Naviance Tuneup - Holiday Season Edition

By Tim Munnerlyn

American Community School – Abu Dhabi

Many of us are winding down the semester thinking of warm sunny beaches, shopping for those last minute presents or finalizing plans for friend and family get-togethers.  In the spirit of giving, Naviance is a gift which continues to give beyond the mangled wrapping paper and proud, fleeting New Year resolutions.

Here are a few Naviance tips to get you through the holiday season and into the New Year.

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OACAC Scholars : In Their Own Words


Each year OACAC selects high-impact, under-resourced counselors to receive funding to attend the OACAC SummerConference as an OACAC Scholar.  These counselors are nominated by their peers and are provided funding to cover their travel, registration, and accommodation at the conference.  In most cases these are counselors who would not have been otherwise been able to attend a professional development event in other country, and often it is their first introduction to the OACAC community.

Please consider nominating your colleague to be a 2015 OACAC Scholar. Perhaps you are in a high school yourself, and know of another school in your community whose staff could really use the support.  Perhaps you are at a university and work closely with a counselor who you know is under resourced, and would benefit from the experience of attending OACAC.  Either way, counselors who are selected speak of a life changing experience - and that life changing moment starts with your nomination. Nominate a deserving counsellor today. 

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Support the OACAC Scholar Program

Each year OACAC selects high-impact, under-resourced counselors to receive funding to attend the OACAC Summer Conference as an OACAC Scholar. These counselors are nominated by their peers and are provided funding to cover their travel, registration, and accommodation at the conference.  These are counselors who would not have been able to attend a professional OACAC on their own; often it is their first introduction to the OACAC community. 

Please consider nominating your colleague to be a 2015 OACAC Scholar. Perhaps you are in a high school yourself, and know of another school in your community whose staff could really use the support.  Perhaps you are at a university and work closely with a counselor who you know is under resourced, and would benefit from the experience of attending OACAC.  Either way, counselors who are selected speak of a life changing experience - and that life changing moment starts with your nomination. Nominate a deserving counselor today. 

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5 Fast Facts 4 Foreign Apps

By Beau Benson
New York University

    It’s that time of the year again.
For a large portion of universities, applications will be due within the next month and a half. Around the world, students are placing the finishing touches on documents that will be shipped to admissions offices around the world. And in the weeks that follow their arrival, these documents will come to define and represent the applicant as universities begin the difficult task and building a unique and diverse Class of 2019!

While countless college admissions blogs have reiterated the standard tips for all applicants, regardless of citizenship, below just a few that should be highlighted specifically for the international community.

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A Call to Action : Verify your NACAC Affiliate

By Meghan McHale
Vice President for Membership, International ACAC
Tufts University  

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 in regard to 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:

1.) Affiliate designations are not an active choice.  They default based on geographic area (example: my affiliate was NEACAC until I made the change).

2.) The majority of International ACAC members are not NACAC members.

At the end of this calendar year, NACAC will execute a census to determine the delegates allotted to each affiliate for the next three years.  This is our opportunity to ensure that our voice is heard.

If you are a NACAC member and feel most closely aligned to International ACAC as an affiliate, we encourage you to make this designation in your NACAC profile.  If you believe you have made this indication in the past, we encourage you to check again (lots of data was lost in the past year, and some profiles reverted back to geographic allegiances).  Please note: if you are the primary NACAC member within your institution or organization, you must remain aligned with your geographic affiliate. If you would like to join NACAC, visit here:  *

If you would like to make International ACAC your affiliate of record, please follow these steps:

1.)    Go to

2.)    Click “Sign In” on the upper right hand side of the page

3.)    Enter your NACAC username and password

4.)    Once logged in, it will send you back to the main page

5.)    Hover over your name in the upper right of the main page, then select “View/Edit my Profile” from the drop down menu

6.)    Once in your profile, select “Edit” in the lower right hand corner of the page 

7.)    In the “Edit Profile” page, select the second tab “Additional Demographics (Optional)” 

8.)    In the “Demographics” section, go to “NACAC Affiliate” and select “International” from the dropdown menu 

9.)    Answer the question below “NACAC Affiliate” which states “Are you with an affiliate different than your school?”

10.)  Select "Save" in the bottom right hand corner of the page

Please contact Meghan McHale, VP for Membership, at with questions.  Thank you for your support!

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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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Top 10 List: How to Get the Most Out of the OACAC Conference


By Jemison Foster & Tim Munnerlyn 
Jemison Foster                    Tim Munnerlyn   
Bangkok Patana School        American Comm. School – Abu Dhabi

Let’s face it, not all professional development opportunities are created equal.  Some are painful, but a necessity.  Some are engaging and inspire.  And some are OACAC!  With just over two weeks to go before this summer’s OACAC conference in Tampa, we thought we would share a few handy tips on how to maximize your experience.  


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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

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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Top 10 List: Reasons to Attend OACAC 2014 in Tampa Bay


By Beau C. Benson
Senior Assistant Director, Undergraduate Admissions
New York University 

So you've never been to an OACAC Conference... or maybe you have, but not sure what to think about Tampa Bay, well we can think of a lot of reasons you'll want to be there this summer... but here are the Top Ten.

10. Catch Up with Trends

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From the Membership Desk : Membership Has its Privileges

By Katy So,
  OACAC VP for Membership, College Ave Consulting

OACAC By The Numbers 

March 2014 : Membership in OACAC continues to boom. We currently have 1622 members, which is 20% more than we had at this time last year. We are particularly excited that 25% of members are new to our organization.

University members continue to be in the majority, with 48% of members working at universities. Secondary school counselors comprise just over 1/3 of the membership, which is a slight increase from last year and a significant increase from two years ago.  10% of members hold Individual memberships, while 5% are from organizations, both of which are on par with the past two years.

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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

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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The Best of OACAC Series

Announcing … The BEST of OACAC SERIES …. Inspired by “The Best of American Essays”, a series which includes: 

Do you ever run a “best of” list in your head? Share it out loud!  Best book to get for your office, if you can only get one! Best program to run for your juniors, if you can only run one! Best database program to convince your admin to get, if you're tired of excel sheets!  Let’s pool ideas, share suggestions … after all, that’s what the Best of OACAC is about!   

Here’s our first “Best of….” column for counselors. Next column is for admissions officers! Share, Enjoy, Laugh, and most of all, Use! 

>> Elisabeth Marksteiner (International School of Zug and Luzern, Switzerland)

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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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