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Fall 2014 Newsletter

Message from the president By: Jane Mathias President, NYSACAC Chair, NACAC Imagine Grant Committee Director of Guidance Nardin Academy

Greetings from NACAC and Welcome to NYSACAC and a new school year! For high school counselors it means a new crop of seniors and a new class of freshmen to guide through high school and the college process, and for the college counselors it means a new season of travel and recruitment. We are all full of the latest statistics and research from our summer reading, and while May 1 seems quite far off, we know the time will pass quickly. continued on page 3

In this issue:

From the President 1&3 NYSACAC Conference 4 Member Spotlight 5 E arly Options In Dating... 6-7 Symptons Of Asperger’s 7-9 Love For the Cause 10-11 CBO Spotlight 12-13 Counselor Summit 15 Meet Your Delegates 16-17 Voices of the Many 18-19 Student Spotlight 20-21 Consider Running... 21 Student Leaders in... 23 Challenges in Counseling 23-25 Summer Institute 26-28 Counting Down the.. 29 Announcments 30



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NYSACAC has had a busy summer. Two highly successful weekends of Camp College were hosted by Canisius College and SUNY Potsdam respectively. Headed by Marie Nocella of Siena College and Doug McNabb of St. John’s University, a team of volunteers and mentors led under-represented, rising high school juniors and seniors through exercises, workshops, and social activities meant to simulate college life and acquaint them with the information they will need to be well informed and effective college applicants. More than one hundred fifty students benefitted from these two weekends. Many thanks to all the volunteers, and especially to Marie and Doug for their efforts throughout the year to make Camp College a reality. In the last week of July, the NYSACAC executive board held a two and a half day retreat at Marist College to plan for the year ahead. Forty board members: elected delegates and officers, and committee co-chairs attended this work session to allocate resources, to get to know one another, and to work creatively to make plans for the coming year. Our enthusiasm was high and we left Poughkeepsie with a lot of work on our agenda to implement all of the great ideas that were generated. August brought NYSACAC’s Summer Institute for college admissions professionals with zero to three years of experience, and high school professionals with zero to five years of experience. A team of experienced mentors and faculty members assembled at Skidmore College for four intense days of exposure and training on just about everything they might need to be successful. Most important, perhaps, were the relationships formed that will lead to collaborations and camaraderie in the future. Summer Institute alums are a loyal group! Thank you to coordinators Heidi Green of Fayetteville-Manlius High School, John Young of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and Sarah Ireland of Skidmore College and their volunteer staff. Having the opportunity to attend both of these programs and to lead the executive board retreat were highlights of my own summer. I am very proud of the work that we do while always looking to do more and to do it better. As I write this article, I am at NACAC’s annual conference in Indianapolis where more than 5000 members of our profession are gathered this week. Planning for next June’s annual conference and Coming Together at Utica College, meeting with the board, and participating in the national and international dialogue about college admissions with representatives of every constituency are all part of the work we will be doing here. We will also have our semi-annual general meeting, and I hope to see many of you there. Our goals for the year are to broaden our geographic outreach and serve our members in public and private high schools, CBO’s, and two and four-year colleges. Please watch for our member survey and help us identify the ways we can be relevant and helpful to you. It is an important component to our agenda in the months ahead.

My very best wishes to all of you for a wonderful start to the new year!


The Transformation of Education Coming Together and 36th Annual NYSACAC Conference at Adelphi University A picture is worth a thousand words... 798 Attendees Over 300 colleges, universities,

high schools, & organizations represented

70+ Educational Sessions 3 Mega Sessions featuring leading industry-experts

4 Coming Together Workshops 4 College Tours Networking Opportunities, Legislative sessions, Inspirational Speakers

Knowledge and Memories that will last a lifetime!


Lisa Searle NACAC 2014 RISING STAR

By: Gerard Turbide

Director of Admission, Ithaca College NYSACAC is proud to recognize Lisa Searle as a 2014 NACAC and NYSACAC Rising Star Award recipient. A 2011 graduate from our Summer Institute Program, Lisa has served as Admission Counselor at Ithaca College since 2009. Her unlimited enthusiasm and tireless commitment to excellence have impacted the lives of countless college-bound students. Lisa has engaged in a wide range of activities within NYSACAC:

· Host-site coordinator for the First-Timer Reception and a student-volunteer coordinator for the 2012 Annual Conference at Ithaca College; publicity director for the Summer Institute; · Co-chair of the First-Timer Reception and Conference Mentor for the 2013 Annual Conference at Canisius College; · Evaluations co-chair for the 2014 Annual Conference at Adelphi University; · College Fairs Committee co-chair beginning in 2013 and site coordinator for NYSACAC college fairs held at Ithaca College; and · Professional Development Committee co-chair beginning in 2014

NYSACAC is honored to have Lisa Searle as an active and engaged member of our organization. Lisa’s many contributions to NYSACAC, and the college admission profession, are indeed exemplary. Congratulations, Lisa!

NYSACAC’s current presidential leadership and past presidents gathered at the NYSACAC Conference at Adelphi University.


Early Options in Dating Terms By: Amy Estersohn Some students say they are going to apply to college “early.” However, many of these students don’t realize that “early” isn’t specific enough, as it describes four different things: • Early Decision I (EDI) is like a marriage proposal. If you ask the college to admit you by applying EDI, you are obligated to attend. You can’t apply to multiple colleges Early Decision I simultaneously just the way you can’t ask multiple people to marry you simulatenously. • Early Decision II (ED2) is also a marriage proposal, but with a later deadline than EDI. Not every college that offers EDI offers an ED2, either. Some students who were turned down by their EDI school will use ED2 as an opportunity to propose to another college. Otherwise might need more time to fill out applications or make a college list. Like ED1, ED2 is binding (students are obligated to attend the college that admits them) and exclusive. You show your commitment to an ED2 college by only applying to one! Benefits of Early Decision programs for students are assurance and security. The benefits include: • An opportunity to let a college know that that college is a top choice • An opportunity to be evaluated in a smaller application pool • Students and parents who receive an early “yes” have some peace of mind and know what college-branded gear to buy for holiday shopping Benefits of Early Decision programs for colleges are also, not surprisingly, assurance and security. Those benefits include: • Getting an early start on a “head count” for how many students will be in the freshman class by knowing which specific students will be attending • The security of knowing that your Early Decision students aren’t also applying to or considering attending other colleges We’re not done yet, though! There are two other kinds of “early” programs. • Early Action (EA) is like asking a college out on a date as opposed to Early Decision, which is like a marriage proposal. Early Action is non-binding -- there is no obligation to attend -- AND non-exclusive -- you can “shop around” at other colleges with Early Action and Early Decision plans. You can ask multiple colleges out on dates; you can usually even ask one college for a hand in marriage while you ask multiple colleges out on dates, though you will want to check with individual colleges about their policies regarding other schools, just like you’d want to see if it’s okay with somebody you’re about to ask on a date that you are going to also ask somebody to marry you. 6

The benefits of Early Action for students include: • The opportunity to get a “fat and happy” acceptance letter earlier in senior year • The opportunity to let a college know that they are a top choice -- if a student is deferred from Early Action, they have an opportunity to be reconsidered for admission during Regular Decision. • Students may continue to apply to other colleges even after hearing back from an Early Action school • Students can visit campus after being admitted before making a final choice The benefits of Early Action for colleges include: • An early start to reading college applications (and more of them) • An opportunity to know that the student has a strong interest in the college even though they might not be able to commit to an Early Decision kind of agreement Benefits of Early Decision programs for colleges are also, not surprisingly, assurance and security. Those benefits include: • Getting an early start on a “head count” for how many students will be in the freshman class by knowing which specific students will be attending • The security of knowing that your Early Decision students aren’t also applying to or considering attending other colleges We’re not done yet, though! There are two other kinds of “early” programs. • Early Action (EA) is like asking a college out on a date as opposed to Early Decision, which is like a marriage proposal. Early Action is non-binding -- there is no obligation to attend -- AND non-exclusive -- you can “shop around” at other colleges with Early Action and Early Decision plans. You can ask multiple colleges out on dates; you can usually even ask one college for a hand in marriage while you ask multiple colleges out on dates, though you will want to check with individual colleges about their policies regarding other schools, just like you’d want to see if it’s okay with somebody you’re about to ask on a date that you are going to also ask somebody to marry you.

The Symptons of Asperger’s By: Dr. Richard O’Connell, Ed.D.

Upon the request of many counselors after participating in a conference on Asperger’s/Autism, I was asked to share the symptoms of Asperger’s, now referred to as the high end of the Autism Spectrum. I am not a certified clinician but I have researched the National Institute of Mental Disorders and The Mayo Clinic for accurate information pertaining to Asperger’s. “Asperger’s is one of a distinct group of neurological conditions characterized by a greater or lesser degree of impairment in language and communication skills, as well as repetitive or restrictive patterns of thought and behavior.” continued page 8


continued from page 7

*I am a co-author, with Alex Olinkiewicz, of a book on Asperger’s, In My Mind. His successful YouTube video of the same name has over 1,400,000 viewers. Watch it for the illuminating way Alex explains his symptoms through his metaphor like graphics. Presented here are the symptoms of Asperger’s. When I can, I try to give practical examples or comments on Alex’s disorder so as to make more understandable each symptom. Please note that not all symptoms are applicable to each Asperger’s person; but over all, they will have many of them. 1. They engage in one-sided, long-winded conversations, without noticing if the listener is listening or trying to change the subject. Some children with Asperger’s have become experts on vacuum cleaners, makes and models of cars, even objects as odd as deep fat fryers. When I first met Alex he was really into his fictional anima, “The Crystal Sword,” which he would talk about incessantly. It is even part of his email address. Fortunately today, he has outgrown this. 2. An Asperger’s person may have problems with non-verbal communication, including the restricted use of gestures, limited or inappropriate facial expressions, or a peculiar, stiff gaze, socially and emotionally inappropriate behavior and the inability to interact successfully with peers. Alex tells the story as a young teenager that he wondered what it would be like to kiss a girl. He approached a teenager without any explanation and just kissed her. Again, when students were asked to do pushups in physical education class, they were cheered on by theirs peers. When it came to Alex’s turn, there was a dead silence. He couldn’t understand why he wasn’t cheered on. He was emotionally very hurt. 3. Children with Asperger’s may have developmental delays in motor skills such as pedaling a bike, catching a ball, or climbing outdoor play equipment. They are often awkward and poorly coordinated with a walk that can appear either stilted or bouncy. In Alex’s case, he developed a need to sit Indian style because of the sensitivity in his feet. This caused a conflict with one of his teachers who insisted he sit normally. Alex would leave the classroom in tears. This sitting posture early hindered his ability to drive as well. As he matured, he learned to drive sitting Indian style but extending one foot. (Please note, that this example is reason to hope for children with Asperger’s as well as the fact that Alex has learned to live on his own. Alex is now twenty three.) 4. People with Asperger’s may approach other people, but make normal conversation impossible by inappropriate or eccentric behavior. Unlike the severe withdrawal from the rest of the world that is characteristic of some with autism, children with Asperser’s are isolated because of their poor social skills and narrow interests. Let Alex speak for himself as to his sense of isolation: “As for loneliness, I still have a it a lot.... I spend most of my days alone. I have trouble finding relationships....You know, I want to meet a girl and hang out.”


Additional information relating to Asperger’s: 5. Many children with Asperger’s are highly active in early childhood, and then develop anxiety or depression in young adulthood. Other conditions that often co-exist with Asperger’s are ADD, tic disorders (such as Pteriidae syndrome), depression, anxiety disorders, and OCD. Alex takes medication for depression. 6. Stimming: According to AUTISM SPEAKS, “Stimming is basically the actions and behaviors used to help a person with Asperger’s calm the nervous system. “Stimming is a way to scratch a neuroglial itch.” It may include head banging on a pillow, bouncing, tapping feet, fingers or head and even clapping hands. In Alex’s case his hand movements have calmed down and has evolved to simply patting the top of his hand. “I have changed some of my stimming to some other kind of relief. I still need a distraction when my mind is overloaded or panicking.” Dr. Pepper is another outlet which relieves Alex’s tensions. Please note for a full understanding of Asperger’s, Alex’s book IN MY MIND is replete with moving and shocking examples of Asperger’s symptoms. In fact, his book may be called “the complete definition of Asperger’s.” Dr. O’Connell has also written a book for counselors, The Secrets To Bing A Great School Counselor. He claims it is a great book for all school counselors because it is based on over forty years of his mistakes.

Have Your StudentS ConneCt WitH uS on CampuS Upcoming Fall Open Houses sUnday, OctOber 26 satUrday, nOvember 15 10:00 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Just 23 miles from New York City, Adelphi University provides a vibrant academic and student life, including extraordinary study abroad, internship and community service opportunities. Learn more at our Fall Open Houses.

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Love for the Cause By Marie Nocella

Assistant Director of Admission & Multicultural Recruitment, Siena College Co-Director of NYSACAC Camp College Whether cheering for Kayaking, imbibing at Happy Hour, collecting at Panera Bread, or supporting Camp College year round, the love for Camp College was definitely felt this year. For those of us who are passionate about college access for the underserved, Camp College has touched our lives in a special way. We’ve seen our students grow and experienced a powerful transformation in our own lives. We want to highlight two incredible events, and the people that made them possible. Bill Short, Director of HEOP at St. Lawrence University, kayaked down the Hudson River this spring to raise money for Camp College. The 120-mile paddle wasn’t without its bumps, but we laughed and encouraged each other the whole way. With a goal of $5,000, generous donations helped us to surpass our goal and our current total is $7,000! Annie Brickel, the Chairperson for Kayak for Camp College, had this to say about her dear friend Bill, “He is, without question, one of the best human beings on the planet.” We don’t think anyone would argue! One week after Kayak for Camp College, Beverly Santos organized a phenomenal Happy Hour in Manhattan, also to raise funds for this summer. Amber Long leads this amazing fundraising team, all of whom are full of enthusiasm! “The event was wildly popular with NYC people supporting Camp College because they really believe in the cause,” said Carla Shere.


Always giving her full support to the NYSACAC Committees that report to her,

Karen Staller wrote, “I love the passion that exudes from Team IAS!” We are thankful to have a VP of Inclusion, Access, and Success as involved and supportive as Karen. As we close our second summer as Camp College Directors, Doug and I are so thankful for all of the wonderful people in our personal and professional lives that support what we do. We’ve been mentored by amazing people and surrounded by enthusiasm. We are grateful to be in a profession with the opportunity to help underserved students. We know we get back far more than what we give, but our profession continually strives to give back more. Thank you to everyone who gives back more.

Special Thanks to Canisius College and SUNY Potsdam for hosting our 2014 Camps!

CBO Spotlight

By Cindy Perez Director of College Guidance, Prep for Prep “When I walked into your office, I was a scared, anxious first generation college applicant. You supported me every step of the way. If it wasn’t for you, I never would never have been accepted to Princeton.” -- Thank you note from high school senior Kadeem - Staff members at Prep for Prep, the New York City-based leadership development program, receive many such thank you notes every year after they assist their high school seniors in the highly competitive college admissions and financial aid process. Since 1978, Prep has identified New York City’s most able students of color through a highly selective admissions process and prepared them for placement at leading independent schools in the City and boarding schools throughout the Northeast. Once placed in independent school, Prep offers its students a sense of community, peer support, critical post-placement services, college counseling, and a host of leadership development opportunities through college graduation. The results are compelling: More Prep students have graduated from Harvard than any other institution; 91% of Prep’s 2,435 college graduates have earned degrees from the most competitive colleges in the country. They are emerging leaders in every field from business and law, to education and the arts, to science and medicine. Prep’s comprehensive program begins with an aggressive, citywide admissions effort in which more than 6,000 nominated students compete annually for approximately 225 places. Admitted students complete a rigorous, 14-month academic “boot camp” spanning two summers and the intervening school year. Following the second summer, Prep students earn places at leading New York City independent day schools and Northeast boarding schools. Some of the resources and services Prep provides students through high school graduation include monthly counseling meetings, weekly social and cultural activities, college guidance, leadership training, and a variety of summer opportunities to develop leadership and professional skills. These services aim to broaden students’ aspirations, increase their sense of life’s possibilities, and build a stronger sense of self. Finally, Prep college undergraduates and graduates have access to counseling and a broad range of professional advancement, leadership development, and social and professional networking. Prep’s College Guidance department offers a number of programs and activities to supplement the resources of our students’ independent schools to help them make the


best college match. Services include financial aid counseling, one-to-one information meetings, SAT preparation, and the annual summer College Guidance Panel Series. Admissions representatives from leading colleges staff the panels to inform and answer questions for rising high school juniors and seniors and their families. Topics range from “Scientists and Engineers Don’t Just Happen” to “Beyond the Mason-Dixon Line: College Life in the South.” College trips are a signature, crucial component of college guidance and enable (took out the word “our) students to make informed decisions regarding their college application and matriculation process. The trips are particularly important given the Prep student demographic: a majority of (took out the word “our”) students are the first in their family to attend college and usually qualify for full financial aid. For many students, Prep’s College Trips are the only opportunity to visit schools outside of New York City. During these trips, students narrow down their school choices and consider institutions that they may not have been aware of otherwise. Participating students gain a first-hand preview of campus life in multiple schools through classes, information sessions, and overnight dormitory stays. In the spring of their junior year, 104 members of Prep’s high school Class of 2014 participated in at least one spring trip to colleges and universities such as Georgetown, Hamilton, MIT, and Yale. Nearly 90% of that graduating class will matriculate at a Barron’s ranked Most or Highly Competitive college this fall, with nearly a third of the class attending an Ivy League school. Most popular school choices this year include: Wesleyan (9 students), Harvard (8), Columbia (7), Penn (5), and Yale (5). We wish them all the best in their freshman year. “It’s gratifying work to match such tremendously talented and hardworking students with the right colleges. We know we are placing them in environments where they will thrive and encouraging their path to leadership,” says Cindy M. Perez, Prep’s Director of College Guidance. For more information, please visit or email us at


Marketing to the next degree Engage the next generation of students anytime, anywhere. Student Search Online Applications Predictive Modeling Enrollment Strategy eCommunications eViewbooks Websites Event Manager Video Production Brand Development Portal & Microsites Media & Advertising Response Fulfillment Admitted Yield Program

516.442.4650 Based in New York and dedicated to helping higher education institutions succeed.

Summary- Counselor Summit 2014 By: Lisa C. Carr, Ed.D.

School Counselor, Bethlethem Central High School Member of School-College Relations Committee, NYSACAC On two sunny days in April (April 7 & 8, 2014) at the Desmond Hotel in Albany, NY, more than 200 counselors, educators and members of NYSED from New York State came together to discuss, inspire, and explore ideas and best practices at the NYS School Counselor Summit. The main room where everyone met for the morning and afternoon sessions was buzzing and electric when I walked in at 8:00 am. I was excited and honored to attend this conference with two colleagues from my home district of Bethlehem Central School District. I was a panelist for Lens 2, “Administrative and Community Support: How policies, regulations and initiatives support school counseling across the P-16 continuum in providing students opportunities and pathways to college and career readiness.� The conference was sponsored by the NYS Education Department Office of K-16 Initiatives and Access Programs and was attended by school counselors, counselor educators and administrators from NYS State. NYSED, NYSSCA, ACT, Guidance Direct, CTE, CICU, and College Board were all sponsors for the Summit. After each session, participants met in small groups with educators from various parts of NYS to brainstorm and make recommendations that were presented to the Board of Regents in June 2014. Some of the recommendations that resonated with me were: Require that every P-12 student have access to a fully implemented comprehensive school counseling program, require and provide consistent pre-service preparation and certification for school counselors in NYS reflecting current and future needs of P-12 students and develop direct communication and support between NYSED and district/ building leaders and school counselors. In our breakout group we discussed the need for a comprehensive P-12 model, why counselor education programs should be more consistent, the importance of data-driven decision-making and accountability, and the essential collaboration between building leaders and counselors. On the last day of the Summit, I sat with my colleagues to process and reflect all of the wonderful information discussed during the conference. We decided to schedule a meeting with the Assistant Superintendent to share highlights from the conference (a recommendation made by a panelist from Lens 2). I also had a conversation with my friends at Sage Graduate School to talk about trends and contemporary issues that we can share with graduate students. At the conference, I met new educator friends and reconnected with many counselors and educators. This dynamic conference provided me with an opportunity to consider how I can improve my efficiency each day by utilizing data and technology. These types of professional development conferences are critical for school counselors. Getting involved with NYSSCA, NYSACAC, NYACES and NACAC in addition to many other professional organizations helps our profession, the students we serve, and the new educators entering the field. I look forward to seeing my friends at NACAC in Indianapolis in September 2014.

13 Summary of conference recommendations: click here to read School Counselor Summit 2014 Report. 15

Meet your High School

William Cardamone Director of College Counseling Manlius Pebble Hill School Term 2012-2015

Annemarie Cervoni School Counselor Orchard Park High School Term 2013-2016

Ana J. Henriquez College Advisor Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics Term 2014-2017

Casey J. Pedrick Director of College Counseling Stuyvesant High School Term 2012-2015

Marissa Guijarro School Counselor Suffern High School Term 2012-2015

Cassie Magesis Deputy Directory of College Readiness The Urban Assembly Term 2013-2016

Bryan Smith School Counselor Clarkstown High School North Term 2013-2016

Mitchell L. Thompson, Jr. Dean of Students Scarsdale High School Term 2014-2017

delegates College

Joe Cosentino Director of Admission Manhattanville College Term 2014-2015

Sarah Ireland Associate Director of Admission Skidmore College Term 2013-2016

Christine Murphy Assistant Vice President of Admissions Adelphi University Term 2014-2015

Patricia Peek Director of Undergraduate Admission Fordham University Term 2013-2016

Chris Milton Assistant Director of Recruitment Brooklyn College - CUNY Term 2013-2016

Marie Nocella Assistant Director of Admission & Multicultural Recruitment Siena College Term 2014-2017

Lauren Sangimnio Assistant Director Stony Brook University Term 2014-2017

Costas Solomou, Ed.D. Director of Admissions Programs University of Rochester Term 2014-2017

Voices of the Many

The Students at the Brooklyn Education Talent Search, TRiO Program As a show of gratitude, the students wrote letters explaining their experiences at the Brooklyn College Educational Talent Search, TRiO program this summer. The following letter is the combination of the letters from all of the students and truly summarizes how #TRiOWorks

At the beginning of the summer, we did not all have positive outlooks for the program. Most of us thought it would be just like school all over again and dreaded having to attend school during the summer. We just wanted to relax during these two months. Thankfully, our parents realized just how valuable this program is and signed us up anyway. This isn’t surprising since “Parents know best.� Now, I realize if I had stayed home all summer, I would have regretted it. Instead of being home and doing nothing, I was able to sharpen my academic and social skills.


This program truly has its advantages. Thanks to the different classes offered in the program - Math, Reading and Writing, I will be ahead of my class when I go back to school in September - especially when it comes to writing persuasive and informative essays, and solving absolute value and slope equations. Thanks to the numerous spelling bees, I am more prepared for the SAT exam. As a rising senior, I was confused about the college financial aid process but thanks to the financial literacy class, I know about the different types of aid including loans and how to calculate interest.


The other rising freshmen students and I were happy to be surrounded by students who were already in high school. The upperclassmen students were able to give us advice about the differences between high school and middle school and what we should expect within the next four years. It’s hard to trust new people but I realized I could trust the staff as well as the other students in the program thanks to the trust building exercises we did. I was able to meet new people and I didn’t expect to do so but I have made friendships that will hopefully last long after the summer program ends. Thanks to the showcase practices, I was able to find out just how talented some of my friends are, whether they were singing, dancing or playing music.


We visited numerous colleges and fairs and I realized just how endless my options are when choosing a college. I learned about over a hundred different colleges after attending the Columbia College fair and what the requirements for getting accepted into those schools are. We visited colleges such as University of Albany, BMCC and Old Westbury and received a tour of the Brooklyn College campus. I have new schools to add to my college list now after seeing what those colleges had to offer.


Talent Search is more than just an academic program and I am glad I decided to attend the summer program. We did more than just learn. We gained the confidence and support needed to reach for our goals. The program even gave us an opportunity to explore our inner non-academic talent by giving us a chance to perform in the showcase. Dancing and singing with friends was a great way to end the program. The counselors always made us feel welcome, making it a privilege to be a part of this program. The staff was always ready and willing to help any student who needed it even if the issue wasn’t an academic problem. The Talent Search staff were all great, supportive mentors in this program and quite frankly the best mentors I’ve ever had. This was one of my most productive summers ever and we’re all happy that we decided to join TRiO. This program should be done every summer and we definitely plan on continuing in September. Thank you once again.



Student Spotlight Katelyn Suarez

Hometown: Wading River, N.Y. Major: Geology By: David Glasser

Senior Enrolllment Systems Analyst, Union College Home-cooked meals and great conversations: Geology major Kaitlyn Suarez serves up both through Union’s Good Eats program. Funded in part by Union’s Minerva House system, Good Eats coordinates with Schenectady ARC (Advocacy, Resources, Choices) to cook and plan meals in Minerva kitchens with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “A group of students and I get together with children and young adults and host the dinners in Green House or Wold House,” says Kaitlyn, whose work with this initiative was profiled in USA Today. At Union, Kaitlyn has done geology field work from Alaska to Australia. She’s competed on the track and cross country teams. And she has grown as a leader, thanks in part to her Minerva House, where she has made close friends, organized campus events and volunteered to help others. Here she explains the ins and outs of Minerva life. A Minerva House welcome The Minerva Program was really helpful my first week on campus. Everyone on your residence hall floor is assigned to the same Minerva, so if there was a house meeting or event, we could all go together. There’s a Minerva House tour the first week, when each house has games, prizes and food. That’s one of my first memories of Union—touring all the different Minerva Houses with my friends. The first Minerva event I planned was apple picking at a local orchard. I had to apply for money to fund it, set up the transportation and get people to come. It was an easy process and a lot of fun. It was a great way to make friends my first year, and it inspired me to plan more events at Union.” House beautiful Each house has its own style. Some are similar to residence halls and others are actual houses. They all have kitchens and grills, and some have porches and backyards. They often have big seminar rooms with projectors because some classes are held in Minerva Houses. My house, Messa, has a foosball table, a huge couch, big TVs, places to do homework and a seminar room that can fit 40 people. Messa is also decorated with photos from the Minerva Fellows. This program funds Union graduates to do social

entrepreneurship all over the world. There have been Fellows in Uganda, South Africa, Cambodia, Ecuador and other countries. I may apply to work with autistic children in China when I graduate.” Academic life One of my first classes was in a Minerva House. It was the best introduction to academics at Union. We all sat on couches and kicked off our shoes. We studied what it means to be good and to be moral. What makes a good decision? What is morality? We read works by Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx and watched a film on the Buddha.” Mentoring Good Eats is not only about cooking, but also about peer mentoring. We talk to the young people about bullying and the struggles the kids face every day. They feel comfortable talking to Union students. Every time they leave, they ask when they’re coming back. You can see the cheer on their faces. I applied to run Good Eats my first year. My experience planning events for my Minerva House really came in handy. I knew how to get people involved. We currently have about 20 dedicated volunteers and hope to expand the program.” Make it happen The Minerva Program is amazing because you can essentially develop any program or event. I know some students who are really into coffee. They secured Minerva funds to buy high-end coffee beans and hold campus tastings. That’s what the Minerva Program is all about: pursuing your passions, building community and becoming a leader.”

Consider Running for the NYSACAC Executive Board! By: Tim Lee, Immediate Past President, NYSACAC Director of Undergraduate Admissions, University at Albany

While the school year is just beginning, the call for nominations for the NYSACAC Executive Board will be here before you know it. Nominations will open in mid-December and will be accepted through mid-January. Final schedule for the entire nomination and election process will be finalized over the next few months. Currently, we have several positons that we will be seeking nominations for. They include: • • • • •

President-Elect Vice President for Finance-Elect Vice President for Professional Development and Planning Secretary College Delegate (2 positions)

• High School Delegate (3 positions)

If you have any questions about these positions or the nomination process, please feel free to contact me at





TORONTO VANCOUVER Saturday April 11, 2015 10am – 2pm

CALGARY Sunday April 12, 2015 1pm – 5pm

Canada’s unique, once a year US College Expo exclusively featuring American Colleges. Supporting Canadian students considering US educational options. Intimate



You did an excellent job of organizing and marketing the event. We were very pleased at the turnout on both days.” KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY

Thank you for hosting the US College Expo. We found it very informative and convenient. Being able to speak with multiple schools all in one place – Awesome! VITO & LAURIE B., PARENTS

OTTAWA Wednesday April 15, 2015 6pm – 9pm

TORONTO Friday April 17, 2015 Counsellor Day 10am – 1pm Saturday April 18, 2015 Public Expo 10am – 3pm


NYSACAC Student Leaders in Admissions Forum By Lisa Searle & Annemarie Cervoni Co-Chairs, NYSACAC Professional Development Commitee

Saturday, January 31st @ University at Albany at 9:30am The New York State Association for College Admissions Counseling (NYSACAC) is excited to announce the date and location for this year’s NYSACAC Student Leaders in Admissions Forum. This is an excellent opportunity for college tour guides/ ambassadors/student workers in Admissions and their supervisors to network and learn during workshops for both students and supervisors. Do you have a dynamic overnight program? Do you have a successful tour guide program? Are you experienced in supervising, hiring, and training students? Are you interested in presenting on any of these or other topics? If you answered YES to any of these questions, we encourage you and your students to not only attend the Forum, but to also present at this year’s Forum. To submit a workshop proposal for this year’s Forum, please click here. All institutions that send one presenter will receive one free registration for a student to attend the Forum. Our online registration will be live shortly. We look forward to seeing you in January at UAlbany for these dynamic and engaging discussions!

Presentation space is limited so submit your proposal today! For more information, please contact us at:

Challenges in Counseling the Gifted College-Bound Student By Sandra J. Eller, Ph.D.

College Admissions Consultant- Rochester, N.Y. For high school students, the transition from high school to college involves the normative adolescent struggle of developing independence from parents (emerging from adolescence into young adulthood.) Additionally, for gifted and talented students, certain unique emotional characteristics (which often differentiate them from their peers) can engender special stressors, both for their families and for the counselors who work with them. continued on page 24


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The Struggle for Autonomy: An adolescent’s job Deciding where to attend college is the first real “adult” decision for many students. As a most autonomous move away from family, home, friends and all that is familiar, pursuing a residential college experience is a monumental step for both students and their families. While it is obvious that life tasks such as moving into a dorm, getting along with a roommate and navigating a college campus are major steps in the development of students’ autonomy, it is often overlooked that the very process of applying to college as a high school senior, the harbinger of college life, is in and of itself a significant transition in the parent-child relationship. Establishing autonomy from parents is the primary and complicated job of adolescence. Books such as “Get Out of My Life…but First Will You Drive Me & Cheryl to the Mall?” characterize the teen’s struggle for individuation from parents. As counselors, helping parents respond in a growth-fostering way to their teen’s ambivalence about their emerging autonomy can be challenging. It can be extremely difficult for a parent with knowledge to impart about college to be rebuffed by their child. Counselors can be instrumental in helping parents see that such rebuffs act as “code language” to a parent, as if their student told them: “I need you to be my parent right now, and just my parent. Leave the advice-giving to someone else for now, and just be there non-judgmentally as my sounding board.” When properly “decoded” for the parent by a counselor, this message can diffuse parent-child conflicts, paving the way for healthy family conversations about college later on. Special Considerations for the Gifted and Talented While it is certainly true that applying to and adjusting to college is a central issue for students and their families irrespective of intellectual ability levels, I find that the intensity and stressfulness of this process is often compounded for high-ability students and their families. This is due, I believe, to a combination of intellectual and emotional factors which make gifted and talented students unique, irrespective of academic achievement levels. Three often-cited characteristics of high-ability students are emotional intensity, multi-potentiality, and perfectionism (J.T. Webb et al., 2007). Factors such as these can intensify all aspects of the “college process”, from planning college visits, selecting schools to apply to, preparing compelling applications that speak to the students’ uniqueness, deciding how to apply (i.e., via early or regular admission plans) and making that all-important “best fit” choice of where to attend. In some situations, I have found that these and other characteristics can even impact family decisions about paying for college. Emotional Intensity High levels of intelligence are positively correlated with high levels of emotional intensity and sensitivity. Although temperament, which is largely determined at birth, modifies the social and emotional expression of these intensities, gifted children and adolescents tend to demonstrate areas of intensity, passion and sensitivity irrespective of temperamental differences. Sometimes mistakenly labeled as “high strung” or “overly-sensitive”, emotional intensity often simply goes hand-in-hand with being very bright.

Emotional intensities can include extremes of emotion, passionate feelings, a deep awareness of unfairness and injustice, heightened anxieties, vulnerability to rejection and self-criticism. Such students often feel an “urgency” about college, and can feel that they “should” or “must” get into certain schools. They can be very absolutistic and adamant and it can be very trying for counselors to dissuade them (or their parents) of their beliefs. Multi-potentiality Significant numbers of gifted students have multiple areas of talent. A student with a flair for writing might also be an accomplished pianist, graphic artist, mathematician and lacrosse player. For such students, potential college and career options can seem endless. It can be difficult for such students to narrow down their college search, as they so readily see the strengths of various schools in the many, often disparate, areas of talent which they possess. Perfectionism Perfectionistic students drive themselves very hard, often not feeling as good about themselves as they deserve to feel. For such students, there is a tendency to be inordinately swayed by “status” when it comes to deciding on schools. It is as if they are constantly seeking verification of their value as scholars and as people. Acceptance to an elite school can serve as a powerful source of validation. For such a student, rejection from a favored college can be taken very personally and can take an emotional toll on both student and parent. Helping such students accept that they will have many excellent choices can be a challenging task. Often, high-ability students have been looking forward to college entry for years, eager for stimulating, varied, and advanced coursework. That very anticipatory excitement, however, can fuel not only anxieties about getting into a “dream school”, but can also ignite conflict with counselors and parents. Families can feel that “so much is riding on” making the “right choice.” While it is true that “name brand” schools such as Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Princeton, Williams, and Amherst are teeming with many extremely talented students, other jewel-like alternatives abound for intellectually adept students, including established honors programs within other well-known schools, such as The University of Maryland, University of Massachusetts, Penn State University and others. Yet, publications which rank colleges based on a number of criteria (some of which the colleges themselves can influence, such as selectivity and yield) have helped to create a frenzy of competition for acceptance to elite schools for some gifted students and families. For all students, and perhaps especially for high-ability students, finding a college with is a uniquely best fit for them is the key to an excellent college adjustment, intellectually but also socially and emotionally. Fortunately, knowledgeable high school counselors and private college admissions consultants can do much to help gifted students and families narrow down the seemingly endless options for college. References: Webb, James T., et al. A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children. Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential Press, 2007. Wolf, Anthony E. Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me & Cheryl to the Mall?: A Parent’s Guide to the New Teenager. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002. © 2014 by Sandra J. Eller. All rights reserved.


NYSACAC Summer Institute

High Expectations, Incredible Experiences, and Long-Lasting Effects

By: Diana Moldovan, Director of College & Career Placement, Summer Institute, 2008 Ashley LaCavalla, Assistant Director of College & Career Placement, Summer Institute, 2013 Laura Hecht, College Advisor, Summer Institute, 2014 As we enter into the hectic fall application season, the three of us who make up the College and Career team at the Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice are strapping on the toolkit that we acquired through our individual experiences at the NYSACAC Summer Institute. We each want to say thank you to Summer Institute Committee, staff, and Skidmore College, and we would like to share our impressions about the Institute, which has been an essential part our team’s learning and development. From some of the most challenging neighborhoods in Brooklyn, a large majority of our students are first in their family to go to college. The Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice, which is an unscreened school in Brooklyn, New York, consistently achieves a high school graduation rate above 90%. More than 90% of our graduates matriculate to college the summer after graduating from SLJ. As we create new profiles in the Common App and nail down what’s new in Naviance in preparation for our eighth graduating class, it is clear that literally hundreds of our graduates have been impacted by what we gained from Institute. It is an honor to lead a team who has the depth of information, best practices, and network that Summer Institute provides. As I take the helm of this team, it is reassuring to know that I have NYSACAC as a resource, including the kindness and accessibility of everyone from first-year admission reps to the leaders of admissions at the busiest of campuses. I asked Laura Hecht and Ashley LaCavalla to share some of their recent takeaways. Laura set high expectations for what she would learn from Institute:

My first year as a college advisor during the 2013-14 school year flew by quicker than I could have ever imagined. Suddenly it was summer once again, and in many ways I was looking back at my previous year as a flurry of FAFSAs, Common Apps, and nervous moments when I stumbled over words in front of eager students and families. As I began to prepare for the coming year, I knew I wanted the space to reflect and learn, so when my supervisor told me I would be able to attend the NYSACAC Summer Institute this year, I was thrilled about the opportunity.

It can take a leap to faith to jump into such an intensive program, though. Ashley recalls her feelings entering Institute prior to the 2013-14 school year:

In my first year out of graduate school, I was nervous to start my first job at the Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice, let alone represent my new institution at the Summer institute at Skidmore. With my freshly printed business cards in hand, I was ready to meet like-minded individuals. Self identified as an introvert, however, I grew anxious at the thought of meeting a large group of individuals with the added pressure to make a positive first impression.

Further, Ashley describes the thoughtful organization of the Institute:

When we met in our small groups our first day, mine led by Richard Alvarez, my anxiety was squashed. Not only did Richard create a space that allowed for open dialogue and active participation, he encouraged constructive criticism and differing points of views. This type

of atmosphere didn’t end at my small group; this exchange of ideas and opinions went with me from workshop to workshop and in my interactions with others, whether they be at a social, during karaoke, or jogging with a fellow counselor.

Year after year, though, the entire Institute exceeds our expectations. As Laura explains:

The moment I entered the dining hall at Skidmore and began talking with the Institute mentors and fellow mentees, I knew I was in the right place. Throughout the course of the week, I gained practical skills to help me in my field and learned about the admissions process from the ‘other side of the desk,’ which was fascinating.

Our team has felt the long-lasting effects of Summer Institute, and will continue to use what we learned to inform our practice. Ashley left Summer Institute with a tool chest full of knowledge to bring back to our school: engaging activities for early awareness (thank you Chris Farmer), writing effective recommendation letters, an understanding of the admissions side of the table, and a comfort and confidence in the future of our field. And Laura summed up for us her biggest takeaways of the Summer Institute, which resonated with all of us:

Undoubtedly the most rewarding part of the week was building relationships with both the mentors at Institute, who have been in the field for years and who offered their unconditional support and advice, as well as fellow new professionals, whom I connected with over our similar challenges. I feel truly lucky to have had the opportunity to meet such a wide range of talented and dedicated professionals in the college admissions field. I feel confident going into this coming school year knowing that I have both a strong network of support as well as solid foundation of skills and knowledge from Summer Institute.


500 Words or Less

500 Words or Less NYSACAC Summer Institute By: Lauren McGee Admissions Counselor, SUNY Delhi

After arriving at Skidmore College for the annual NYSACAC Summer Institute, I couldn’t help but remember what it was like as a first year student, stepping onto campus for the first time without a clue of what my future had in store for me. I had just started as an Admissions Counselor for SUNY Delhi four days before arriving in Saratoga, fresh with energy but slightly racked with nerves. Everyone always talked about starting your first job but actually doing it on your own is quite another thing. I was hoping that this institute would let me in on all the “big secrets” of the admissions world or at least prepare me enough to get through the next three months of travel. I had no idea that four days later, I would leave with valuable advice, lasting friendships and connections and all the confidence I’d need to go out into the field. We started our first day enjoying lunch with new colleagues and became acquainted with our mentor groups. We stepped into the shoes of prospective students by tracking the college application process of five high school seniors in a documentary called 500 words or less. As the week continued, we attended sessions from athletics to ethics and financial aid to diversity. Whether it was dinner out on the town in beautiful Saratoga Springs or joining forces to fiercely advocate for the students in our mock applications, we started to feel less alone. There were opportunities to speak across the desk as guidance counselors and admissions counselors found common ground on common problems. Thursday night came upon us as we danced into the night to the “musical talent” of all those who were brave enough to participate in karaoke. By the last morning, we came back together for the final conclusion of 500 words or less. Much like the students in the film, we felt ready to go out into the big wide world to accomplish our goals. It was time to say goodbye as there was an overcoming sadness and an exchange of business cards and hugs. I could not be more grateful for the connections I made because I finally found the profession where I belong. I want to thank the planning team who made this year’s Summer Institute possible. Thank you to all the mentors who took the time to teach us the nuts and bolts, while leaving us hungry to find out answers for ourselves in order to “exceed expectations”. We will continue to keep that generous spirit alive by passing along the knowledge and taking every opportunity to help those who will be entering our field in the future. Thank you to all my fellow attendees for making this experience one I won’t forget. And when things are getting hectic or the kid you fought so hard for didn’t get in, remember Frank Sachs said, “College is a match to be made, not a prize to be won!”


Counting Down the Months By: Kristen Capezza NYSACAC President-Elect

With the wonderful memories of 2014’s annual conference fresh in our minds, I write with exciting news… 2015 is just around the corner! Save the date for the 2015 NYSACAC annual conference being held at Utica College in Utica, New York. JUNE 9-10, 2015: Annual Coming Together Conference JUNE 10-12, 2015: 37th Annual NYSACAC Conference Utica College is well underway with preparations to host you on their beautiful 128acre campus right in the heart of New York State. We are excited to announce this year’s conference theme follows right in suit with the college’s location. Join us as we explore “The Heart of College Admissions,” challenging each and every attendee to truly explore what is at the heart of our industry. On behalf of the 2015 conference steering committee and the magnificent staff at Utica College, I can certainly say that a stimulating, thought-provoking, and incredibly entertaining experience awaits you this summer at the annual conference. I challenge you to spread the word to your peers and colleagues as June will be here before we know it! Stay tuned as I unfold more details throughout the year…and most importantly, don’t forget to mark your calendars! Get in touch with Kristen Capezza at


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A place to share personal and professional news about NYSACAC members.

Congratulations on your new positions!

Dave Follick recently began a new positon as Dean of Admissions at Nassau Community College. We are thrilled for him! Dave is extremely involved in NYSACAC and has held numerous roles on the Executive Board including his current role of Vice President for Professional Development & Planning. Mike Konopski started a new position this past June as Vice President of Enrollment Management at Lycoming College. He has always been an asset to our organization and we wish him the best of luck in his new position. Tim Nash recently joined Spark451 as a Senior Client Development Strategist. Tim has worked in higher education for over 25 years, most recently for 13+ years at the College of Mount Saint Vincent. He has been a mentor to many counselors and directors in New York and the northeast and we wish him the best of luck in his new position. Michael DiPiazza accepted a position in August to become the Director of Admission at The College of New Rochelle. Mike has been very involved in NYSACAC for a number of years in a variety of positions and has always been an asset to our organization. Currently, Mike is co-chair for the Development Committee.

Award Winners!

Tim Casale, and outstanding school counselor at Garden City High School was honored this past year as our District’s SCOPE Rising Star Award. He and his wife Jennifer just had a baby girl, Grace Katherine, on July 20, 2014! Wishing him many more years of success in the counseling field. Natasha Khan, school counselor at Garden City High School was honored this past year as the Nassau Counselors’ Association Counselor of the Year! Her work ethic and counseling skills are to be commended and we are so proud that she continues shares these talents with future school counselors.

Wishing them a lifetime of happiness!

Doug McNabb, Assistant Director of Estrella Buelvas, Assistant Director of Admissions Admissions at St. John’s University, married at Baruch College married the love of her life Aida Alikalfic on June 14th in a beautiful Mauricio Redondo in San Juan, Puerto Rico on August 9th. ceremony in the Finger Lakes. 30

Follow us on: Make sure to use #NYSACAC at upcoming events! Don’t miss your chance to advertise in our next issue. Submit your advertisement today. Special discounts for multiple ads. Save up to 15%. Our next advertisement submission deadline is December 20th. Share your ideas, research, news briefs, announcements, upcoming events and insights with your fellow NYSACAC members. Get involved and submit an article for the next NYSACAC newsletter.

Newsletter Committee: Meghan DeMayo-Dalen Client Development Strategist Spark451 Cristina Rivas-Laline School Counselor Plainview Old-Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School Christine Loo College Advisor Archbishop Molloy High School


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Fall 2014 Newsletter  

Enjoy a wonderful issue packed with informative articles and updates!

Fall 2014 Newsletter  

Enjoy a wonderful issue packed with informative articles and updates!