ACCIS SI -- Through the eyes of a first timer
First time SI attendee, Susan C. Chiarolanzio, Director of College Counseling at Flint Hill School in VA, wrote about the program through her perspective. Thanks to Susan for sharing her thoughts!
Following Brrn Mawr College tradition, ACCIS left a gift in gratitute to the goddess Athena.
For a few short days, almost 150 ACCIS members participated in Summer Institute 360 at Bryn Mawr College. During our stay on campus, we learned about the Bryn Mawr 360 program, an innovative curricular offering that brings together a cohort of students to examine a theme from a variety of perspectives. The 360 is both collaborative and interdisciplinary and normally includes a practicum experience and travel. While our trip was brief, the Summer Institute cohort spent several days catching up with old friends, meeting new ones, and sharing ideas – looking at the multi-faceted field of college counseling through the eyes of our peers.
As a Summer Institute newcomer, what impressed me most was the friendliness of the participants and everyone’s willingness to share their best practices. No matter the topic, counselors from across the country found common ground and traded tactics and suggestions. In the truest sense of collaboration, counselors discussed both the mundane aspects of our jobs and those more intense and philosophical.
We learned from our colleagues about how they approach counselor calls, work with athletes, and begin the college search conversations. We learned from admission deans about the pressures they face and how they balance the needs of the many constituents they serve. Members of the press allowed us to see the field of college admissions through the lens of the public for whom they write. Both groups shared a common concern: the mounting financial pressures of institutions and families and how the current model for higher education is not fiscally sustainable. We came away with many concrete ideas but also many questions to ponder.
A key component of the Bryn Mawr 360 is for participants to return to campus to share their experience with their community. Summer Institute 360 members are charged as well to return to their campuses, reflect on their collaborative experience and incorporate new ideas in their important work with students. The most important Summer Institute 360 takeaway, however, is the reminder that we are part of a supportive, creative, incredibly talented cohort of our own!