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Iowa Summer Bucket List

As the start of school is approaching, I know it can feel like all the fun summer activities go out the window. And while schedules definitely get busier, remember that we still have a couple months of sweltering heat left in Iowa! There is time to check off those last remaining summer bucket list items. You’re likely going to be spending a lot of time in cars and hotel rooms before you know it, so I recommend enjoying the outdoors while you still can!

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I know, there aren’t fireworks, champagne or silly hats and glasses, but it’s just as important for us in education.

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Road Warrior Survival Guide

August is here and school supplies are flying off the shelves. This can only mean one thing: admissions recruitment travel season is right around the corner. Whether you are new to the field or have earned your “road warrior” status years ago, surviving travel season comes much easier with preparation. Here are my tips and tricks learned during 10+ years navigating the rolling hills (interstates, highways, brick, gravel and sometimes even dirt roads) of Iowa behind the wheel of a college-branded car:

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MIDWest Conference 101!

Let’s start counting down the days! In just a few short weeks, we will all be together in person for the 2022 MIDWest ACAC Conference in Eagan, MN! The last time we all had the chance to be together was at the 2019 Iowa ACAC Conference at Prairie Meadows in Altoona. We made the best of things in 2020 with a virtual conference (thanks to our wonderful Past President, Tom Paulsen), and tried again in 2021 with a virtual MIDWest Conference (shout out to the excellent Wisconsin ACAC team for planning), but I know that I have really missed the in-person conference experience for the past two years. With all of the disruptions caused by the pandemic, we’ll have more first-time conference-goers than ever before, so as your current Iowa ACAC Conference Planning Chair, I wanted to share some thoughts and advice to help you make the most of your MIDWest ACAC experience! 

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Making the Connection

A number of years ago, I was very unsure about taking the next step to college. The director of my high school choir at the time was a Wartburg College graduate. He shared his incredible experience and encouraged me to visit. As an uncertain 17-year-old, I called to set up my visit and will never forget the kindness I received on the other end from the visit coordinator. I felt more confident about taking the next step. After my visit, I knew Wartburg was where I would go to college. I applied for a job in admissions during my junior year at Wartburg and developed many relationships that became influential in my career path. I had no idea how much that decision would impact my life. I served as a spiritcaller, Ambassador and eventually spent an entire summer working full-time in the admissions office. Still, when it came time for graduation, I wasn’t sure about the path I wanted to take. As I began looking for a job, it was a connection I had made at Wartburg that led me to Simpson College and a job as an admissions counselor. The people and the experience there solidified my love for higher education. When I had the chance to return to Wartburg Admissions, I knew recruiting for my alma mater was the right decision. Almost twenty years later, I find myself wondering where the years have gone!

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Admissions #10yearchallenge

Greetings from South Dakota! A recent trend on Facebook was the #10yearchallenge where you post a picture of yourself today alongside a picture of yourself from ten years ago…or maybe some could do 20 years ago or more. It’s a fun opportunity to take a few minutes to reminisce and reflect upon certain chapters in your life and think about where you’ve been, what you’ve done, what you’ve been able to experience, challenging times, good times, and so on and so forth.

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Admissions Gift Guide

Has anyone else noticed that there is a gift guide for everything now? They’re all over social media this time of year! Gift guides for him, gift guides for her, gift guides for teens, for moms, for dogs; I’ve even seen gift guides based on the different enneagram types. So I figured it was time someone made a gift guide for admission representatives. Here’s my 2021 holiday admissions gift guide: 

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Grit!

FRIENDS! I don’t think I have ever been more thankful than I am this year, heading into the Thanksgiving holiday. We are all here. Like, literally AT WORK, physically.  I know it took some adjustment(s) but let’s be thankful! When I sit back and ponder on the year (which who has time to actually do that in the hustle and bustle of recruiting season), I am in awe of my colleagues, friends, family, our students and my co-workers. We did it, not always gracefully, but we did it. We’re back to a new “normal” and I really feel grateful. 

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Post-Season Travel Adjustments

Where to start? What to do? Your mind is probably needing a break from the consecutive days on the road mixed with the busy visit days happening back on campus. As the weather is cooling off, it’s likely your travel schedule is, too. If you’re a seasoned road warrior, you know this transition all too well. If you’re newer to the road, you may feel a little discombobulated. Start with a deep breath. What we set out to complete amidst the chaos of travel season may not always materialize. You may realize that you didn’t email every student you spoke with at a high school visit or college fair this fall. You might have missed a congratulations text to a new commit or a next steps call to a new prospect. As you turn in your rental keys, fill out your final reimbursement forms and unpack your travel bags, here are a few tips to help with your transition back to the office.

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Changes of Scenery

Promotions/new positions, new team members and bidding farewell - check out the Changes of Scenery in some of our member offices. Do you have big news to share? Major changes in your offices in the past few months – new colleagues, promotions, weddings, babies, etc. – let us know and we'll share the news with your Iowa ACAC colleagues!

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Lessons Learned Since March '20 – Part 2

In January I compiled a list of lessons learned since the start of the pandemic for SCENES. Lessons such as buying TP and Clorox wipes anytime you had the chance, and the most flattering angle for video calls. At the time, I think we all were hoping we were wrapping up the pandemic.

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6 Tips to Healthier Eating Habits on the Road or in the Office

Everyone’s clothing shrunk during the pandemic, right?

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Back to School

I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting this summer as I prepare to leave my current position as an Admission Counselor at the University of Iowa. A little background: as an undergraduate, I worked in the Office of Admissions in two student positions and absolutely adored it. So much so that I began considering a year or two in admissions post-graduation. Driven by my desire to return to admissions and a feeling of uncertainty as I navigated student teaching, I accepted a temporary counselor position following graduation and a full-time position six months later. I knew my time as a counselor would either be short-term and followed by a return to teaching, or I’d decide to stay in higher education for a good portion of my career. A little over two and half years later, and I’ve made the difficult decision to return to the classroom.

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Community

Believe it or not, I got to hit the road about a month ago and visit some high schools in Northwest Iowa. I always love going to that area of the state; it’s close to home (I grew up in Southwest Minnesota) and it reminds me to slow down. I felt a little rusty actually going into high schools and really talking to people (weird, I know) but it was so fun.

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Simple Steps to Assist First Gen Students

“Go to the FAFSA website and create your FSA ID. You will need to use your parent's 2019 tax returns which you can link to your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.  Once we receive your FAFSA, we can tell you how many loans and grants you qualify for based on your EFC. You might get selected for verification. You will be notified if you are selected, and additional documentation will need to be completed. Login to TritonPass and accept your financial aid package under the ‘Academic Profile’ tab. You will then be prompted to complete Entrance Counseling. We recommended only borrowing what you need, and suggest avoiding the unsubsidized loan if possible because that accrues interest while you are attending college. Do you have any questions? Great! Call us if you need help with anything.”

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Zooming into Spring Freshmen Recruitment

“Can everyone hear me?” “Nope, go ahead!” “You’re muted!” are just a few statements that have been uttered in the countless Zoom meetings we’ve all endured for almost a year.

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New Year. New FAFSA?

Now that 2020 is squarely in the rear-view mirror, what can we look forward to in the new year? A new FAFSA perhaps? No, not exactly, but we can expect major improvements in the not-too-distant future.

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Remember Who's Watching

As 2021 begins to unfold, the lessons of 2020 are still fresh in our minds. We know it’s important to be connected, not to take anything for granted, and to have flexibility. However, one reminder helps me find daily perspective about how to handle each situation that gets thrown our way.

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Changes of Scenery!

Mount Mercy University is thrilled to welcome Todd Coleman as their new Assistant Vice-President for Enrollment & Marketing and Sabrina Tapps-Fee as the Director of Undergraduate Admissions!

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Meet our Newest Board Member!

The Iowa ACAC Executive Board is excited to welcome a new member! Yuri Tilapi is the new co-chair for Inclusion, Access, and Success. We asked Yuri to share a little bit more about her background so that we can get to know our new exec board member.

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