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Guest Post by Sarah Elaine Hart
A week after my first NACAC, my head is still spinning. So many amazing sessions and workshops in such a short period of time! After several beautiful days in sunny San Diego, I begrudgingly boarded my flight back to a rainy and cold East Coast. My luggage was crammed with resources for my students and my brain was full of ideas.
My mission for NACAC 2015 was to expose myself to new ideas and programs to promote a college-going culture in my city. After attending sessions on a range of topics including comprehensive college counseling programs, supporting undocumented and first-generation college students, and the financial aid process, I can confidentially say: “mission accomplished!”
A highlight of the conference for me was the keynote speech from Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy. If your students and fellow educators do not already use the free SAT prep and academic tutoring services provided by www.khanacademy.com, I encourage you to share this powerful and accessible resource! Listening to Sal (wistfully wishing I were on a first name basis) I found myself contemplating the ripple effect he is creating in both secondary as well as post-secondary education. What started as a few videos to support a few cousins struggling in math has grown into a robust educational resource accessible to anyone with internet access. Khan’s work is breaking down barriers and closing gaps in access and opportunity around the globe, a powerful ripple effect emanating from a few simple videos posted online.
As I sat reflecting on this ripple effect while surrounded by hundreds of passionate counselors, college advisors, admissions counselors, and financial aid representatives. I found myself pondering how much potential for meaningful advocacy existed in the room. How many thousands of students do each of us have the opportunity to support in our careers? How many schools and universities do we have the opportunity to improve? What kind of ripple effect could even our simplest ideas have on enhancing access to college degrees throughout the country?
Inspired, re-energized, and chock-full of ideas to enhance the college-going culture in my community, I am so grateful for the opportunity to attend NACAC 2015. Much gratitude for Parchment’s support, without which I would not have been able to attend. And much gratitude for the ripple effect Parchment is generating in decreasing barriers to college application completion by streamlining supporting document submission.
Thank you, Parchment Team!
Thank You for being an inspiration! We loved sending Sarah Elaine to NACAC in San Diego and we’d love to send YOU to NACAC 2016 in Columbu,s OH. Learn more and enter now!