DEA Inclusion – An update on Fisher v. University of Texas

It’s hard to believe that another summer has flown by so quickly!  How can it possibly be fall again?     For those of us on the college side it means packing our suitcases, hitting the road, talking about our institutions non-stop day in and day out and packing in those airline miles and hotel points; for our colleagues on the high school side it means letters of recommendation galore and many, many conversations about future plans, goals and managing expectations of both students and their families. While we were away for the summer the 5th Circuit Court issued another ruling on Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin.  I wrote an opinion piece on this case before and have been closely following the story as I feel it is very important to understand what is happening with this case when looking at the big picture of access to higher education. Last summer the Supreme Court ruled 7 to 1 to vacate the 5th Circuit Court’s opinion and remanded the case back for review under the … [Read more...]

Counselors: Cure for the Common Core

Two developments have seismically shifted K-12 education in California - the adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Local Control Accountability Plan.   These developments are important to our membership because they both have significant college and career readiness components. While most of the chatter about Common Core has revolved around the changes in English Language Arts and Math, the fact that college and career readiness is anchored in the standards compels our members to take the lead in districts and schools regarding implementation. In addition to Common Core, the  LCAP mandates that schools focus on 8 priorities:  student achievement, engagement, school climate, course access, basic services, state standards, parental involvement, and "other."  Additional funding is provided for foster youth, English learners, and low-income students. This presents a prime opportunity for school counselors to serve as leaders and managers of programs and interventions … [Read more...]

Nothing Much to Say

I feel for these kids. I was helping out at a college application bootcamp a couple of weeks ago at a great independent school—one that, in its very intimate setting, places a lot of emphasis on the personal development of its students—and I was making rounds as the seniors had designated time to work on starting their college essays. They’d discussed potential topics the day before, and went through some of the classic do’s and don’t’s of the process using a couple chapters from Harry’s Bauld’s book as a jumping-off point. I am sitting with one student, asking question after question, trying to elicit any information about him that I could. He surfs, he goes to school, he has a younger sibling. He doesn’t know where he wants to go to school. He has lived in the same house all his life. He thinks his school is “pretty cool.” Nothing really traumatic has every happened in his family. He’s never been to a funeral, his parents are still together, they both work regular 9 - 5 sorts of … [Read more...]

San Diego to Host 2015 NACAC Conference

Hey Western ACAC, are we ready for over 6,000 of our friends to join us in San Diego in 2015? Plans are well under way as Western ACAC and the San Diego Local Advisory Committee (LAC) prepare to host the National Conference.  The annual event will take place in San Diego October 1-3, 2015.  We will need hundreds of volunteers for the conference and are calling for volunteers now. There are six committees that will work closely with NACAC to take on the planning and execution of the conference.   Consider your strengths and interests and join the committees that most interests you. The Local Advisory Committee: Chairs – Terri Devine and Ed Devine Logistical Arrangements – Nicholle Wyatt and Peggy Hock Hospitality – Jasmin Taylor and Rick Diaz College Tours – Shannon Hutchinson and Jim Bonner Counselor Preview Day – Bonnie Laughlin and Maureen Roadman Registration - Nancy Olah and Nancy Caine Special Events – Welcome Reception, Social – Gretchen Gleason, Julio Mata and … [Read more...]

The Crisis of Choosing: Which Box Do I Check?

We here at USC recently became members of the Common App family. During the summer, our staff takes the time to fill our test applications; to help our processing center make sure the system is working, but also so that we as admission counselors can see what students are actually going through as they apply to be a part of our institution. I strangely love filling out forms and enjoyed the task until I reached the ethnic identity questions. Suddenly, I had flashbacks of being young and confused, thinking to myself “which box am I supposed to check?” Things have changed since the days when I had to fill out these forms. Now, students have the option to check all that apply, or not disclose this information if they so choose. This obviously reflects the quickly changing demographics in which more and more, people are embracing their multicultural identities and are finally able to recognize their diversity. But I always found one thing to be difficult about choosing how to identify: … [Read more...]