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Return to Learn: The Teacher Perspective

As school districts across the country prepare for the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year, we felt that it was important to hear from teachers about their thoughts and fears about their districts’ return to learn plans. This is a stressful time for everyone, as we learn to navigate the changes that COVID-19 has brought. Hearing teachers’ perspectives is helpful for us as admission professionals as we reflect on the ways in which our own work will change this upcoming fall.

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Developing Students into Leaders & Beyond

This past year I had the opportunity to co-advise the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) Student Admissions Ambassadors (SAA), an all volunteer group that gives campus tours, assists with student panels and much more. I will say it is a bit different to be on the "other side," as I was a member of this exact group during my time as an undergrad at UNI.

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Virtual Vision 2020 Recap

Dr. Bill Withers, faculty emeritus at Wartburg College, got our first ever virtual Iowa ACAC conference off to a great start! He discussed that in recent years many areas have been going through disruptions (or accelerated changes), and these have only been hastened by COVID-19 – media, health care, and K-16 education.

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Looking Back & to the Future: Government Relations

Over the past three years I have had the opportunity to lead our Government Relations Committee, while serving as Government Relations Chair for Iowa ACAC. Through this experience, we have successfully put on 2½ Visit the Hill events for high school students, counselors, admission professionals, and more (½  because the first year I took over there was a crazy ice/snow storm where we probably should have canceled the event, but didn’t, and only a few people ventured out to attend!). These events have had really awesome sessions, where hundreds of people have been able to learn more about issues that directly impact them. I will always be grateful and appreciative for the Government Relations committee members. They are the real reason why these events have been so successful and it has been a joy to work alongside them!

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COVID-19 from the High School Student Perspective

Last month, we reflected on how COVID-19 is impacting admission professionals, especially with the adjustment to virtual recruitment and working from home. This month, we wanted to hear from current high school students about their experiences during the pandemic, including online courses and a virtual college search process. Three students participated in the interview via email. Alex and Marta are high school juniors from Iowa City West High School; they are at the beginning of their college search process. Brooke is a senior from Glenbrook North High School in Illinois who plans to attend the University of Iowa. Thank you to all three of them for answering our questions!

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Two Sides of the Same Student Coin

Professional school counselors and college admissions counselors can work together to help students in innumerable ways through the college decision process. Working as partners, they can call upon the skills and expertise of each to provide the best information and most satisfying college search process for students. As a former professional school counselor, now college admissions counselor, I see many ways the two groups can work together for students.

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Life in the Home Office

The world has changed so much since our last edition of Scenes. Last month, I had drafted an article around the first of March about staying healthy during spring travel. The article including some tips about avoiding the flu, and just barely touched on COVID-19. By the timeAdmissions team videoconference we got ready to publish Scenes in the middle of the month, most of us were working from home, classes were transitioning to a virtual format, and students were moving out of the residence halls. Things certainly changed fast!

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What Does Out of Pocket Really Mean?

We’re recruiters. Our titles may differ, but our jobs have the same goal: to recruit students to our College/University. Personally, I was offended when someone first told me this with such a blatant disregard for my personal style of work. I don’t like to think of myself as a “salesperson” but at the end of the day we are working to “sell” our school to people.

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What's New in Higher Education & Admissions?

The University of California system is facing a lawsuit unless they eliminate their ACT or SAT requirement for admission. Back in October, the University of California was threatened with a lawsuit unless it drops its standardized test requirement. Lawyers representing the Compton Unified School district, college-access organizations, civil-rights groups, and students sent a letter to the UC system’s Board of Regents, stating that the ACT/SAT requirement violates civil rights laws in the state of California. The argument is that well-qualified students are being discriminated against, particularly underrepresented minority students, students whose first language is not English, students who have disabilities, and students from a lower socioeconomic status. If the UC system decides to drop the test requirement, many other institutions may choose to do the same, with massive impacts on ACT and the College Board. Check out the Chronicle of Higher Education for more information.

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Communicating with High School Students

Whether you are a high school counselor or an admissions counselor, you have probably all been scratching your heads trying to figure out the best way to disseminate information to high school students. As a school counselor, I find myself counting on both hands the number of times I have to repeat myself or refer students to the same resource to find information. We have asked students many times at Linn-Mar what the best way is to get information out to them (see table below). You can see that text messaging ranks highest with email and Twitter following closely behind. Below is a list of 5 resources that we have found helpful when communicating with students.

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Resolutions Out, VTH Goals In!

This year don't set resolutions, set goals instead and make a difference.

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Holiday Celebrations at UNI

At the UNI Office of Admissions, we love parties, games, decorations...but mostly food. We potluck any chance we can get! But our holiday fun doesn't just stay in our office. Here are some of the fun ways that the UNI Office of Admissions likes to celebrate various holidays.

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Perspectives on a First Travel Season

Traveling was one of the biggest things that attracted me to the Admissions world. I never was one who liked staying in one place over a long period of time. I always knew there was plenty of uncharted territory waiting to be explored and I found ways to do just that. 

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Important President's Update

As many of you are aware, a number of important issues were voted upon recently at NACAC’s 75th Annual Conference in Louisville. Following the conference, NACAC President Jayne Fonash provided an update to all members:

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Save the Date!

The 2020 NACAC National Conference is September 24-26, 2020...and it's in our backyard! 

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Recruiting as a Millennial

As we know, a millennial (Gen Y) is anyone born between 1981-1996, while our newest generation the "Gen Z’s" are classified as anyone born in 1997 and onward. Now, for a while I detested being categorized as a millennial – mostly because my grandparents and other people of older generations that were in my life (and we’ve probably all heard these statements or maybe it was just me, growing up in a small farming, conservative community in Minnesota) would often say, “Oh those millennials, they don’t know how to work.” Or, “We’re in trouble with these kids.” And so on and so on. I often thought to myself, that is not me at all. Now, at times, I find myself saying or thinking those exact same things (or worse) about the Gen Z’s. But how is that fair? What are we saying about the people that raised us and even now ourselves (those of us that are parents/guardians)?

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The Morale Captains

One of the most popular student organizations for college students on many of our campuses is Dance Marathon, an organization where motivated, enthusiastic, and generous college students raise money throughout the year for pediatric cancer patients. Dance Marathon’s Big Event, held on high school and college campuses around the country, consists of participants dancing for 12 or 24 hours straight, ending in a “big reveal” of how much money has been raised throughout the past year. This is a truly incredible organization, and there are a lot of things that we as admission professionals can learn from these dedicated, energized, and enthusiastic students.

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C2C: What to Expect

Colleges to Counselors (C2C) is a more recent addition to the Iowa ACAC event lineup, and one that we are so excited about! We kicked off this event in 2018 at Drake University and had a wonderful time. For the second year, we will be hosting C2C in September. This year, it will be at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, on Thursday, September 26. 

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Iowa ACAC Spring Conference Recap

We hope those of you who attended the 2019 Iowa ACAC Spring Conference on May 19 and 20 found the conference to be beneficial and fun! 
Over 175 admissions and school counseling professionals attended the conference this year at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa. Twenty-three sessions and roundtables were offered for individuals to attend and grow in our profession.
A survey was sent to all attendees regarding the conference. If you haven’t already, please complete the survey or email the Conference Planning Committee with your feedback. We’d love to know what you thought about the location, the new two-day time frame, and the sessions and roundtables that you were able to attend. Your feedback will help us make the next conference even better.
**A note from the Iowa ACAC Executive Board: Special thanks to Conference Planning Committee Chair Mallory Luensmann and Conference Planning Committee members Jenny Connolly, Katie Wyman, Megan Grove, Bailey Camenisch, Erin Gabriel, Sabrina Tapps-Fee, Jaclyn Tungesvik, Craig Juilfs, Autumn Luce, Eric Sickler, Susan Dickinson, and Navya Mannengi for all your work in planning the conference!

So Now What Happens?

I have a co-worker who enjoys saying “So, now what happens?” at times when it is crystal clear what is about to happen. (My kind of humor). This expression took on new meaning to me recently, as I found myself officially passing the gavel to Tom Paulsen of The University of Iowa. In the blink of an eye, I was no longer the President of Iowa ACAC. This marked the first time I seriously asked myself, “So, now what happens?”

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