Tips for Training New Staff Members

Our director always jokes that if you stay in admissions for long enough, it’s inevitable that at some point you’ll wind up in charge of training new team members. While some folks might not necessarily enjoy the training process, it has long been one of my favorite things about my job.

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ACU - Biggest Year Yet!

This year, we were so excited to host Admissions Counselor University (ACU) in person after a long year of virtual events. Last year, we had about 50 new admissions professionals join us virtually, but it just wasn’t the same. The best thing about ACU is the connection you make with other new professionals who are experiencing this newness at the same time. It is about the familiar faces that you will see during travel which makes walking into a college fair a little more fun. It is about team building activities. We were so excited to bring all of that back this year, and it was very apparent that everyone was excited!

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Welcome New Board Members!

Take a moment to meet our newest Board members and learn how being a part of Iowa ACAC has fulfilled their lives professionally and personally!

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Taking a Virtual Leap

This year’s LEAP Conference went virtual, but stayed true to its mission and purpose of empowering BIPOC, first-generation, and other historically marginalized high school students in the state of Iowa.

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How Well Do You Know Your Coworkers?

I’m sure we can all agree it’s been a weird year. Many of our offices have had to make adjustments that we never thought would be necessary, and we’ve all attended an excess of virtual events. But everything changed for people outside of the office as well.

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Believe it or not, I got to hit the road about a month ago and visit some high schools in Northwest Iowa. I always love going to that area of the state; it’s close to home (I grew up in Southwest Minnesota) and it reminds me to slow down. I felt a little rusty actually going into high schools and really talking to people (weird, I know) but it was so fun.

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Defining Leadership

Leadership. A word and a concept that we have all known and worked with, but what makes a person a leader? Is it a title? A position? Experience? It could be any of these, or it could be none of these. 

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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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A Message from Iowa ACAC Leadership

Iowa ACAC stands against all acts of hate and bias and condemns the Anti-Asian violence and hatred that has taken place this past week. Unfortunately, it’s only a glimpse into some of the hate crimes that have surfaced over the past year to the Asian community. Like all of you, we are angry and frustrated that this kind of racism continues.
As educators and admissions professionals, we must continue educating ourselves and others. There are many resources, but you can begin by visiting the following links:
It remains clear that there is so much work yet to be done to address the racism in our country. It takes all of us to make a difference and it starts with education.
Tara Winter, President
Jaclyn Tungesvik, President-Elect
Tom Paulsen, Past-President

Bending and Flexing for Advocacy

I had a professor in grad school who often reminded us that as school counselors, we need to “bend and flex.” The Government Relations Committee bent and flexed its way right into 2021, creating what has been touted--mostly by members of the committee--as the best Virtual Visit the Hill ever. We hope it is also the only Virtual Visit the Hill ever, but we’ve certainly exercised our creative thinking skills to learn what we can do when our usual practices are disrupted. In a year when it would have been easy to say, “Nah, maybe not this year,” Iowa ACAC and ISCA’s Visit the Hill delivered on its promise of learning and advocacy.

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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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What Do You Do with CRM?

In the last two years, I’ve had the honor of experiencing two incredibly transformative responsibilities:  being a first-time father and leading the implementation of Technolutions Slate CRM. While there is no “one right way” to be a parent or to build out a new database and information system, I was fortunate to have these roles at the same time. That overlap allowed the children’s book collection “What You Do Matters” by Kobi Yamada to serve as inspiration and fuel throughout the implementation process.

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Simple Steps to Assist First Gen Students

“Go to the FAFSA website and create your FSA ID. You will need to use your parent's 2019 tax returns which you can link to your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.  Once we receive your FAFSA, we can tell you how many loans and grants you qualify for based on your EFC. You might get selected for verification. You will be notified if you are selected, and additional documentation will need to be completed. Login to TritonPass and accept your financial aid package under the ‘Academic Profile’ tab. You will then be prompted to complete Entrance Counseling. We recommended only borrowing what you need, and suggest avoiding the unsubsidized loan if possible because that accrues interest while you are attending college. Do you have any questions? Great! Call us if you need help with anything.”

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Zooming into Spring Freshmen Recruitment

“Can everyone hear me?” “Nope, go ahead!” “You’re muted!” are just a few statements that have been uttered in the countless Zoom meetings we’ve all endured for almost a year.

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New Year. New FAFSA?

Now that 2020 is squarely in the rear-view mirror, what can we look forward to in the new year? A new FAFSA perhaps? No, not exactly, but we can expect major improvements in the not-too-distant future.

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Lessons Learned

If you are anything like me, you likely left work on Friday, March 13, 2020, expecting to return on Monday. When you ultimately did return to your office, perhaps you found a time-capsule of life “pre-pandemic” – calendar still on March, piles of papers on your desk, mystery food in your work fridge, etc.

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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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Changes of Scenery!

Mount Mercy University is thrilled to welcome Todd Coleman as their new Assistant Vice-President for Enrollment & Marketing and Sabrina Tapps-Fee as the Director of Undergraduate Admissions!

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Silver Linings Around Us

Last month, Tom Paulsen asked our members to share what they are thankful for this year. We know it’s been a tough year, but there is still a lot to be thankful for. Here are some things that our members are thankful for this year!

  • An office that knows how to pivot to create a successful virtual event!
  • I am thankful that despite the challenges of 2020, we have also gained some unexpected positives that will be a part of our "fabric" going forward: creating new virtual strategies to reach prospects without barriers of distance, cost and time; strengthening our need to collaborate and develop new skills; having new-found time in our homes with our loved ones to focus on what matters most; developing a renewed appreciation for the simple joys of life and being able to wear slippers all day long! Here's to the challenges that, while difficult, brought us some significant gifts! May 2021 offer hope, peace, joy and good health to you and yours!
  • Pets, Significant Others, "Non-Busy" Time at Home
  • We welcomed our first child in January 2020, right before COVID hit. She has been the constant ray of sunshine during these uncertain times.
  • Faith Family Friends Remote-work-ability Shelter Food Clothes Flexibility Innovation
  • The amazing connections via Zoom that have expanded my community. Also, the time to reflect on what is important in life. And what is important are our relationships. In the end that is all that matters.
  • A time to refocus on the things that matter.
  • Gift of time with my family.
  • Supportive coworkers, longtime friends, and the health of myself and my family!
  • I’m thankful for great leadership on our team that has supported our staff through the transition to working from home, and who have supported us in finding a work-life balance in this tricky time. I’m also thankful for a wonderful husband and our awesome dog! Working from home is so much better with a dog in the house.

Meet our Newest Board Member!

The Iowa ACAC Executive Board is excited to welcome a new member! Yuri Tilapi is the new co-chair for Inclusion, Access, and Success. We asked Yuri to share a little bit more about her background so that we can get to know our new exec board member.

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