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Staying fit, healthy, and active, while traveling for work, is always difficult. As we kick off spring travel season, here are some quick tips to help you stay healthy while on the road. 

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Our Iowa ACAC blog series "Things I Wish You Knew" focuses on survey responses received from admissions counselors, school counselors, upper level admissions staff, recent college admits and their parents to offer a new perspective into their lives, which will hopefully impact the way you interact with these individuals. Watch for a survey in the future in your Inbox!

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Visiting universities, searching their websites, and meeting faculty, staff, and students are all very important steps in the college decision process. When proceeding with these steps, it is important for prospective students and their families to optimize the time they have on each campus.
One way to do that, is to ask questions to help make the decision easier! Here are 5 questions that each student should ask as they go through the big college decision process:

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As we are all very familiar, during the spring we often see two different types of students wanting to visit campus:  admitted students making their college decisions and prospective juniors starting to think about college. This can be a confusing time for many, not knowing which visits are offered for whom, which would be the best fit, and, of course, the May 1 college decision deadline swiftly approaching.

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The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), has been a huge help to the immigrant population that arrived here as children. After the entire population was placed on a roller-coaster of having DACA rescinded and reinstated, we are not yet sure what the future holds. As a recipient myself, and undocumented before this, I was always afraid of disclosing my immigration status. Although DACA recipients cannot apply for any federal aid, there are many ways that institutions can offer help. Here is what we recommend for DACA recipients:

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School counselors are absolutely essential in high schools across the state. In many school districts, school counselors are responsible for scheduling students’ classes, motivating students who are struggling, providing academic success resources, responding to social-emotional concerns, assisting students in crisis, teaching college and career prep classes, organizing  admission visits, helping students with ACT prep and college applications, answering questions about financial aid, and generally keeping a school and its students in motion.  

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How?  With a FREE one-year High School Memberships to school counselors who are not currently Iowa ACAC members.

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There has been a lot of attention on helping first generation students navigate the college search process, and rightfully so! There is confusion for most high school juniors and seniors, let alone those who haven’t had anyone in their family navigate the process before. So let’s start there. When we talk about first generation students, we are referring to students whose parents have not obtained their four-year college degree. Here is what we recommend when working with this student population:

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“As soon as any man says of the affairs of the State "What does it matter to me?" the State may be given up for lost.” These things matter, not only to individuals invested in education, but as a citizenry as a whole.”                                                                                               Jean-Jaques Rouseau

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Presentations are something that we’re all familiar with. Whether you are watching one or giving it, chances are you know what works and what doesn’t. However, in case you don’t know what else to improve on as a presenter, here are three tips to help ensure you are giving an amazing presentation:

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Discount rate, net price, average indebtedness, college rankings, early decision, highly selective, selective, open admission, AP credits, dual credit, enrollment fees, deposits, graduation rates, completion rates, we’re No. 1, they’re No.1 and the list goes on and on!  Are you confused yet?

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In the upcoming months, the Iowa ACAC blog will feature a three-part series titled "Things I Wish You Knew."  This series will focus on survey responses received from admissions counselors, school counselors, upper level admissions staff, recent college admits and their parents to offer a new perspective into their lives, which will hopefully impact the way you interact with these individuals.  Watch for a survey from me in the future in your Inbox!

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Life in admissions moves fast from September–November, then we take time to focus on family and friends (and hopefully a little less on work) in December, and January brings another new year and another opportunity to work on those “resolutions.” The truth is, that despite our best intentions, sometimes we forget, or run out of time, to focus on self-improvement. Practicing mindfulness is an easy way to focus on ourselves during those hectic times.  

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Sometimes it is difficult to put into words how thankful you are for the people, experiences, and things in your life. It is easy to say “thank you,” but those words have so much more impact when supported with specifics. Thank you to all of our readers and browsers, but also to those who took a minute out of their day to spread their appreciation:

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Do you have fellow Iowa ACAC members close to your office from another college?  Looking to start a holiday tradition?  Why re-invent the wheel; just follow in the footsteps of the Kirkwood Community College Eagles and the Mount Mercy University Mustangs.  Each December they compete for the “StangEagle” Award to see which Admissions Office has the best bowlers. As you can see from the picture, the trophy resides at Kirkwood…which side of the Cedar River will the trophy call home for 2018??  Stay tuned!

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The trick to buying gifts is realizing who you're buying for. Every person has different likes and dislikes, personalities, talents, annoyances and preferences. That's why there isn't one perfect gift for everyone. Even though we all think money is a perfect back-up plan, it also shows a lack of effort and attention to the receiver. 

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Shalon Frye has come full circle. She started as an elementary teacher in 2000 at Independence Community Schools, and after three years decided to go back to school for her school counseling degree at UNI, which eventually brought her back "home" to Independence.

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Why should high school counselors be involved with Iowa ACAC?  Being involved with Iowa ACAC has been one of the best professional development activities I have ever done. The reality is, as high school counselors we are also college admissions counselors. Iowa ACAC is a great support for high school counselors. Here is how I got involved:

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Have you wanted to attend one of our state or national conferences, but didn’t have the funds? Maybe you have a great program in mind you’d like to start at your school, but need some help getting the financial wheels rolling? Or maybe you simply would like to be a member of both organizations, but the membership fees to renew or join are not in the budget?

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What's on YOUR fall Bucket List
• Grab your favorite fall drink at your local coffee shop
• Drive to see the fall foliage
• Go to the pumpkin patch
• Walk a corn maze
• Learn how to make pumpkin pie from scratch
• Donate to a local food bank
• Go to a football game and tailgate
• Have a bonfire
• Go to apple orchard
• Attend a local Farmer’s Market
• Enjoy some apple cider
• Help your neighbor rake leaves
• Watch seasonal movies
• Carve a pumpkin
• Buy a new sweater or hoodie
• Decorate your home for fall
• Find a local fall festivity
• Take a hay ride
• Have a family or friends game night
• Make caramel apples
• Go on a nature walk, hike, or bike ride (bring the camera!)
• Do a Color Run, Color Dash, or other colorful 5K
• Try a new recipe!!