Blog

By Todd Rinehart, Chair of the Steering Committee on Admission Practices

The NACAC Board of Directors last year appointed a Steering Committee on Admission Practices to examine the association’s Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP). The committee was charged with modernizing the principles of the SPGP, developing content to include cohorts of students and members not adequately addressed in the current document, and ensuring the SPGP is relevant in a changing enrollment landscape.  

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As an organization committed to developing college admission counseling professionals, TACAC is pleased to share recent state and national news articles that may help you grow as a professional.

Texas News

Texas Lawmakers Search for Ways to Avoid Wasted College Credits (The Texas Tribune)
State lawmakers consider ways to ensure courses taken at community colleges will transfer to four-year universities.

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Do you hear the sound of barcodes scanning and luggage wheels hitting the parking lot pavement? It’s time for the Spring college fairs! High school juniors and their families will be navigating large exhibition halls around Texas in the coming months, and we’ve got tips for both you and your students to maximize the college fair experience! Whether you’re a seasoned counselor or a fresh-faced recruiter, read on for our best practices.

DO bring enough fair materials. Thousands of students will be attending each of the NACAC and TACAC fairs, and a lot of them may utilize the “grab-n-go” method. Plan accordingly. Table pop-up? Banner? Business cards? Check, check, and triple check before you hit park at the fair’s location.

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As we complete National School Counseling Week, I want to say thank you for being advocates, working long hours, helping students through their post-secondary decisions, and most importantly, for being in this profession. You play a critical role assisting students, families, and even each other, realize their full potential. TACAC recognizes and appreciates the contributions you make. In this special week, we celebrate and recognize you as professionals who further our mission of serving others.
Most Appreciative,
Ismael Rodriguez, Jr
President, Texas Association for College Admission Counseling (TACAC) 

The TACAC Fellows program is one of the best ways to get involved with TACAC, and offers unparalleled access to the annual conference.  The Fellows Program is sponsored by the Inclusion, Access, and Success committee, and is designed to enable professionals who work with students from under-represented populations and who work in settings adversely affected by budget cuts of limitations to take advantage of all that TACAC and its members have to offer.

As a 2016 Annual Conference Fellow who was in the middle of my first year of college counseling at a Title I school in Dallas, I could not have imagined the opportunities the Fellows Program would afford me.  Because of my participation, I was able to attend the conference, something I may not have been able to do had it not been for the grant I received, which would have kept me from being able to attend the information sessions on SB5, Prior-Prior Year financial aid information, the Coalition App, and Letters of Recommendation, each of which directly impacted the way I work with my students every day.  As a new counselor, every session I attended provided valuable context to my work and helped me to become a better adviser to my scholars and peer to every other counselor and admissions representative with whom I interact.  I was also awarded a complementary one year TACAC membership, and was given accommodations at the 2016 conference. However, the biggest benefits I received from the Fellows program were the connections I made and the people I met, many of whom I now consider friends and mentors.

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Twenty members of the TACAC Executive Board met in San Antonio January 27-28 for the quarterly executive meeting. These meetings allow the committee chairs, president's council, and delegates time to plan for the direction of the organization, share feedback and ideas about ongoing or upcoming initiatives, and work to realize the goals of TACAC.

The focus of the winter meeting was strategy planning and fiduciary planning. In the course of our strategy planning conversation, we quickly realized that we needed a more comprehensive view of TACAC's programs throughout the year in conjunction with NACAC programs and larger admission timeline calendar.  Calendar-based planning and alignment of programs will continue down to sub-committees and other TACAC events over the next several months.

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Dear Members,

The Texas Association for College Admission Counseling's (TACAC) vision statement is to develop professionals committed to providing the highest quality counseling to ensure students' access to and persistence through post-secondary education.  We are governed by the values of service, professionalism, mutual respect, cooperation and communication, creativity and innovation, diversity and individualism, and ethics.  These values and ideals are critical to our organization and the work we do to support students who are entrusted in our care.

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Hello from San Antonio! TACAC members are currently attending the first TACAC event of 2017: the Middle Management Institute (MMI). This two-day event is hosted at the University of Texas at San Antonio Downtown campus on January 26-27. The program features a variety of education sessions and case studies with higher education professionals.

MMI is tailored for admissions personnel who have been in the field for 4+ years and hold some form of leadership in his or her office. These professionals seek to eventually be top-level leaders in the admission and enrollment management field. This event helps attendees better shape their personal visions for their roles within the office and among their supervisees. The program also enables attendees to discuss the profession and best practices with others in similar roles and in leadership positions.

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As educational professionals, we follow many different calendars. The calendar year of January through December is important, mostly to make sure we're writing the correct date on checks and forms. To many of us, the academic year is more important, building our lives in August-to-July increments. Much of the work of TACAC's year begins in April, at our annual conference. This year, I'm especially looking forward to the membership meeting and luncheon on Monday, April 24 because at that meeting we will learn about the newest leaders in TACAC and this year's award winners.

As a member-driven organization, TACAC relies on the service of professionals in our field to keep the organization moving forward and doing the things that you count on TACAC to do. Executive Board members and their committee members create the valuable programming offered by TACAC. Assembly delegates represent the needs of Texas college counseling and college admission professionals at the national assembly. And the president leads all of these dedicated professionals in pursuit of the organization's goals. You now have the opportunity to put forth yourself or a colleague for one of these important roles in order to take on a position starting with our new TACAC year in April. The following positions are open:

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Dear TACAC,

As you begin to wind down from this fall admission cycle and 2016 comes to a close, TACAC wants to thank you for your continued hard work and support in helping students navigate the admissions process and ensuring that each student and family have the tools they need.

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Name: Abijah Kratochvil
Position/Title: Coordinator of New Student Orientation & Campus tours
Current institution: San Jacinto College
How long have you been in the profession? I have been working in higher education for over 5 years.

Give us some background! Where are you from, where did you grow up, a little info on what you do in your position at San Jacinto?
I grew up on a farm in north central Arkansas, which my fiancé likes to tease me about. I lived in Arkansas my entire life until three years ago when I accepted a position in Galveston. Not knowing anyone when I moved was a challenge, but working in admissions, you make friends quickly with colleagues from other institutions. It was definitely one of the best decisions I have made. Currently, I supervise all aspects of new student orientation at the San Jacinto College North Campus. I train our Student Ambassadors and coordinate with recruiting and other departments on giving campus tours.



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This week on the TACAC Blog, we want to tell you about an event you first learned about in our post from September 8: Drive-In Workshops! Today, TACAC was at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth for the Fort Worth-area Drive-In Workshop.

With over 40 counselors registered to attend, this was a popular program. Public and private school counselors came from throughout the DFW Metroplex to learn from admission and college counseling colleagues about timely topics. A cold start to the morning didn't keep people away and the counselors arrived ready to learn and interact. Attendees were treated to a catered lunch, courtesy of Texas Wesleyan University. 

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As you work through your holiday shopping list, consider adding TACAC or NACAC to your holiday gift-giving. As professional organizations, TACAC and NACAC support the learning and development of your colleagues at high schools, colleges, CBOs, and educational organizations that support students in pursuit of post-secondary education. We hope you'll consider donating to the Anne Naman TACAC Fund, the NACAC Imagine Fund, or to TACAC through Amazon Smile.

Anne Naman TACAC Fund - Donate HERE

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TACAC is thankful for its members. As we approach the winter holidays, we want to hear what you give thanks for in your work. Connect with your TACAC colleagues and give thanks for everything that you love about your job with the #TACACThankful social media campaign.
All members are invited to give thanks and tag your posts with #TACACThankful on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can find TACAC on the following platforms:
Twitter: @TexasACAC
Instagram: @TexasACAC
Facebook: Texas Association for College Admission Counseling
We'll be searching for #TACACThankful and sharing your posts on our pages. Be sure to follow @TexasACAC on Twitter and Instagram to see the posts of your TACAC friends and colleagues.
A few guidelines for the campaign:
  • The campaign will run from November 15 through January 7
  • The goal of the campaign is the celebrate the positives of our work! Please do not post negativity or complaints and be sure to avoid disparaging any high school, college, or students.
  • For privacy reasons, please do not post photos of students and be sure to ask your colleagues for permission to post their picture online.
  • Keep it clean and professional - remember, your boss might see your post.
  • Have fun!
We'll share a compilation of our favorite posts on the TACAC blog this winter. Check out our sample posts to get you started, then share your own #TACACThankful thoughts and photos!
Happy holidays, TACAC!

Name:  Matt Cunningham
Position/Title:  Senior Assistant Director of Admissions
Current institution:  Lehigh University
How long have you been in the profession?:  4.5 years

Give us some background! Where are you from, where did you grow up, a little info on what you do in your position at Lehigh?
I am originally from Lewisburg, Pennsylvania - born, raised, whole life there.  I graduated in 2011 from Bucknell University with my bachelors in European History.  In 2012, I started at Lehigh (a rival of my alma mater so that's always fun during basketball season...) and have been there since.  Currently, I am the counselor for Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Virginia and I coordinate one of our honors programs, direct the Lehigh tour guide program, organize our admitted student events, and do a lot with our daily visit offerings.



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As an organization committed to developing college admission counseling professionals, TACAC is happy to share some recent news articles that may help you grow as a professional. Check them out and let us know what else you want to learn about - TACAC is here to serve its members!

Texas News

Community College Hope for $87 Mil. Bump in Appropriations (Corpus Christi Caller-Times)
As the Texas legislature prepares for its upcoming session, which starts in January, the Texas Association of Community Colleges and the Community College Association of Texas Trustees are seeking additional funding to support their educational initiatives.

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There’s a new acronym in the admission-sphere, and it’s not a new Michael Jackson song...

PPY is financial aid’s P.Y.T.
The U.S. Department of Education has introduced Prior-Prior Year (PPY) filing of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to students’ and families’ financial aid application process. Back in the day, students filled out the FAFSA using their parents’ tax information from the previous year (example: a senior applying for Fall 2016 would use 2015 tax data for the FAFSA). But with PPY, students can use their parents’ tax information from two years prior (example, this year’s seniors applying for Fall 2017 will file the FAFSA with 2015 tax information).

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In our Committee Spotlight this month, we will be touching base with Jordan Sass and Micah Lyles Co-Chairs of the Professional Development Committee. When you hear the phrase “professional development” what comes to mind? A long drawn out day? A boring monotone speaker in a dark room? Well forget what you know about professional development as we explore the opportunities from the TACAC Professional Development Committee.

This committee is responsible for designing and implementing a variety of programs that allow the TACAC membership to continue to learn and network with other members. This is something that speaks personally to both Jordan and Micah.

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Name: Manny Saldivar
Position Title: College Counselor
Current institution: Nolan Catholic High School, Fort Worth, TX
How long have you been in the profession: 1 year

Give us some background! Where are you from, where did you grow up, what drew you to your position as a counselor? 
I'm originally from Los Angeles, California. I was raised most of my life in Fort Worth, TX. I'm working as a College Counselor working with juniors and seniors.  I earned my Bachelor degree in Communication from the University of Texas at Arlington. I earned my Masters in Education Counseling with a focus in student affairs from Texas Christian University.  I love to travel and meet people from all walks of life. I'm just fascinated and intrigued by people. 



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Could your students use extra support and reminders to complete their college application process? Then let First Lady Michelle Obama and the "Better Make Room" initiative help!

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