I have just returned from the annual conference for the New England Association of College Admission Counselors (NEACAC) and feel great about going. The nice thing is that this conference deals with most of the major topics in US post-secondary education covered by the national conference but is affordable for a counsellor on a budget!
One might ask why a Canadian counsellor goes to a New England conference but I feel it is important to stay in touch which changes in University admissions which may impact the students I work with. Some of my students are interested in applying to US Universities so part of my responsibility is to be aware of what is happening. It also gives me the chance to brag a little about what Canadians have to offer. I was thrilled to see a full room for my presentation about Canadian Universities as well as the number of US counsellors who spoke to me after about the wonderful value our Universities are for US students. We tend to forget that Canada is a great destination for international students.
One of the big topics at the conference was concerning the new SAT which will be initiated in March 2016. There are some pretty substantial changes being made to the test so it will be important for students to be aware of what they are heading into. Gone are the old SAT word pairs (thank goodness) but the revised testing will take longer, almost 4 hours…. and will involve significantly more reading throughout the test (including the math sections). Looking at the style of questions, the new SAT will be testing more curriculum knowledge rather than simply measuring aptitude. Detailed information regarding the changes to the test can be found at: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org. One of the positive changes is that students can sign up for FREE on-line test preparation through a partnership between the Collegeboard and Khan Academy (a large on-line education provider) removing the advantage more affluent students once had with their ability to pay for significant test preparation. Details can be found at: https://www.khanacademy.org/sat. Certainly any student considering application to a US University should take advantage of this service.
The other big news which Canadian counsellors need to be aware of is the upcoming changes to the NCAA guidelines for eligibility. Starting in August 2016, the sliding scale which was introduced a few years ago will change slightly so that the students on the lower end of the scale can be red-shirted (allowed to practice and receive scholarship but not allowed to play) for their first year of eligibility. A downloadable summary of the changes is available through the NCAA website at: http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/eligibility_center/Quick_Reference_Sheet.pdf. Many a student athlete is surprised to hear they aren’t eligible for US athletic recruitment due to not completing their 16 core high school subject requirements in the allowable time frame. Counsellors play a key role in helping students ensure they remain eligible.
Last but not least, this conference provided me the opportunity to sit down and discuss the issues facing students transitioning into post-secondary education with like-minded counsellors. Whether over a meal or a glass of wine, the discussion never wandered far from our primary focus of supporting our students. How refreshing!
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA