Ok, so it was a convention center in Toronto, not a bar, but I have you reading this far about a professional conference, so forgive the teaser title.
More than 5,000 professionals attended the National Association for College Admission (NACAC) annual conference in Toronto a few weeks ago. There is always a tremendous amount of information and ideas shared, but below are some major takeaways/reminders/themes that bubbled to the top:
1) “AVERAGE IS OVER” Thomas Friedman, NYT columnist and our keynote speaker spoke about the new global interconnectedness and instant information sharing that now have raised the bar across all professions. His take? You can no longer “do what you’ve always done, to get what you’ve always gotten.” You have to step it up. Where college graduates once found a job, future graduates will likely have to create a job. It was inspiring and terrifying at the same time.
2) Prospective college applicants want a conversation and a connection with the colleges they are considering. They know resources are out there for review, but the interaction is very important. (See #1 above admissions professionals!)
3) High school students would like to be shown, not told, about life at college. Viewbooks and Web sites are simply starting points. Live chats, visits, videos, and current social media content help students understand character, lifestyle, and the general atmosphere of any campus. And that is critical information about their future college home.
4) College admissions folks (both high school counselors and admissions officers) are truly conscientious, dedicated professionals who want the best outcome for individuals. These are good people who make me proud to be a part of this vocation.
5) And finally … if you put these hard-working, naturally enthusiastic individuals in a big waterfront venue with a DJ and his karaoke machine, we can shut the town down! Seriously, displays of talent were only surpassed by displays of fearless abandon!
Toronto was a beautiful host city, and the NACAC group once again navigated the vast amount of details to bring us all together so we stay informed, inspired, and connected. I hope Indianapolis is ready for 2014!