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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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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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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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Visit the HIll

On Thursday, February 27, higher education professionals, school counselors, grad students, and high school and middle school students all came together for one event: Visit the Hill. Visit the Hill is an annual event hosted by Iowa ACAC’s Government Relations Committee. It is a time to gather and learn more about the various issues that students, educators, and educational institutions face and be informed on ways we can make a difference on these issues.

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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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Membership Renewals

With the Freddy Miranda Access Scholarship deadline approaching, it's a good time to remind everyone to renew those memberships, if need be.

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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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Counselor Caseload

Earlier this month, NACAC publicized data illustrating student-to-counselor ratios in high schools across the country. The interactive maps draw on data from the 2015-16 academic year, and illustrate how counselor caseloads vary from district to district. The data illustrates significant equity gaps within certain states.

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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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LEAPing to Success!

The Iowa ACAC Inclusion, Access, and Success committee chaired by Juana Hollingsworth and Jesus Lizarraga-Estrada recently hosted another successful L.E.A.P Conference (Leading, Excelling, Academically and Professionally). The leadership conference is for underrepresented high school students in the state of Iowa. The conference this year was hosted at the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Ankeny Campus on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Last year's conference was hosted in Cedar Rapids at Mount Mercy University.

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Introducing the Rural and Small Town Special Interest Group

This sounds like a great opportunity for secondary and postsecondary professionals in Iowa - ANYONE can join! You don't have to be an Iowa Image result for rural iowaACAC or NACAC member (but we'd sure love to have you!)

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Does it Spark Joy?

Whether you’re new to the team or an admissions lifer, you probably have an excess of items in your office that you no longer need. Photo: BSGStudio

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School Counselor Self-Care

As we sit in the middle of winter, many of us are probably feeling the “blues.” Students, teachers, and parents are getting restless as we await Photo: BSGStudiowarmer weather and the end of the school year, and we school counselors are busy trying to get our seniors to the end of the year and preparing for registration for 2019-2020.

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New Year’s Resolution: Make a Difference

Did you know only 8% of people actually keep their New Year’s resolution? There are many reasons people can’t stick to their resolutions, from setting too many of them to getting derailed by small failures. A fantastic resolution you could keep this year is to attend Visit the Hill and make a difference!

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