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Intro to ORI - Interview with Juan-Camilo Tamayo

By Aaron Andersen
VP Communications, OACAC

This summer OACAC will host the first Regional Institute in Shanghai China. The Regional Institute will allow for two days of concentrated networking, educational sessions, and conversations that are specific to China and Asia. Through in-depth and focused conversations, all participants will leave with a greater understanding of the educational process, admission requirements, and the challenges and opportunities students face when applying to a university outside of their home country.

Recently, talked with OACAC executive board member, VP Government Relations and chief ORI coordinator Juan-Camilo Tamayo about this exciting new initiative and what members can expect. 

Aaron Andersen: Thanks for taking time to talk a little about the upcoming OACAC Regional Institute. Now I know it will be held August 17-18 , about a month after the OACAC Conference in Oregon. With two different conference programs how will members decide which to attend ? 

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College Summer Programs : 2015


While here in the northern hemisphere it may be the middle of winter, it's never too early to be thinking about summer plans. For juniors and sophomores this is a particularly good time to be exploring college summer programs.  

More and more colleges and universities are offering short term on-campus programs that offer a taste of what life would be like at that institution.  Many offer a mixture of academic and social content, courses taught by tenured professors, and some even provide credit.  All provide a fantastic way to discover college life and an enriching summer experience. 

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Quality Summer Programs: From Safety to Leadership, How to Recommend One Over Another

By Katherine Dayton
Director of VISIONS Service Adventures

As summer approaches, many guidance counselors are asked to steer students towards quality summer programs that not only align with particular interests, but also with college admission goals. While some kids may be looking for an academic focus, others may be looking for experiential opportunities beyond the classroom, from wilderness and sleep-away camps to international teen tours and community service programs.

When it comes to travel based summer programs, there is no governing body that sets standards; literally anyone can start an international program and take kids overseas. That means it is important to do some legwork to make sure the programs you recommend to your students are safe, reputable, and high quality.Director of VISIONS Service Adventures 

Delving beyond the glossy brochures and spiffy websites, here are some important questions to ask:

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A Letter to Admission Road Warriors 

By Kelly Braun
Int'l School of Sacred Heart, Tokyo

Dear Road Warriors, young, old, new, international, domestic, director, counselor,   
   I just want to let you know something: You matter. You matter to students a lot. Although I know it may not seem like it. After spending several years on your side of the desk, I think I can safely assume this is what a typical day in your fall season looks like:

Wake up

Get dressed (don’t forget the comfy shoes!)
Pack materials for the day
Head out

High school visit #1 (yay, on time!)
High School visit #2 (woof, barely made that on time)
High School visit #3 (I have no clue where my cab driver is taking me, 10 minutes late)
Lunch (hahahahahahahaha, I am lucky to get a small break let alone food)
High School visit #4 (I am so tired)
Evening Fair (Final push, I can do it)

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A Call to Action: Verify your NACAC Affiliate

By Meghan McHale
Associate Director of Admissions, Tufts University 
Former Vice President of Membership for International ACAC

Are your interests and the interests of the students you serve represented appropriately by the National Association for College Admission Counseling?  Every year, NACAC enacts policy and provides guidance regarding important issues that impact students around the world.  As an affiliate of NACAC, it is International ACAC's duty to be the voice of the specific concerns our international (in so many ways!) population faces.

Many major decisions within NACAC are entrusted to the assembly: a group of 200 delegates from the affiliate organizations.  The number of delegates assigned to each affiliate is determined by the number of NACAC members aligned with each group.  It is the understanding of the Executive Board that our delegate count is artificially deflated.  The main reasons:

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Productivity Tips for Global Higher Education 

By Aaron Andersen & Tim Munnerlyn
Aaron Andersen                        Tim Munnerlyn
Univ. of British Columbia          Amer. Comm. School – Abu Dhabi

These days, everyone is talking about ways to improve productivity and increase efficiency, but how does it all relate to YOUR JOB? Here are nine tips that can get you working more efficiently, in the college or high school office. For more tips check out the session download available at the conference resource page. 

1. Create a giant visual calendar and cross off each day you complete your chosen task. 

Daily action builds habits. It gives you practice and will make you an expert in a short time. Select a task that you want to complete for a period of time, and do it once every day.  Put a big ‘X’ on that day.  After a few days you’ll have a chain of ‘X’s. Don’t break the chain, you'll start to spot opportunities you otherwise wouldn't. Each day’s small accomplishment accumulates into a large accomplishment.

2. Clearly define office rules – And publish clearly.

Define office responsibilities and post for all to see in each office.  This will help students, parents, and other teachers.  And create efficiencies in your office.

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Remembering Peggy Templeton Strong
Peggy Templeton Strong

It was great sadness that we learned that Peggy passed away on Friday, July 18th 2014. Tributes poured in through the OACAC Facebook Group and many shared their memories and fondness for a woman that was instrumental in the founding of OACAC.  Throughout her career she promoted the needs of students, mentored counselors and university representatives, and was instrumental in establishing the profession of international admissions and guidance. While she has left us, her spirit will remain, as those that knew her continue her work and vision of a world connected through education. Peggy was 102. 


OACAC Facebook Comments 

“Peggy was a dynamo”

“all of us, beneficiaries of the work, sacrifice, passion, effort, and time that Peggy put into students and into the profession as a whole. Rest in peace, Peggy.”

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RED : Retired Extremely Delighted to help

by Peter Hauet

Where do retired high school counselors and college admission professionals go to retire?  What do they do?  At the fantastic OACAC conference in Florida a group of us came together to discuss this at a workshop hosted by Peter Hauet, Jane Lowery and Vivian Cipolla.  The “Expert Group” is a subcommittee of the OACAC membership committee.  So what can we do?

We started with some obvious items:  We love the profession; we love what we do or did and want to stay involved.

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Ten Takeaways from the OACAC Conference

By Alison Herget & Kelly Braun
Alison Herget                Kelly Braun
Brandeis University      Int'l School of Sacred Heart, Tokyo 

Whether you were a first-timer or an old-timer, this year’s OACAC conference was a win-win for all. Here’s a list of our top ten takeaways from this year’s one-of-a-kind conference, hosted by University of South Florida, University of Tampa and Eckerd College.

1) By using the conference website BEFORE you saved money and had great advice. Worried about what to wear? How to get to the USF campus? The conference hosts did a great job of letting us know what to expect and where to go no matter how far and what country you are coming from.

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OACAC Conference By The Numbers

While a conference like OACAC 2014 , can never be just about the numbers... here it is just about the numbers... 

3 days + 3 nights

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This year OACAC is excited to be hosting its 21st annual conference in Tampa Bay. Highlights include over 80 educational sessions, college fairs and high school fairs attended by 100s of institutions from all over the world, pre-conference seminars, an exhibitors hall, a 5k Run for charity, and an endless social and networking events.  This years conference will be the largest yet, with maximum attendance reached of 1100 high school counsellors and university admissions representatives.   It promises to be an outstanding conference with something for everyone. 

We are very fortunate to have the generous support of fantastic sponsors. The conference would not be possible without their support and contribution. We appreciate their interest in OACAC’s vision and are grateful for their support


If you would like to win an exciting prize #OACAC2014 prize package consisting of cool items donated by our sponsors here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)

      [Contest] RT & Follow to enter  Prize package from Conference Sponsors and will draw one winner at random from all entries at on Friday, July 4, 2014 and another winner on Tuesday, July 8. Winner must be available to pick up prize package from Conference in Tampa Bay, or have a mailing address in North America.

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University Admissions Diary : Setting Up Shop in China

Have a story from your recruitment travels, or life in the admission office ? Send us your tale [email protected]

by Elizabeth DuMont-McCaffrey
Assistant Director of Admission, Mount Holyoke College   

A UPS package filled with Mount Holyoke materials had just arrived at my new office in Shanghai when I received an email confirmation.  Your UPS package has been delivered, it said, and signed for by Mr. Lao Wai.  “Mr. Lao Wai?” I said to myself.  Who is Mr. Lao Wai?  I had just signed for the package myself.  That’s when I remembered that “lao wai” means foreigner in Chinese and realized that I was Mr. Lao Wai.

This past fall, Mount Holyoke College opened a regional office in Shanghai, China.  Currently, I am based in Asia for 6 months per year—recruitment season (September-December) and yield season (March-June). The opening of Mount Holyoke’s regional office was filled will silly frustrations (such as the Mr. Lao Wai story) but also many overwhelming successes and a few genuine complications.

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College Tour Diary : Old School Road Trip

Visited a university campus, or been on a college tour recently and have a story to tell?  Send us your tale [email protected]

by Patrick Stenger
HS Counselor & VHS Coordinator, Shanghai American School-Pudong

Road Trips in college were always special to me.  Perhaps from the first time I watched Animal House I was convinced of the value in the college road trip experience.  I've never felt as free as when I was on the road whether with friends or on my own.  Back in the day before cell phones and the internet, the feeling was I'm on the road, getting somewhere and so it was like space in time, there were no expectations until I got where I was going.  With others it was always a bonding time with those I knew already or an experience to share with someone I was getting to know.  The scenery was always exciting even across states like Nevada and Utah, the music always on, even when I didn’t want it to be, like the time the Ozzie Osbourne tape got stuck in the stereo so we had to listen to Blizzard of Ozz over and over again all the way across Nevada and into California.

Times have changed though and I'm no longer in college, I advise young people on university admissions on university admissions to young people, but I still love the college road trip experience.  This fall I was fortunate to road trip with a good friend and colleague Mark Moselle.  We'd talked about if for a couple of years and this fall, before attending the NACAC conference in Toronto we organized a different kind of college road trip.  The plan was to fly into Toronto, Canada together, rent a car and drive to ten colleges in Canada and the U.S. in four days, meet with admissions, tour campuses and drive back to Toronto to attend the NACAC conference.  Along the way we saw ten outstanding institutions, met with alumni from Shanghai American School and spoke with professors who were incredibly hospitable and proud of their schools. 

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Going Global and Breaking Stereotypes

By Alison Herget 
Senior Assistant Director of Admissions, Brandeis University

It was my umpteenth week of international recruitment travel this fall, and I happened to be in Mumbai, India  – not the easiest place to be amid a 5-week trip that started in southeast Asia and traversed half the globe. It was some ungodly hour of the evening and I was straight off a four-hour van ride from Pune with my colleague in which we were cut off by emaciated cows, hassled by street vendors selling cheap toys, and had tapped a vehicle that stopped short in front of us when the driver misjudged the size of a small boulder on the dirt road. Fun? Yes. Relaxing? Absolutely not.

To say that I was happy to see a smiling face and have a young, friendly bellhop to carry my luggage up to the room upon arrival at our hotel is an understatement.

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College Admissions: A 'Game' Everyone Can Win 

By Josh Stephens

Director of International Development, ArborBridge

A few weeks ago, the first big tranche of high school seniors found out where they're headed next year, as colleges released their Early Action and Early Decision notifications. Those who got deferred, and those who have been waiting to submit Regular Decision applications, will remain in excruciating limbo for the next few months. Or so the story goes.

In response to an another article I wrote a few weeks ago, a commenter described the anxiety that often clouds not only this process, but also students' entire lives. A parent of a high school senior, she wrote that the college application process "gives [her] hives."

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Top 10 List: How to Prepare Juniors for Admissions

by Johanna Fishbein
Head, College & Career Counseling, International School of Belgium  

January is the prime time to begin or continue work with your Grade 11 students to get them in the best place possible to apply to university. Below are some suggestions for 10 things that can be helpful in organizing this process and making it as stress-free as possible for your students.

1.     Plan a Grade 11 University Planning “Kick-Off” Event

Nothing works better to start focusing on the Grade 11s than a meeting telling them and their parents that they are now the stars of the show! We have experimented with various structures for this event and found that the one the students and parents like best is a very simple presentation. We outline: what parents do, what students do and what counselors do in the college admissions process. Then, we bring in admissions counselors from around the world (in person if possible or via Skype) to speak to the importance of communicating with your counselor and managing expectations.

2.     Invite Admissions Counselors to your School

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On The Assembly Floor at NACAC

By Ray Marx
HS Counselor - Colegio Americano de Quito, Ecuador

Saturday, September 21st marked the first time the NACAC Assembly was ever held outside of the United States.  Who could have predicted when NACAC chose Toronto as the site for the 2013 National Conference over five years ago, that the Assembly narrative would focus on international students and per-head compensation for global agents. 

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The Zen of International Admissions

By Alison Herget
Senior Assistant Director of Admissions - Brandeis University - Waltham, MA

International recruitment certainly has its share of complexities and curve balls. I'll be the first to admit I had my fairshare last year during my first international recruitment trip last year as an admissions officer at Brandeis. After three weeks in Asia, I returned -- jet-lagged for weeks and with enough crazy stories to write a book. When I told my friend about how I hailed a cab amid an 8-lane busy road in Beijing then almost felt like I was going to die in the hands of a sleepy cab driver who transported us to the airport, she thought I was crazy to want to do what I do for a living. "That sounds so...exhausting," she said.

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