Education Sessions

*Subject to change*

The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 5242. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. NACAC is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

Sessions marked with a are offered for NBCC credit hours

A total of 6 CE credits can be obtained for education sessions and a total of 3 CE credits can be obtained for main stage sessions. A total of 9 CE credits for the entire program.


Jump ahead to:
Breakout Group 1 (Monday, July 25, 9:45-10:45 a.m.)
Breakout Group 2 (Monday, July 25, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.)
Breakout Group 3 (Monday, July 25, 1:45-2:45 p.m.)

Breakout Group 4 (Tuesday, July 26, 9:45-10:45 a.m.)
Breakout Group 5 (Tuesday, July 26, 2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.)
Breakout Group 6 (Tuesday, July 26, 3:45 p.m.-4:45 p.m.)

Monday, July 25

Breakout Group 1, 9:45 to 10:45 a.m.

Cultivating Gender-Inclusive Evaluation and Recruitment - Aria AB

 (1 credit hour)

Explore why gender inclusion throughout the recruitment and admission process is key to creating an inclusive experience for prospective students from the moment they first interact with your institution until after they are admitted. Learn action items that can be implemented throughout the admission cycle to cultivate gender-inclusive interactions with prospective students.

Learning objectives: 
1- Identify how gender inclusion impacts LGBTQ+ applicants and students.
2- Identify information that should be readily available to LGBTQ+ students in recruitment.
3- Learn actions that can be implemented to make recruitment and evaluation processes more gender-inclusive.

Speaking Up for Our Students: Advocating in the College Admission Process - Concerto AB 

 (1 credit hour)

In the last few years, it seems like students need our advocacy more and more. As admission methods start to push the boundaries of best practice, we know that those students who are typically found at the margins—students of color, LGBTQ+ students, first-generation students, and low-income students—are disproportionately impacted and likely lack the resources to advocate for themselves. Discuss both the "why" and the "how to." Come ready to learn and to share!

Learning objectives: 
1- Understand why advocacy is important now that the CEPP has changed to the Guide to Ethical Practice
2- Have tools to help students advocate for themselves
3- Gain confidence in direct advocacy

There's Politics & There's "Politics": Strategies for Leaders of Color - Symphony Ballroom

  (1 credit hour)

Session description coming soon!

What We'd Want Our Postsecondary Partners to Know About First-Gen, Students of Color - Maestro AB

Four advisers who work for secondary institutions that teach and support mostly first-generation students of color in Philadelphia share their stories. With over 35 years of experience collectively, they have accumulated qualitative information on what colleges—both HBCUs and PWIs, two-year and four-year—need to know beyond student applications to make sure first-gen students and students of color can persist and graduate.

Why Did the Multicultural Recruitment Plan Fail? - Minuet

  (1 credit hour)

This interactive workshop is divided into three parts. First, you’ll learn about current efforts regarding multicultural recruitment plans on college campuses, including learning outcomes and assessment. Second, you’ll move into presenter-led small groups to discuss what challenges and obstacles you see when creating and implementing multicultural recruitment plans. Third, join a large group discussion on effective strategies for creating a multicultural recruitment plan.

Learning objectives:
1- Participants will obtain an overview of best practices for creating a multicultural recruitment plan.
2- Participants will learn effective skills to create specific and measurable goals for a multicultural recruitment plan.
3- Participants will learn effective skills to develop their own multicultural recruitment plan.

Latin X Student Recruitment—Needs/Wants/Strategies - Rhapsody

  (1 credit hour)

The population of Latin X students is increasing dramatically. Examine best practices and strategies developed by admission professionals who both represent and recruit Latin X communities. Dive into the intersections that can be found—and leveraged—between the implicit cultural expectations of Latin X college-bound students and the college search process. Learn about recruitment strategies and gaps in supports, and walk away with a tool kit of language, strategies, and data-informed practices to elevate your game!

Learning objectives:
1- Learn about what Latin X students and families need during college admission process
2- Discuss strategies used in helping Latin X students during the college admission process
3- Give first hand experience


Breakout Group 2, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

A New Calculus for College Admission: Addressing Inequity in Mathematics - Aria AB

  (1 credit hour)

Calculus is rarely a requirement for admission into four-year colleges or universities. Yet, college-bound students looking for a competitive advantage often take Calculus to increase their chances of acceptance–especially for selective postsecondary institutions. Factoring Calculus into the admissions process as a measure of rigor, or to assess student talent ignores the fact that not all students have access to Calculus and reinforces inequity—with a pronounced effect on underserved students. It also overlooks the rapid expansion of 21st-century courses like data science and statistics that better align with many students’ aspirations. This session will highlight findings from a national survey of admissions professionals exploring the role of math course-taking in admission decisions. Leading thinkers on the issue will discuss traditional assumptions that drive the race to calculus and the opportunities to align admissions with 21st-century math pathways.

Three Secrets to Developing a Culturally Responsive Admission Office - Concerto AB

Learn the steps needed to develop a culturally responsive admission office. This interactive session engages participants through reflective exercises and proven best practices for developing staff and supporting students. Hear lessons learned in establishing strategies implemented to foster cultural awareness and understanding among staff, as well as practices to support an increasingly diverse population of college applicants.

Solidarity in the Dumpster Fire: Sustaining Ourselves During Times of Crisis - Symphony Ballroom

  (1 credit hour)

In a world in crisis, who takes care of the caregiver? BIPOC college access and success professionals are questioning their agency to make change in this field while still maintaining their own well-being. Often removed from conversations and left to feel overextended and undervalued, how do we prioritize ourselves so that we can continue to do the critical work? Explore ways to sustain our well-being through boundaries, support systems, and professional advancement.

Learning objectives:
1-Participants will acknowledge the struggle between prioritizing our well-being and meeting the expectations of our profession.
2-Participants will engage in a real talk on ways to support and sustain themselves, especially when in crisis mode.
3-Participants will leave with strategies to feel more empowered to continue to create change while putting themselves first.

How to Implement an Admission and Financial Aid Diversity Council - Maestro AB

 (1 credit hour)

In the fall of 2020, the Division of Enrollment Management at Bucknell University (PA) set out to form a diversity council made up of admission and financial aid staff with the goal to create staff training opportunities and further the university’s mission related to DEI work. During the course of the following year, we created an eight-prong DEI strategic plan with objectives related to all areas of enrollment management work. As a council, we successfully garnered divisional support, gained campus-wide recognition for our office, and produced measurable outcomes. Learn about the effort—including its successes and challenges—and start planning how to create lasting change at your institution in the pursuit of DEI goals.

Learning objectives:
1- Attendees will learn steps for implementing their own councils.
2- Attendees will learn steps for implementing their own DEI strategic plans.
3- Attendees will learn creative solutions to meet staff where they are at related to their own identities, beliefs, and values.

The Refugee Crisis and Higher Education: Afghan Refugee Resettlement - Minuet

 (1 credit hour)

In August 2021, communities across America began to welcome thousands of refugees from Afghanistan. Though this influx has been a new experience for many of us, global communities take in large numbers of refugees from around the world each year. While refugee experiences vary, there are a few common threads for these students. Documentation, financial status, and English language proficiency may be immediate barriers in the college admission process, not to mention cultural differences and approaches to dealing with trauma. How can admission counseling professionals best assist these students in their journey to higher education? What kinds of structures can we foster to ensure their success and well-being on campus? Who are our partners in the community?

Learning objectives:
1- Understanding some of the barriers to higher education as well as other challenges faced by refugee students.
2- Reflecting on ways admissions professionals on all sides of the desk can support refugee students in the admissions process and their new life.
3- Envisioning ways in which the admissions process can change to better support refugee students and other students with unique backgrounds.

Building More Inclusive Communities Through an AAPI Lens - Rhapsody

 (1 credit hour)

The Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community is not well understood in the college admission environment. AAPI students are often perceived as a monolithic group, but this community is rich with layers of diversity, including ethnic and socioeconomic factors that greatly impact the experiences of students. Learn about the makeup, history, and diversity within this community as you equip yourself with the tools to advocate for and best serve students during the college search process.

Learning objectives:
1- Participants will have a greater understanding of the diversity of the monolithic term AAPI
2- Participants will become more familiar with the different histories within the broader AAPI communities and how that impacts the present-day experience of each subgroup.
3- Participants will have tools that can help them avoid common assumptions and microaggressions often made about AAPI students.


Breakout Group 3, 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

Lenapehoking (Land of the Lenape)—Philly’s Native Roots and Higher Education - Aria AB

 (1 credit hour)

Welcome to Lenapehoking, the land of the Lenape! Philadelphia exists within the traditional homelands of the Lenni-Lenape people, now scattered in tribal communities across the US and Canada, but who continue to live in and influence this region. Beyond land acknowledgment, gain historical and current insights into the experiences of Lenape tribes and this land. You’ll also learn best practices for building relationships with local tribal communities and supporting Native student populations in higher education spaces.

Learning objectives:
1- Learn about the Lenape people and their historical and current influence in Philadelphia
2- Learn best practices in building connections with local tribal communities as part of supporting indigenous students and indigenous initiatives in higher education spaces.
3- How do you recruit, matriculate and graduate indigenous students in the Northeast.

Students with Disabilities: Barriers in the Admission Process - Concerto AB

 (1 credit hour)

Students with disabilities may encounter a range of unexpected barriers as they plan for postsecondary education. The needs of students with mobility/sensory (vision, hearing) impairments, mental/chronic health conditions, learning disabilities, and neurodiversity all may impact a student’s ability to access and engage in the admission process. Explore how you can create an inclusive environment by including disability as an aspect of diversity in your college advising practices, your admission processes, and on campus.

Learning objectives:
1- Participants will gain an understanding of the current data related to disability and college.
2- Participants will gain an understanding of the differences between high school and college accommodations for students with disabilities.
3- Participants will be able to evaluate the accessibility of their college advising and admission programming.

You Are Called to Lead - Symphony Ballroom

 (1 credit hour)

With the heightened awareness of racial injustices in our country and the complexity of the recruitment and admission funnel, the time is now for historically underrepresented individuals to be intentional about taking leadership positions within our offices. Only with changes in leadership can we successfully challenge racist practices and strategies tied to recruitment and admission. As staff members, we are often challenged with knowing the struggles of our students—but no one knows the struggles of us as professionals in the industry. We need leaders who understand the struggle and who can also challenge status quo behavior to move our organizations forward.

Learning objectives:
1- Leadership rooted in a mission-based approach.
2- Developing leadership through the lens of social justice.
3- Developing strategies to create a culture within the organization that acknowledges all individuals and addresses the opportunity for change in your organizational spaces.

Why Black Students Say No! Lessons Learned from a R1 University - Maestro AB 

 (1 credit hour)

Learn how your college or university can increase the enrollment of African American students along with students from historically underrepresented minority communities and marginalized backgrounds. Using findings from a 2021 study that explored why African American first‐year students admitted to the University of California, Davis, declined their offer of admission. Explore what’s working and what opportunities for improvement exist at a top‐tier Research 1 university committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Learn how your college or university can identify effective recruitment practices that address the low representation of Black students in higher education nationally.

Learning objectives:
1- Participants will leave this session with a greater understanding of the key factors that influence the college choice of Black students.
2- Participants will be able to identify strategies that work and those that may not be as effective in recruiting and enrollment Black first-year students.
3- As a result of attending this session, participants will have increased knowledge of what is needed to successfully support students from the African diaspora and other historically underrepresented and marginalized communities in applying and enrolling in four-year colleges/universities

How Simplifying Admission Results in More Accessible Pathways to Higher Ed - Minuet

 (1 credit hour)

Instead of becoming easier and simpler, the application process has become increasingly complex and difficult for students. Reaching underrepresented populations requires not only lowering complex logistical, financial, and systemic barriers, but also a revolutionary shift in the admission process itself. What if we could dispense with the application process entirely? And what if we could offer year-round placement instead of compressing the process into the August–April timeline? Learn how a pilot project called Greenlight Match (that includes 25 community-based organizations, 10 higher ed institutions, and an edtech platform) increased college access for first-gen and low-income students by flipping the script on traditional admission processes. Could this be the future of more equitable, accessible, and inclusive college admission?

Learning objectives:
1- Admissions officers will learn how to reach more first-gen, low-income, underrepresented student populations through new technology.
2- Counselors and secondary school leaders will learn how to work collaboratively with edech platforms to simplify admissions processes for students, especially those from minoritized populations where barriers are greater.
3- Everyone will leave with new insights and ideas on how admissions can be simplified for students to provide greater access to higher education opportunities worldwide.

How Women of Color Navigate Leadership Mazes: Lessons Learned - Rhapsody

 (1 credit hour)

In her Harvard Business Review article, How to Disrupt a System That was Built to Hold You Back, professor Lan Nguyen Chaplin writes, “In almost every industry, women of color receive less support, and experience double standards, microaggressions, and unconscious bias.” Hear from seasoned professionals who have been in the trauma trenches and who will share strategies on how to navigate PWI spaces, especially when you are the only BIPOC in the room. Take away tips and insights on how to move your workplace toward being a more inclusive and equitable place for all.

Learning objectives:
1- Leaders from majority backgrounds will leave with a higher level of awareness of the specific challenges that female colleagues of color face in the workplace.
2- Women of color will leave with insights on how to broach difficult conversations, and navigate spaces that were not built for them.
3- Leaders of color will leave with tips on how to move their workplace forward towards being a more inclusive, representative, and equitable place for all of us.


Tuesday, July 26

Breakout Group 4, 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

Health Insurance as a Barrier to Higher Education - Aria AB

 (1 credit hour)

A student receives an amazing financial aid package from their dream college and will only need to pay $2,000 a year. Then you find out the college requires health insurance, and Medicaid doesn’t count; $2K becomes $4K. Discuss how to navigate this potential roadblock to college access.

Learning objectives:
1- Incorporate health insurance into financial aid conversations with students
2- Navigate college-specific information on health insurance requirements
3- Expand awareness of the intersection between health insurance and access to higher education

The Blindspot in Counseling South Asian Students Through the College Application Process - Concerto AB

  (1 credit hour)

South Asian students are often misunderstood in their ability to navigate the college application process, especially if their parents hold graduate degrees and work white collar jobs. This workshop will discuss how South Asian students often fall through the cracks as a result of stereotypical assumptions. Identify misconceptions in understanding the South Asian community. Learn how to identify gaps in knowledge as well as the supports that these families need but cannot identify for themselves. Emerge knows how to best support South Asian students to successfully emerge from the college application process and beyond.

Learning objectives:
1- What are the rampant misconceptions about South Asian students and their families in the high school context?
2- How to identify the support needed by this community?
3-What type of programming should you consider developing to serve this community’s needs?

Should I Stay or Should I Go: DEI Admission Professionals at the Crossroads - Symphony Ballroom

(1 credit hour)

You have a commitment to DEI work and saw work in the admission office at your institution as a great vehicle for making meaningful contributions. However, you are now at a "crossroads" professionally, and possibly considering whether your current institution is the best place to do this work. Is it time to grow at another institution? Or perhaps you are even contemplating a different professional pathway altogether? Gain insight as panelists discuss their professional journeys, including the factors that went into their respective career pathways.

Learning objectives:
1- Reflection on their current professional work to help consider next potential steps
2-Consideration of different professional pathways in the DEI field
3-Development of topics for important conversations with office/institutional leadership

Equity and the College Essay - Maestro AB

 (1 credit hour)

What specific steps can both admission officers and college counselors take to help democratize the college admission process when it comes to the essay? Explore the unique challenges facing admission officers regarding essay review and take away practical resources and example essays that college counselors can use with their students right away.

Learning objectives:
1-Admission officers will be challenged to rethink how their offices review essays.
2- Public, private, Catholic, CBO, and independent college counselors will leave with practical resources they can use with students now.
3-All will be invited to explore ways we can work together to bring more equity to this portion of the college admission process.

Is Your Open House Closed-Minded to Neurodiverse Students? - Minuet

 (1 credit hour)

At most admission events, one can expect to find a pep rally atmosphere with lights, cameras, and action. Although intended to generate enthusiasm and cultivate excitement, sometimes these events can harm and exclude neurodivergent students. Learn strategies to inclusively de-center neurotypicality and explore the ways in which enrollment events such as campus visits, open houses, and orientation programs have historically excluded students who identify as neurodiverse as well as those with learning disabilities. By boldly abandoning one-size-fits-all events, we courageously make space for folks to conclude: “My size can fit here.”

Learning objectives:
1- Attendees will be able to articulate a working definition and description of neurodiversity.
2- Attendees will be able to describe at least 2 practices within their enrollment events that can cause harm to neurodiverse students.
3- Attendees will be able to identify at least 3 easily implemented strategies that de-center neurotypicality in enrollment events.

Not a New Application. A Better Process. - Rhapsody

  (1 credit hour)

When the college admission process feels complicated and overwhelming to the most-resourced students, where does that leave students from underserved communities? This year, the Coalition for College is launching an integrated application experience within Scoir, a college advising platform that’s free for Title I schools. This simplified application process (which will continue to feature easy-to-use fee waivers), aims to connect Title I students to more resources and support beginning with college search through enrollment and beyond. That support will come directly from Coalition member schools, as well as community-based organizations, which will also gain free access to Scoir.

Learning objectives:
1- Learn about an innovative new partnership that seeks to expand access to college support and resources for underserved students, and understand the vision behind an application process that connects the systems many students and counselors already use with systems colleges use to collect and manage applicant data.
2- See how this new integrated application will help students manage more of the search and enrollment process in one place, saving time and money and simplifying the experience.
3- Learn about implementing Scoir at Title I schools and CBOs, and its impact on college exploration, access, and outcomes.


Breakout Group 5, 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Assisting Transgender Students in High Schools and Colleges - Aria AB

 (1 credit hour)

Transgender students experience high dropout rates as well as high rates of attempted suicide, poor mental health, unemployment, homelessness, bullying, discrimination, sexual and other physical assault, and more. Supportive, empowering high school and college/university environments are critical to their success. Review important strategies for creating inclusive, positive school environments at both the secondary and postsecondary levels and learn tips to help transgender students conduct their college search.

Learning objectives:
1- create inclusive environments in high school
2- create inclusive environments in college
3-assist transgender students with their college lists and applications

Recruiting First-Gen Students: What CBOs and Counselors Wish You Knew - Concerto AB

 (1 credit hour)

The gap between high school/CBO counselors and admission offices sometimes seems insurmountable. If you've ever sent an endless series of recruitment emails to organizations that serve students you want to recruit and been met with silence, let’s talk! If you've ever deleted an inbox full of these emails, you're invited too! Though sometimes challenging, bridging the gap is critical for making institutions more equitable. With a series of rapid-fire question prompts, we will offer not solutions, but the start of a conversation and networking to keep the conversation going.

Learning objectives:
1- Participants will have more insight into the decisions that high school and CBO counselors are making when responding to recruiters.
2- Participants will feel empowered and inspired to build mutually beneficial relationships across higher and secondary ed institutions.
3- Participants will reflect on their current institutional practices and leave with first steps toward change

Context is Key: A Case Study Discussion - Symphony Ballroom

 (1 credit hour)

Review case studies, inspired by real applicants, which emphasize the importance of context during application review. Come prepared with an open mind and willingness to get involved as we discuss the value of understanding a student within their environmental, institutional, and personal contexts. This session will be helpful for those reviewing applications, those that set reading policies within an office, and counselors working directly with high school students. Contextual admission practices can advance the important work of closing the equity gap and providing additional access for students, particularly those from underrepresented and underserved populations.

Learning objectives:
1- Participants will gain a better understanding of the three main forms of context, environmental, institutional and personal, that impact the student college search and admissions review process.
2- Participants will understand the difference between holistic and contextual admissions and why both are important when working with students.
3-Participants will learn how to implement contextual admissions practices into their current processes to help close the equity gap and provide additional access for students.

Trauma-Informed Admission: The Conversation - Minuet

Discover how trauma-informed admission processes will bridge the gaps in access for students. Explore how adverse childhood experiences (ACES) impact self-efficacy in the college search and choice process.

Accessibility, Accountability, Awareness: A Grassroot Effort to Make Change - Rhaapsody

 (1 credit hour)

Learn about the creation of the Afrikan Diaspora Admission Advocacy Committee at the University of California, Los Angeles. The development of the committee occurred as part of a grassroots effort from admission staff shortly after the death of George Floyd in 2020. Learn about the early formation of the committee, tangible outcomes from the first two years, and best practices for maintaining morale and productivity. Hear how we're broadening the office conversation around race relations, its impact on our work, and what office strategies you can implement to help break down barriers.

Learning objectives:
1- Identifying and analyzing important social issues from multiple cultural perspectives by gaining buy-in from staff.
2- Collaboratively develop a group structure to design and utilize strategies to address social inequities in a safe environment.
3- Aligning with senior leadership to develop and produce tangible results and outcomes.


Breakout Group 6, 3:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Beyond the Headlines: Digging Deeper with College Access and Affordability - Aria AB

 (1 credit hour)

The college admission and financial aid field have been focused on access, affordability, and inclusion for decades. And yet, students and families continue to struggle financially. This session explores whether traditional, media-hyped measures of college financial access, equity, and inclusion—while helpful starting points—are incomplete. Explore important aspects of admission and financial aid practices that directly impact students but are currently un- or under-examined despite being steeped in classism and racism. Go beyond the boiled-down binaries so often used to talk about our work and dig into additional, meaningful measures of access, equity, inclusion, and true affordability.

Learning objectives:
1- Attendees will examine 3 traditional measures of college financial access and equity and interrogate who and what these topics leave out, despite the sparkling headlines.
2- Two Attendees will discuss and collaboratively workshop possible financial policy and/or practice solutions to bring back to their institutions.
3- Attendees will learn that while every college community is unique and will require different solutions given differing budget constraints, every institution, and our field as a whole, can take action towards making the college journey truly more financially attainable and sustainable for all students.

Reaffirm Diverse Representation as a Requisite in College Admission Spaces - Maestro AB

(1 credit hour)

In the wake of our current cultural climate, education systems have reached a point of critical change where the presence of diverse admission professionals can open new possibilities for more innovation and inclusive excellence to disrupt deep-rooted admission practices and institutional structures. While research indicates white leadership still permeates, how do we advance the next generation of diverse enrollment leaders to a level reflective of the student body? Analyze a DEI whitepaper that challenges normative thinking about minoritized staff and engage in a dialogue about ways to grow and retain staff of color.

Learning objectives:
1-How to take a data-informed approach to expand the gateways and pathways for recruitment and retention of diverse professional staff.
2-Learn practical tools to address this issue with leadership to establish measurable goals.
3-Create equitable and inclusive educational environments for students within the context of enrollment management.

I'm Speaking, You're Listening: Open Mic for Colleagues of Color - Symphony Ballroom

The experiences of colleagues of color are often not heard within our offices. This often due to the space not being welcoming or facilitating the ability for voices to be heard uninterrupted or unfiltered. Open Mic has always been a place where people can get on the microphone and express themselves in an uninterrupted and unfiltered way. In this session, we are going to create that space to allow our colleagues of color at all levels to convey their experiences. Through this Open Mic we are hoping to share community, share experiences, but also to think about ways in which we can change our profession based on the experiences that are shared.

LGBTQ+ Recruitment - Maestro AB

Recruiting students is an important aspect of the higher education world and being able to market to multiple student groups is always helpful. However, successfully reaching LGBTQ+ students requires foresight and sensitivity. Concerns about student safety, as well as concerns about outing or misgendering students, are all important factors that need to be carefully considered. Learn best practices for working with this minority group in a safe manner that allows them to feel wanted, welcome, and prepared for success.

"The Lonely Walk": The Path to Executive Leadership for BIPOC - Minuet

 (1 credit hour)

Explore the journey to executive leadership for people of color within higher education. Delve into the data, hear anecdotes, and envision a roadmap for young professionals pursuing executive leadership roles.

Learning objectives:
1- A hightend level Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
2- Identify and manage triggers as the sole person of color within leadership
3- Understanding the art of engagement while delivering numbers

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