SIS News Archive
In Malcolm Gladwell's popular book, The Tipping Point, which is about how small ideas become global phenomena, he refers to the role of the connector not just in spreading ideas, but in putting key people together to create them. In many ways, this is one of the most important functions of a university counselor - connecting students with universities.
A key component to being an effective connector is to get to know a lot of people, in other words to network. So how does a university counselor network? The most common way is to become involved in professional organizations such as the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), or the International Association of College Admissions Counseling (International ACAC). The latter group is made up of University Admissions Officers and High School Counselor from around the world.
Being a member is only the first step, to build relationship with those "on the other side of the desk" one must be active member. Shekou International School is fortunate to have enticed its current high school counselor, Mr. Michael Clancy away from the idyllic island of Bali where he worked for four years. Mr. Clancy has organized bus tours for counselors from international schools to visit U.S. universities over the course of eight or nine days each July. It's a volunteer position, but Mr. Clancy took it because "it allows me to communicate regularly with about 20 university admissions directors every year. When someone knows you, it gives your references more credibility." He's been doing this for four years so that's about 80 admissions directors he's on a first name basis with. This year the tour he is organizing will visit Yale, Columbia, Penn and NYU.
Another way to network is to work with different university admissions officers on projects and presentations. Just a few weeks ago, Mr. Clancy joined admissions officers from Penn, Santa Clara University and Tufts University in presenting a webinar to almost 200 high school counselors and university admission officers on how students can and do use MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) to research universities or major courses of study they are considering. This July, Mr. Clancy will team up the Admissions Directors of Colgate University and the University of the Puget Sound at the International ACAC Conference being held at Rutgers University. Last October, Mr. Clancy gave a presentation at the EARCOS\CIS Conference (East Asia Regional Council of Schools\Council of Internatinal Schools) on best practices for managing recommendations and how to train your faculty to write effective ones. In November, he is hoping to give a similar presentation on "Recommendations and Personal Statements both sides of the Pond" with admissions officers from Durham University and Tufts University.
Clancy says, "I see working with admissions officer as more than simply networking, working with them gives me a deeper insight into how they evaluate applicants, which varies from one institution to the next. I can pass these insights onto my students."
Making these connections is also helpful when it comes to setting up visits. "If someone knows you personally, they are more likely to visit your school," observes Clancy. On March 14th SIS hosted 22 universities and on 23 March 23rd SIS hosted 23 at the Bayside Amphitheater.