Darlington School: Professional Development Spotlight: A Trip to the SACAC Annual Meeting
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Professional Development Spotlight: A Trip to the SACAC Annual Meeting

Chad Woods | May 24, 2017 | 602 views

We recently had the privilege of attending the Southern Association for College Admission Counseling (SACAC) Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. This is a conference for college admissions representatives and college counselors/advisors to help each other serve high school students better.


The conference began with a talk from NACAC board member Kent Rinehart, dean of admission at Marist College (N.Y.) Rinehart’s points were from both “sides of the desk,” meaning from the college admissions side and the college counseling side. He challenged college admissions representatives to look further into the application than just the numbers (GPA and SAT/ACT scores). He challenged them to know who the candidate is, their work ethic, and what abilities the candidate can bring to their school. He challenged college counselors to help each student achieve their goals of college admissions and find the college that is the best fit.


The keynote speaker was Dr. Cesar Cruz from Harvard University. Dr. Cruz delivered a powerful message, opening up about where he came from and how he became the man he is today. There were people in his life that caused setbacks in his education and his life, but there were many others who helped him along the way. He talked about both. He inspired all three of us to be better educators and mentors to all students.


There were breakout groups to learn about different aspects of college admissions. Information about the Common Application, how to write a great recommendation, and how to help students write their college admissions essay were some of the really good breakout sessions.


Learning was just a part of this trip. It was a great time for us to bond as a group and meet other counselors. It is nice to hear how other schools take their seniors through the college admissions process and to compare it to Darlington’s process to get new ideas. We met Adam Mangana, the chief diversity officer at Jackson Preparatory School in Jackson, Miss., and talked a lot of diversity of schools and our boarding students. He took away a lot of ideas from us and we took away a great contact for the future. Adam invited us to Jackson to take a look at their school, and we'll definitely take him up on his offer at some point next school year.


Overall, we had a great time and a lot of professional development was achieved. We hope to get the chance to attend the SACAC annual meetings in the future. Thank you to all who made this trip financially possible.




This blog was cowritten by college advisors Kathy O’Mara, Gregg Marshall and Chad Woods.