the proposed policy and possible SPGP issues. Such conversations, similar to complaints, are treated confidentially by the AP Committee.  Not only could the AP Committee be a sounding board for the issues, the Committee could support the Dean by providing additional resources (for example, copies of the SPGP or in-office training) for the Dean to provide her staff, including the new VP.

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.