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MIDWest Conference 101!

Let’s start counting down the days! In just a few short weeks, we will all be together in person for the 2022 MIDWest ACAC Conference in Eagan, MN! The last time we all had the chance to be together was at the 2019 Iowa ACAC Conference at Prairie Meadows in Altoona. We made the best of things in 2020 with a virtual conference (thanks to our wonderful Past President, Tom Paulsen), and tried again in 2021 with a virtual MIDWest Conference (shout out to the excellent Wisconsin ACAC team for planning), but I know that I have really missed the in-person conference experience for the past two years. With all of the disruptions caused by the pandemic, we’ll have more first-time conference-goers than ever before, so as your current Iowa ACAC Conference Planning Chair, I wanted to share some thoughts and advice to help you make the most of your MIDWest ACAC experience! 

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What Does the Future Hold?

When I was in my undergraduate secondary education program, I had to take a methods class on wrestling. I had never wrestled or even watched a wrestling match (other than those ‘rasslin programs on TV). I asked my advisor, Dr. John Byrd, “Why do I have to take this class?  I have no interest  in wrestling.” His reply was very insightful. He said, “You never know when a job offer will include coaching wrestling.” Well, he was wrong. My first job did not require that I coach wrestling. My second job did! 

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Making the Connection

A number of years ago, I was very unsure about taking the next step to college. The director of my high school choir at the time was a Wartburg College graduate. He shared his incredible experience and encouraged me to visit. As an uncertain 17-year-old, I called to set up my visit and will never forget the kindness I received on the other end from the visit coordinator. I felt more confident about taking the next step. After my visit, I knew Wartburg was where I would go to college. I applied for a job in admissions during my junior year at Wartburg and developed many relationships that became influential in my career path. I had no idea how much that decision would impact my life. I served as a spiritcaller, Ambassador and eventually spent an entire summer working full-time in the admissions office. Still, when it came time for graduation, I wasn’t sure about the path I wanted to take. As I began looking for a job, it was a connection I had made at Wartburg that led me to Simpson College and a job as an admissions counselor. The people and the experience there solidified my love for higher education. When I had the chance to return to Wartburg Admissions, I knew recruiting for my alma mater was the right decision. Almost twenty years later, I find myself wondering where the years have gone!

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Admissions #10yearchallenge

Greetings from South Dakota! A recent trend on Facebook was the #10yearchallenge where you post a picture of yourself today alongside a picture of yourself from ten years ago…or maybe some could do 20 years ago or more. It’s a fun opportunity to take a few minutes to reminisce and reflect upon certain chapters in your life and think about where you’ve been, what you’ve done, what you’ve been able to experience, challenging times, good times, and so on and so forth.

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Back to School

I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting this summer as I prepare to leave my current position as an Admission Counselor at the University of Iowa. A little background: as an undergraduate, I worked in the Office of Admissions in two student positions and absolutely adored it. So much so that I began considering a year or two in admissions post-graduation. Driven by my desire to return to admissions and a feeling of uncertainty as I navigated student teaching, I accepted a temporary counselor position following graduation and a full-time position six months later. I knew my time as a counselor would either be short-term and followed by a return to teaching, or I’d decide to stay in higher education for a good portion of my career. A little over two and half years later, and I’ve made the difficult decision to return to the classroom.

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What's in a Day?

525,600 minutes. That’s how you measure a year. In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. If you are familiar with the musical Rent, sorry, that song will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day now. But maybe that’s OK…shouldn’t we all think about how every minute in our life counts for something, especially in this last year?

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The Supervisor/Supervisee Relationship

Our relationship with our supervisors is one of the most important relationships that we have in our career, but it times it can also feel the most complicated. As three admissions professionals who have been in the field for a while, here are some things that we have learned over the years that can help you establish a great relationship with your supervisor.

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Remember Who's Watching

As 2021 begins to unfold, the lessons of 2020 are still fresh in our minds. We know it’s important to be connected, not to take anything for granted, and to have flexibility. However, one reminder helps me find daily perspective about how to handle each situation that gets thrown our way.

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Professional Development During COVID-19

In light of everything happening in our society today, you might think that professional development has been put on the backburner, but it is actually quite the opposite. Each type of company, association, and higher education news website is trying so hard to provide guidance and assistance to all of us in higher education as we navigate these unprecedented times. While we have continued to stay busy, it is a different type of busy that might offer more flexibility in our daily schedules, allowing us to catch some of these webinars and professional development experiences.

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Generational Diversity

Last month I had the opportunity to attend the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) conference in San Diego, CA. The theme of the conference was “crossing borders and bridging communities”. There was one particular session I attended during my time at the conference that stuck out to me and it was a session about generational diversity.

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Finding Balance and Peace

The postsecondary search and application process is meant to be reserved as a time for reflection, growth, maturity, and self-discovery for our students. Unfortunately, many of our teenagers face unrealistic expectations and experience extreme stress, anxiety, and depression. Having open and honest dialogue with students about the battles has become a core part of school counseling and admissions/orientation/advising programs around the world. As our students face barriers, we as secondary and postsecondary leaders do everything we can to stand alongside them through the trenches. We offer support and guidance in times of need, and often shelter them from the pain they fear. But sometimes, we forget the burden that takes on us and our colleagues.

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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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Save the Date!

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

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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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Be an Avenue of Change

The first year of our Iowa ACAC Cares Campaign has been a success and we're topping it off with a FINAL collection drive at our FINAL college fair at NIACC in Mason City.

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What's Your Office Doing?

Now that admissions staff and students are back from winter break, many admissions offices are conducting their winter all-staff training. Although there are many similarities in how we all train and refresh staff on important topics, there’s a lot we can learn from each other about the best way to learn more about our campuses and improve in the work that we do to support students. To learn more about how different offices handle all-staff training, I spoke with Marcus Phillips from the University of Iowa, Tom Heiar from the University of Northern Iowa, and Drew Shradel from Cornell College.

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Oh, baby!

Having a baby, whether it’s your first or third, can be a very exciting, and stressful, time in your life. For me, I am anticipating my third, and final, pregnancy in mid-January 2019. While this pregnancy was planned, pregnancy in itself doesn’t always come with perfect timelines. I was fortunate that for my first two pregnancies, they both hit in what admissions professionals would call the golden time of year to have a kid…the month of May! Wahoo! However, kid number three didn’t get the memo, and while January isn’t the worst time to have a kid in our profession, I will say guilt was one of my first emotions.

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Happy New Year from Iowa ACAC!

We’re barely into 2019 and I’m already tired of the expression “New Year, New You.” According to U.S. News & World Report, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. Upon hearing this, my initial reaction was ”I wonder how realistic those resolutions were…”

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