Sessions Suggested for Community Based Organization Attendees

Subject to change. Dates and times to be announced.


In addition to a robust expo hall, lively events, and thoughtful networking opportunities, NACAC Conference 2022 features over 100 educational sessions.  See all sessions here.

Sessions marked with a are offered for NBCC credit hours.

2 + 2 = INEQUITIES: Crowdsourcing Data to Empower Financial Fit for Youth

One way the NACAC community embodies a commitment to equity and social justice is through collaboration—sharing people, insights, and resources whenever possible to improve college access and success. But no matter the depth of our commitment to supporting one another, no amount of collaboration can make up for an absence of good data. This absence of data is most painfully evident when trying to prioritize financial fit during our students’ college search. As college pricing has become more and more opaque, the most important factor for low-income students—financial fit—has become by far the most difficult challenge to address. Moreover, the daunting lack of pricing clarity often deters the very students we aspire to help from engaging in the college search process in the first place. Learn how Chicago Scholars (IL) partnered with other like-minded organizations to crowdsource a single central data set of the actual prices that colleges offered. Not only has this new data resource significantly strengthened the depth of guidance our programs can provide regarding financial fit, but it also allows Chicago Scholars to hold partner colleges and universities accountable in the financial aid offers they provide to our students.

Learning Objective:
Increase your understanding of college access as it relates to financial fit.

Achieving Resilient Enrollment Management Strategy in the Test-Optional Age

Adapt, advance, and restore enrollment and student success in the test-optional age. Esteemed enrollment experts from campuses spanning selectivity, size, type, and geographic difference will reflect on their experiences with the pandemic-motivated adoption of test-optional admission policies. They’ll share lessons learned, offer wisdom gleaned, and provide practical guidance needed for sustaining enrollment strength .

Learning Objective:
Identify the most prevalent challenges (experienced differently across various campus types) that enrollment managers faced during the pandemic—specifically, those surrounding the rapid adoption of test-optional admission policies.

Beyond Binary: Supporting LGBTQIA Students in the Common App

In today's political and legal climate, LGBTQIA students face unique challenges in applying to college. As Common App expands reporting options for gender, pronouns, and legal sex, a more inclusive application will raise questions about how students should respond, how counselors should advise, and how colleges treat the information. Learn about the research and principles on which these changes are based. We want to hear what these changes will mean for you and your students. Learn from your peers and help inform future resources and support offerings.

Learning Objective:
Understand national trends in students’ reported gender identity and pronoun selection in college applications as well as the growing range of options for legal sex and gender on state and national documents.

Black Excellence Leadership Roundtable

Hear from a panel of Black enrollment leaders with experience across diverse institutional contexts. Topics to be covered include advice for young professionals, finding a “right-fit” employer, the future of higher education, and reconciling your professional mission with institutional priorities.

Learning Objective:
Reflect on how to retain diverse professionals in the field of college admission.

Breaking Down Admission Barriers for Students from Title I Schools

The Coalition for College’s new partnership with Scoir equips hundreds of thousands of students at Title I schools with tools to understand the college admission process and benefit from a simplified application experience. Hear how this partnership will help the Coalition’s collegiate members strengthen their connections to Title I schools and provide more support to low-income and underrepresented students. Come away with a deeper understanding of the Coalition’s access work, ranging from the new integrated application to engagement opportunities with students and their supporters.

Learning Objective:
Learn about an innovative new partnership that seeks to expand access to college support and resources for underserved students. Understand the Coalition’s access work.

Building Bridges through Dual Enrollment

Hybrid education created the need to explore new learning opportunities for secondary school students. Dual enrollment gives students a chance to build confidence, explore options, and earn credits on a college campus. Explore a framework for dual enrollment using the recent partnership between Catholic Memorial (MA) and Wentworth Institute of Technology (MA) as a case study. The “CM-Squared” (Construction Management at Catholic Memorial) collaboration opened the door for students not typically enrolled in Advanced Placement classes to participate in rigorous college-level STEM coursework. Learn about the latest research supporting dual-enrollment initiatives, discuss logistics for launch, hear input from student participants, and take away a toolkit to help start your own dual enrollment collaboration.

Learning Objective:
Understand how dual enrollment can allow students of all ability levels to engage in college-level academics.

Building Resilience for Students with Learning Disabilities: A Bootcamp for Secondary Educators

Prepare your students as they embark on their postsecondary journeys. Learn about the unique steps of identifying best-fit colleges or postsecondary programs for students beginning in ninth grade and identifying the levels of support available to students with learning disabilities. Explore how to secure and implement accommodations in college, review a timeline of “when to do what,” and much more. Walk away with ready-to-use resources and materials to build resilience for students with learning disabilities, specifically related to executive functioning and self-advocacy.

Learning Objective:
Leave with a timeline of “when” to do “what” when advising students with learning disabilities in seeking out accommodations in college, including variable documentation requirements to have in place before freshman year. Gain a better understanding of the accommodations intake meeting with a college’s office of disability services.

Check Yourself: Addressing COVID's Impact on Stress, Stereotypes, and Bias

The ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic include burnout, turnover, and understaffing, which exacerbate the risk of biases influencing our work. Now more than ever, we as college and admission counselors need to build our awareness of and ability to confront conscious and unconscious biases across our field and in our roles. Explore the state of research on stress and biases, consider the impact of bias on our organizations, and build strategies to address bias on both sides of the desk.

Learning Objective:
Establish a shared understanding of bias.

Collective Resiliency: Houston CBOs Differentiate First-Gen Supports

First-generation students of color often face intersectional challenges during their educational journey, and these difficulties were exacerbated by the disproportionate consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. This session highlights the differentiated work of four Houston college access organizations (EMERGE, OneGoal, BridgeYear, and Breakthrough Houston), serving first-gen college students in two- and four-year institutions as we continue to navigate the impact of COVID-19.

Learning Objective:
Examine the unique stressors specific to first-generation college students that impact persistence.

College Essay Guy’s Counselor Resource Extravaganza

Take an interactive tour through a wide range of over 200 resources—don’t worry, we’ll take dance breaks—geared specifically to high school counselors. Topics covered will include tips for leading dynamic essay workshops; essential counseling resources for a new office; 50-plus resources for LGBTQ+ students; what/when/how to reach students more effectively via email; social media templates for hyping campus events; and the best darn financial aid guide you’ve ever seen.

Learning Objective:
Gain practical resources to use with students right away.

College Possible: Helping Foster Youth Access Higher Education

Youth in foster care are an overlooked student demographic in college readiness and access. Find out how to make college possible for this important group of students. Develop engaging strategies that speak to foster youth, foster parents, and caseworkers and learn how to identify resources and funding that make attending college a reality for youth.

Learning Objective:
Learn how recruiting foster youth aids in meeting DEI-related goals and objectives.

Creating An Inclusive Environment for Transgender Students

Learn best practices for working with transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming students, both during high school as they apply to college and after they’ve arrived on campus. Explore strategies and advice on the following topics: guiding students in completing applications and essays; writing the letter of recommendation; identifying trans-friendly colleges, including gender-neutral housing; finding potential scholarships; and more. Examine administrative challenges and opportunities at both high schools and colleges and review the national landscape of challenges faced by students, as well as recent victories and success stories.

Learning Objective:
Identify ways LGBTQIA+ students can best conduct their college search and present themselves in their applications.

Creating Inclusive Admission Practices for Military-Connected Students

Although colleges have a desire to be military-friendly their policies and procedures often create unintended barriers for military-connected students. Additionally, students' journeys to college are unique, making a one-size-fits-all approach difficult. Examine the results of a qualitative research study to understand how service members describe their experiences during the predisposition, search, and choice stages of the college admission process. Come away with tangible actions your office can take to remove obstacles and create pathways to higher education.

Learning Objective:
Learn ways to be more inclusive to military-connected students.

Data is NOT a Four-Letter Word: Use It, Show Impact, and Excel

Become more comfortable with data as you learn how to analyze college-readiness indicators, including college and financial aid applications. Become familiar with research-based strategies to reach larger numbers of students while measuring the impact of your hard work. Learn how to construct a data-driven goal and the steps needed to create a collaborative action plan for improvement. Expand your counselor toolkit with case studies of successful practices.

Learning Objective:
Write a college-focused goal statement and assess your school/organization’s college-readiness indicators.

Decolonize Your College Admission Mind

Gain actionable ideas on how to refresh your college admission mindset via the lens of four island communities. In what ways do we unknowingly reinforce colonial hierarchies in our college admission practices? Let’s open a dialogue on how to build assets and strengths-based frameworks, especially with students from these island communities. Learn how to practice a strengths-based mindset and ways to infuse culturally responsive counseling, recruitment, and retention practices into your office. Lastly, learn why your students should consider the institutions of higher education on Guam, Hawai’i, Puerto Rico, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.

Learning Objective:
Gain firsthand knowledge of culturally responsive counseling, recruitment, and retention practices.

The Demographic Cliff: The Impact on Recruitment of Black Students

The national demand for four-year college-bound high school graduates is projected to drop by 5 percent from 2020 to 2030. This is a result of the decline in birth rates during the 2008 recession and financial crisis. While all institutions will have to reckon with this shift, Historically Black Colleges and Universities will have to respond uniquely as more resources are spent to recruit Black and ethnic minority students. Take a deep dive into what this data means and learn strategies to effectively target and recruit Black students.

Learning Objective:
Understand data on the demographic cliff.

Dialogue Matters: Building Resilience with Difficult Conversations at PWIs

George Floyd’s murder led to questions about the role of systemic racism entrenched in police policy and practice. Likewise, professionals in higher education began in earnest to question their institutions’ policies and practices. The outcome was a seismic shift among institutions to become antiracist. Sadly, the follow-up has not been met with the same energy and enthusiasm as the initial proclamation. Releasing strong statements against social injustice and racist practices is a start, but not enough. Identify and develop dialogue topics to strengthen recruitment of historically underrepresented students and develop strategies to create a culture that acknowledges and addresses the opportunity for change in your organizational spaces.

Learning Objective:
Identify the gaps that can exist in admission offices that challenge antiracist dialogues.

Do More Than Survive: How BIPOC Professionals Can Thrive at PWIs

In ​We Want to Do More Than Survive, author Dr. Bettina Love urges educators to embody the rebellious spirit of abolitionists to achieve educational freedom for our students and ourselves. Tapping into our own rebellious spirits, explore how BIPOC professionals can support themselves and each other as we navigate predominantly white institutions. From how to approach self-advocacy to developing support systems within and beyond our school communities, discuss how BIPOC can thrive in professional environments and achieve educational freedom.

Learning Objective:
Identify resources for mentorship, support, and community for BIPOC professionals in cases where those resources may not exist at the institutional level.

Effective Student Support Services for Postsecondary Readiness

As students transition between grade levels and into postsecondary opportunities after graduation, it has become vital to provide comprehensive student support services to meet students’ academic, social/emotional, and physical needs. During the pandemic, student needs expanded to require purposeful wraparound services, increased family engagement, and innovative postsecondary readiness strategies. As a result, we implemented intentional student support services to address and support the whole student and family. Reflect on lessons learned during the pandemic, including the need to meet student and family needs differently to achieve increased student success and postsecondary readiness.

Learning Objective:
Explore effective wraparound services to meet students’ academic, social/emotional, and physical needs.

Engaging Younger Students for College Success

The current admission cycle typically begins in a student’s junior year. Underserved populations, however, may need an earlier jump-start to meet the same levels of readiness as their more privileged peers. Learn the importance of outreach during the ninth and 10th grade years and hear success stories from urban and rural settings. Explore the need for secondary and collegiate partnerships to make these early interactions possible.

Learning Objective:
Demonstrate the importance of early engagement in college and career exploration.

Ethical Implications of Holistic Admission: Doing the Right Thing

College admission is going through a period of profound change. Past practices that were widely accepted are being questioned with respect to equity, ethics, and fundamental fairness. As colleges gravitate toward holistic admission, including the elevation of character attributes, admission offices must address underlying ethical issues. Identify important ethical and philosophical issues, where ethical problems or dilemmas may occur, and implications for the future of college admission.

Learning Objective:
Internalize the idea that admission has ethical implications.

The Future of ACT/SAT-Optional and Test-Blind/Score-Free Admission

More than 1,800 colleges and universities did not require applicants to submit ACT/SAT scores for fall 2022 admission. At least 1,650 schools have extended those policies through fall 2023 and, in many cases, years beyond. Why have so many schools dropped testing mandates and what are the initial impacts? How many of these policies will become permanent? What are the long-term implications for equity and inclusion? How will the college application process change for high school students and admission offices? Hear from leaders of major institutions that have adopted test-optional and test-blind policies.

Learning Objective:
Understand the current status of admission testing requirements.

The Future of Race-Conscious Admission: Update on the UNC and Harvard Cases

Hear an update on SFFA vs. University of North Carolina and other relevant cases. How did we get here and what are the prospects of race-conscious admission policies being overturned by the US Supreme Court? What steps are being taken in support of the use of race in admission decisions? What will be the impact of this decision on admission practices? Join us for a robust discussion (with more questions than answers).

Learning Objective:
Understand the context and issues in the US Supreme Court cases involving race-conscious admission.

"He's So Articulate": Avoiding Bias in Recommendation Letters

Recommendation letters provide valuable insight and can sometimes tip the scales in admission and scholarship decisions. College counselors are well-positioned to provide unique, first-hand accounts of our interactions with students, but what happens when bias creeps into letters? Learn about a framework for approaching letters through a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens and access an adaptable resource to help you build a resilient and sustainable anti-bias letter-writing culture at your school.

Learning Objective:
Develop a stronger understanding of various types of bias. Examine how bias can affect recommendation letters.

How to Level the Playing Field for First-Generation, Low-Income Students 

First-generation, low-income students face several barriers and equity issues when applying to and attending college. Examine data and evidence collected from literature, policies, and professional experiences to identify roadblocks and ways to make the admission and education process more equitable. Discuss the correlation between institutional DEI initiatives, student success, and satisfaction. Then explore the roles college counseling plays in diversifying the student body as well as ways counseling and admission can influence student body demographics.

Learning Objective:
Identify and recognize barriers that first-generation, low-income students and students of color face. Understand how removing these barriers provides a more equitable education process for all students.

In Defense of Boundaries

“Love what you do and never work a day in your life.” While a lovely sentiment, this adage can turn harmful–especially for those in “helper” professions like education–if not paired with carefully considered and firm boundaries. Join us for a conversation about boundaries: what they are, how to establish them, and why they are especially important coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hear how developing these boundaries can influence institutional cultures that concurrently value high productivity and effectiveness with sustainability and balance, both for an organization and its personnel.

Learning Objective:
Gain the ability to articulate why professional boundaries promote resilience.

Increasing Refugee Access to Higher Education

Today, there are 84 million forcibly displaced persons across the world. Many are young people with dreams and aspirations. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, only 5 percent of refugee youth are enrolled in colleges or universities. Significant barriers—including lack of access to internet connectivity, standardized testing, travel documentation, information, and college counseling—prevent refugees from fulfilling their potential. Learn about the challenges refugees face and what we can do to make higher education more accessible to them. Help chart a better path forward for refugees across the world and for universities that stand to gain from their immense talents and skills.

Learning Objective:
Understand the challenges that refugees face in accessing higher education.

Navigating Identity Intersections Through Leadership and Growth Opportunities

A recent NACAC report, DEI Challenges in the College Admission Counseling Profession, highlights the underrepresentation of BIPOC professionals in leadership positions. Opportunities for growth and advancement often come when least expected and in places we do not anticipate. Successful transitions into these senior roles, especially for BIPOC professionals and those tied to traditionally underserved communities, can be inhibited by unfamiliar institutional contexts and limited access to mentorship. Hear testimonials and guidance on how to transition between academic settings, navigate new institutional contexts, and leverage key networks to promote sustainable success for those seeking leadership roles.

Learning Objective:
Learn how to leverage your personal identity in order to advance your professional goals.

Not Your Model Minority: Examining the Complexities of Asian America

The model minority myth perpetuates the idea that Asian American students are rule-following academic overachievers who play the piano. Through natural brilliance or their by-the-bootstraps immigrant values, they are achievers of the American Dream. So how is the model minority myth harmful? It treats Asian Americans as a monolithic group, ignores the individuality of each student, and implies that they don’t experience racism or need external support. Explore the model minority myth, discuss disaggregated data, and learn suggestions for working with Asian American students during the college process.

Learning Objective:
Understand how the model minority myth can impact the college process on both sides of the desk.

The Pontem Path: College Readiness for First-Generation College Students

Learn about the Pontem Path, a successful model that has helped create a pathway to college for student participants in San Diego, California. The Pontem Path is built upon a foundation of connectedness and education. Student participants leverage relationships with program counselors and take part in a series of workshops to help gain a better understanding of the skills necessary to obtain acceptance to and success in college. In addition, the program’s partnership with the University of San Diego allows students to access resources available at the institution and eliminates existing barriers of entry.

Learning Objective:
Learn about a successful bridge program for first-generation college students.

Prison to University Pipeline: Illuminating Pathways for Incarcerated and Returning Scholars

While more than 35 percent of American adults have earned at least a bachelor’s degree, fewer than 1 percent of individuals who have been incarcerated have done so. Learn about efforts already underway to assist this population in degree attainment. Then discuss ways admission officers, college counselors, and professionals at nonprofit organizations can tap into their experience and expertise to support aspiring college students who are incarcerated or making the transition back to their communities.

Learning Objective:
Examine the many hurdles that incarcerated scholars and those returning to society face in seeking postsecondary access and success.

Prospective Family Engagement: A Path to Equity Through Access to Information

Using data from a 2022 study conducted in collaboration with 30 institutions from across the US, learn strategies to ensure better and more equitable access to college information for all students. The study includes data collected from more than 6,000 families of prospective college students at an array of private, public, and two-year institutions. Delve into data points that highlight how communication preferences (both in channel and frequency) are tied to income and family college experience (first-generation status)—and learn how these variations can result in a lack of equity in access to key college planning information.

Learning Objective:
Learn how equity in access to college information is key to equity in access to higher education.

Proud to be First: Tools and Strategies to Empower First-Generation Families

We all work with students who are first: first to attend college (or first to attend college in the United States), first to attend an independent school, first to consider colleges that their families have never heard of or never imagined would be possible. How and when do we engage with populations who are first? And how do we instill a sense of pride to be first, whatever first might be? Learn specific techniques to engage with first-generation families. Topics will include understanding the emotions of first-generation students and families, parent weekend programming, exposure opportunities, faculty support, and community-based organization collaboration. In a constantly evolving admission landscape, the techniques we utilize as professionals must cater to the specific needs of our families. Further your understanding of how it feels to be “first-gen” and take away shareable resources to help you serve students and families.

Learning Objective:
Develop a more nuanced understanding of first-generation students and families.

Racism is (Also) Resilient: How White Supremacy Persists in Equitable Admission

Resilience is not exclusive to the forces of good in the universe. Racism is also resilient. Enter a dialogue with colleagues as panelists pose thought-provoking questions about how white supremacy is still present in our equitable admission practices. This session is not designed to be instructive; rather, it is intended to raise uncomfortable questions for admission practitioners to ask themselves as we dismantle racism and white supremacy in college admission.

Learning Objective:
Identify and acknowledge white supremacy in the college admission process.

Started from the Bottom, Now We're Here: Maintaining Resilience During Organizational Change

In his 2013 hit, Started from the Bottom, hip hop artist Drake recounts his journey from humble beginnings and his meteoric rise to fame. In a similar vein, learn about the many challenges faced by one team as they attempted to rebuild a dormant alumni advising program. Hear their story and examine ways alumni advising can remain steadfast amid organizational change. Discuss major accomplishments, opportunities for future growth, and how other high school and college preparatory professionals focused on alumni advising can start from the bottom and work up to the top.

Learning Objective:
Understand best practices for alumni advising within the context of a college preparatory school that serves low-income, first-generation students.

Steps to Flourishing: Using Lived Experiences to Inform Programming for Former Foster Youth

Only 50 percent of youth served by the foster care system graduate from high school; 3 percent earn a college degree. What are the most common barriers to matriculation and eventual graduation? Despite previous programs and efforts, the college graduation rates are not improving as hoped. Hear how one child welfare agency is connecting with former foster youth and making changes in career and college exploration based on students’ lived experiences. Then learn how a community college has created spaces to provide students with wraparound services and options that empower them to persevere and work toward personal independence and educational success. Both programs are meeting students where they are and reducing barriers to career success and degree completion.

Learning Objective:
Increase your knowledge of the statistics surrounding former foster youth and postsecondary educational success.

Tangible Ways to Counteract Bias in the College Admission Process

Understanding that we are all biased beings lays the foundation for deeper conversations about equity and inclusion. This foundational session offers crucial understandings about what we see, what we don’t, and how our brains contribute to stereotyping. Consider how bias fuels systemic inequity, then learn and practice concrete strategies to mitigate your own biases as you advise students in the admission process.

Learning Objective:
Understand the difference between implicit and explicit bias.

Transforming Admission to Expand Opportunity for Underserved Students

Expanding access requires not only lowering complex logistical, financial, and systemic barriers, but a revolutionary shift in the admission process altogether. What if we could develop a more equitable system from the ground up? What if we could create a system that does a better job of helping students match with and enroll at colleges and helps colleges recruit a new set of students? This past fall, a pilot project called Greenlight Match (which included 25 CBOs/schools and 10 institutions) increased college access for first-gen and lower-income students by flipping the script on traditional college admission. Could this be the future of more equitable, accessible, and inclusive admission?

Learning Objective:
Understand the challenges first-generation, lower-income students face in the current college application process.

Using Data to Improve College Readiness

Discuss best practices to utilize, disaggregate, and apply data to improve college readiness with indicators such enrollment in honors, Advanced Placement, and dual-credit courses; SAT/ACT scores; and career and technical education certifications/licensures. Learn how to encourage rigor and readiness by harnessing the power of your student information system to collect data and systematically target students "on the bubble."

Learning Objective:
Identify types of data to collect to improve college readiness.

Voices of Asian American Pacific Islanders: Shared Experiences of Resilience in High School and College

Learn about the history of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in education, the assumptions and stereotypes associated with this community, and ways to support AAPI students and staff. Then delve into the recent rise of anti-Asian crime and violence as well as discussions surrounding recent secondary and postsecondary admission lawsuits. View survey results that reflect resilient voices of AAPI members from high school and higher education and identify ways you can actively support students and professionals.

Learning Objective:
Understand how the historical and current rise of anti-Asian crime and violence impacts AAPI students, families, and professionals today.

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