Friday, August 25, 2017

Admission Practices' August Case Study on School Profiles & Data

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 the current NACAC’s Statement of Principles of Good Practices (SPGP). These cases are submitted anonymously by PCACAC members. All questions and allegations are treated as confidential; therefore, cases have been adapted, when necessary, to protect the identity of the professional seeking advice. If you have a question about a situation or SPGP, please contact a member of the AP Committee.

August Case:   The Director of Counseling at Prepared Institute, a regional magnet program, is meeting with the Director of Recruitment and  Director of Communication to discuss updating the school profile. Even though it is a counseling office publication with the primary audience being college admission offices, the Recruitment Office uses the profile to attract students and the Communications Office supplies it to the School Board and other interested groups. The counselor has run the numbers and plans to simply update the class statistics. However, in the meeting, the other Directors ask, “Can we drop out some ‘special groups’ of students from the averages-- test scores, grade distribution, college list, etc. As you know, we have some populations—athletes, international students, etc.-- here and do not think they represent our typical students.” At first, the counselor feels that not including all students might be disingenuous; but, upon further consideration, thinks that “finessing” the statistics might actually help future applicants to college as well as to recruit future families. The counselor is torn about what to do and has called the AP Committee to ask for advice.
Does the NACAC SPGP provide guidance in this situation?  

Discussion:  Over the past few years, the media reported on several colleges where the student profile had incorrect statistics—ranging from deflated admission rates to inflated test scores. But, the pressure to make a profile look better is not just directed at college admission offices; counseling offices and independent counselors might feel pressure to “finesse” their statistics for various reasons.
Luckily, as a professional organization, NACAC provides direction for such ethical quandaries. In this situation, there are two pertinent SPGP sections that can help the counselor determine how she might proceed. The more direct statement addresses test scores. According to SPGP Mandatory Practice III B 7, “All counseling members will report on all students within a distinct class (freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior) and subgroups, including non-native speakers, in the reporting of standardized test scores.”

Furthermore, Mandatory SPGP Mandatory Practice III B 1 states, “All counseling members agree that they will provide colleges and universities with a description of the school’s marking system, if available, that will provide some indication of grade distribution that may include the rank in class and/or grade point average.” Dropping select students from the profile may affect the rank in class and/or grade distribution (if reported) for a school.  

While this case relates to a school profile, NACAC’s SPGP provides similar guidance to post-secondary professionals, too.  According to NACAC’s SPGP Mandatory Practice II B 11, “All postsecondary members agree they will initially report on all first-year admitted or enrolled students, including subgroups in the reporting of test scores. If data on subgroup populations are also provided, clear explanations of who is included in the subgroup population will be made.” Furthermore, in the Interpretations Section, the SPGP expands, “a. Postsecondary members will furnish data describing the currently enrolled freshman class and will describe in published profiles all members of the enrolling freshman class; b. subgroups within the profile may be presented separately because of their unique character or special circumstances.”

Conclusion: So what can the counselor do? She could use the SPGP as a guiding document to discuss the issues with her colleagues. 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 counselor could contact the AP Committee to discuss the proposed situation 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 counselor by providing additional resources (for example, copies of the SPGP or in-office training) for the counselor to provide her colleagues.

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. 

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

Want to submit a case for consideration? 
Please e-mail the PCACAC AP Committee Chair at

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Submit Your College Fair/College Night By August 27th!

Exciting news!  We have posted our extensive Fall 2017 College Fair/College Night Schedule with member access at The final schedule will be posted August 28.  

Planning a fall college fair?  Let us advertise your college fair and help you maximize the turn-out of college representatives!  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 by clicking on the link here or from  Additionally, individuals who submit the form do not have to be the identified point of contact for fair registration.

The deadline to submit your information is Sunday, August 27. If you need assistance or have questions, please email me at the address below or contact PCACAC Executive Assistant, Rhonda Douthit, info@pcacac.org434-989-7557.

PCACAC membership is not required to submit your college fair information, 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.   We look forward to advertising your college fair!

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

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Have you ever wanted to use a scanner outside of a session?  Or greet people at registration?  Or hand out swag?

This September, you can have your chance to do one of these activities or help in other ways! 
If you are registered to attend the full conference (Thursday through Saturday) you are eligible to sign up. 

Click on here:  for more details and the registration link. You do not need to be from Boston or have any prior conference experience.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Our Thoughts Are With You...

Last week, our friends and colleagues at several of our member institutions, including The University of Virginia, dealt with a violent display of bigotry and hatred on campus and in the greater Charlottesville community. On behalf of PCACAC, we offer blessings to our colleagues at UVA and at other schools in the Charlottesville area.

As many of us prepare to welcome students back to campus and school, we are committed to ensuring a safe learning environment for all students. We remain committed to equity and access and condemn acts of hate that are in opposition to our core values.

The mission of PCACAC is to support and advance college admission professionals as they guide their institutions, students and families in an ethical manner.

To accomplish this mission, PCACAC:
  • Advocates for the rights of students in the admission process;
  • Develops, promotes and monitors the standards of professional behavior as set forth in the SPGP;
  • Encourages the increased participation of underrepresented and underserved populations in postsecondary education and the profession; and
  • Furthers the professional development of all school and college admission counselors.
We wish you the best for a successful and peaceful start of the school year and look forward to seeing many of you in Boston next month. 
With sincere and best wishes,
Robyn Lady

Jake Talmage

Anthony Ambrogi
Past President

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.