"May 1 is so ingrained in me, I can’t imagine a world without it."

No, I’m not talking about the tradition of setting May baskets on porches and doorsteps and then running away. Nor am I talking about a distress signal used in emergency situations. I’m referring to the Statement of Principles of Good Practice: NACAC’s Code of Ethics and Professional Practices. You may know it by the acronym SPGP.

When I entered the arena of higher education some thirty years ago, one of the first things I learned was the importance of May 1, the National Candidates Reply Date. May 1 is so ingrained in me, I can’t imagine a world without it. In very simple terms--institutions cannot pressure students to submit applications or enrollment deposits prior to established deadlines (May 1).

The SPGP is divided into four sections—The Ethical Core of College Admission, The Responsible Practice of College Admission, a Glossary that focuses on Definitions and a section outlining the National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC’s) Education, Monitoring, and Compliance procedures.

Allow me to share several quotes from the Preamble of the SPGP:
“Postsecondary education has the power to transform an individual’s life…Our work is guided by principles of honesty and integrity…Promoting ethical admission practices has been the cornerstone of NACAC since our founding…”

May 1 is formally known as the National Candidates Reply Date.
“Colleges must permit first-year candidates for fall admission to choose among offers of admission and institutional financial aid and scholarships until May 1. (Binding Early Decision plans and recipients of athletic scholarships are recognized exceptions.)”

 “The SPGP: NACAC’s Code of Ethics and Professional Practices is the conscience of our profession. This document guides our actions in the face of current and emerging pressures.”
My commentary is not meant to be a lecture; on the contrary, I’m sure I am preaching to the choir. Given the current climate, where our institutions are more tuition-driven than ever, where budgets are finite, enrollment goals are ambitious, and “bottom lines” are critical, let us not forget why we do what we do:

“Our profession strives to ensure that the students we serve and all of our colleagues are valued and supported.”