Thursday, Sept.26, 2024
7 a.m.- 10 a.m.
Los Angeles Convention Center

NACAC Preconference Seminars are paid, three-hour sessions available on Thursday morning from 7 – 10 a.m..

These seminars can be added for an additional fee in the registration process.

Seminar Offerings

Additional descriptions and offerings coming soon.

In light of concerning statistics indicating that 47 percent of students initiate the college application process but fail to complete their applications, and with over 25 percent of high school seniors experiencing heightened anxiety during their senior year, the necessity for parental involvement in this pivotal phase of education has become of paramount importance. This urgency is even more pronounced for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) students who face unique challenges in the college application journey. In our forthcoming pre-conference session, we will embark on an exploration of data-driven methodologies that offer nuanced perspectives on the efficacy of parent engagement within the context of college applications. Our distinguished panelists will provide invaluable insights into this critical area. Shereem Herndon-Brown, co-author of the bestselling book “The Black Family’s Guide to College Admissions: A Conversation about Education, Parenting, and Race,” will share key principles and insights from this seminal work. These principles mirror much of the conceptual framework that was used by Uprooted Academy in partnership with the Long Beach Unified School District’s Black Student Achievement Initiative. Our aim is to empirically demonstrate the transformative journey undertaken by a collective of parents who initially harbored reservations but ultimately evolved into highly confident individuals. This transformation was achieved through the meticulous orchestration of specialized programming thoughtfully designed to encompass various critical domains, including collegiate aspirations, financial aid navigation, and mental well-being. As attendees, you will have the unique opportunity to witness the profound metamorphosis of these parents as they assumed the role of well-informed guides, adeptly preparing their students for the subsequent phases of their educational journey. These meticulously crafted case studies serve to illuminate the inherent potency of inter-sectoral collaboration involving educational districts, community-based organizations (CBOs), and esteemed scholars. By virtue of their collaborative efforts, these stakeholders have successfully bridged the chasm that previously existed in parent engagement. The culmination of our pre-conference event promises to equip participants with actionable strategies and invaluable insights.


  • Tiffany Green, founder/executive director, Uprooted Academy
  • Shereem Herndon-Brown, founder and CEO, Strategic Admissions Advice
  • Elyssa Taylor, director of parent engagement, Long Beach Unified School District

In today’s higher education environment, the role of chief enrollment officer, as referred to by journalist Eric Hoover, is one of “the hottest seats on campus,” requiring knowledge and expertise across multiple functional areas as well as the ability to effectively navigate relationships up, down, and across the institution. How might the next generation of leaders prepare to take up this role with confidence? What knowledge and skill sets will advance their talents? Investing in emerging enrollment leaders is critical to developing and retaining talent in the profession and supporting the growth and enhancing the capacity of the next generation of chief enrollment officers. Furthermore, this investment has the potential to diversify candidate pools by building confidence for traditionally underrepresented candidates who may count themselves out of job searches based on the job’s required experience. By engaging in tactical advice and strategies, participants will learn how to develop an institutional mindset, move from operational to strategic thinking, identify competencies to enhance their continued leadership development, and leave with concrete plans for how to strengthen those capacities. Through interactive topical scenarios offered during the seminar, attendees will have the chance to put their learning into practice. The facilitators bring leadership perspectives from their experience as enrollment leaders at multiple institutions and institution types, as well as from executive search, consulting, coaching, and non-profit leadership to inform this engaging session. Attendees who will benefit most from this session are senior staff members who are aspiring to chief enrollment officer positions, but who are not yet in those roles themselves.

Laurie Koehler, Principal/Koehler Consulting
Jennifer Desjarlais, Principal/Cambridge Hill Partners
Liz Cheron, Chief Executive Officer/Coalition for College

At this introductory seminar, led by the NACAC Character Focus Initiative, college admission leaders will learn about up-to-date research, theory, and practical challenges and opportunities associated with applicant character review in admission. While non-academic factors have always played a role in college admission, it has never been more critical than it is today for colleges to create formal processes to assess these factors, as test-optional policies and legal challenges have changed the college admissions landscape. All participants will leave with (1) an understanding of why this work matters and the steps required to do it well, and (2) concrete tools to support them as they continue this work upon returning to their home institutions.

Thomas Bear, VP of Enrollment Management/Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology; Character Collaborative Board Chair

Creative students, most typically visual and performing arts, but also covering broader aspects of innovative, interdisciplinary abilities and interests, are a unique population in the college admission landscape. Please join experts from both public and private colleges and high schools speaking from inclusive, intersectional frameworks about: programs/schools that offer arts education, best practices for the audition/portfolio, as well as navigating creative supplements for non-arts majors, how to support under-resourced students, tips on writing the artist statement, and post-graduate career data on how creative workers earn their living and are a critical aspect of a thriving economy.


  • Michael Cameron, Director of Admission, Rhode Island School of Design
  • Ryan Cole, Assistant Aean of Admission and Recruitment, Southern Methodist University
  • Mahnoor Euceph, Admissions Specialist, UCLA Arts
  • Auna Hearne, college counselor, The Village School
  • Edward Schoenberg, College Counselor, Cristo Rey High School
  • Molly Thompson-Vender Heyden, Associate Director of Admissions Operations, MIT
  • Laura Young, director of enrollment management, UCLA Schools of Arts and Architecture
Reaching beyond expectations, how pro bono college admissions counseling and coaching can raise the tide for rural students. After spending two years living and working with students in rural Vermont, the gap between those students and higher education was consistently a result of messaging and lack of exposure. Through intentional and empathetic 1:1 conversations with individual students and parents, the shift in perspective as it relates to their personal bias regarding higher education, the cost of college, and the value of a college degree began to shift. By sitting down and spending time with students while providing support during their college search and application journey, their confidence grew, and in turn they flourished as they put themselves out there in regards to their post-secondary goals and aspirations. As part of this seminar, we will discuss a pilot program for independent schools to participate in, as well as summer programming that college counselors may offer to their extended local communities.


  • Jeff Hiser, independent education consultant, EDUxYOU
Direct Admission has taken our profession by storm in the last couple of years and and holds enormous potential to reduce barriers to higher education. If managed well, this process has the potential to do enormous good. If handled poorly, this process will quickly fade and be remembered as another version of the Fast App. Up until now, the conversation about Direct Admission has almost exclusively been between vendors and admission leaders. School counselors, independent educational consultants, and community-based organization professionals have not been included in a wholesale way. During this three-hour workshop, your facilitators will guide the room through the conversations we need to be having internally to best serve students. In the end, admissions leaders will leave with a clear charge on conversations they should initiate tomorrow with the counseling community they work with.


  • Teege Mettille, director, Leading Colleges
  • Joel A. Johnson E.d.D., dean of admission, Drake University
  • Brian Harris, director of college pathways, Chicago Public Schools
The world of college athletics can be confusing and overwhelming for students, parents, coaches, and administrators. Enjoy a lively and interactive session with experts from the NCAA National Office and the secondary and post-secondary education communities as they help you better understand the changing landscape of college sports.


  • Matt Harris, assistant director of high school review, NCAA Eligibility Center
  • Susan Peal, director of governance, NCAA
In this interactive workshop, learn a variety of strategies for helping students brainstorm, write, and revise their college essays in an immersive way — by writing your own personal statement. Once you register for this session, you’ll be invited to join Ethan Sawyer (College Essay Guy) for a live brainstorming session in August (weeks before the conference in LA) and tools for beginning your draft. During the in-person preconference session, we’ll gather to work through practical exercises to broaden and deepen our stories, plus you’ll gain tools you can use with your own students. This workshop is ideal for those interested in writing as a tool for personal growth and developing deeper connections with colleagues.


  • Ethan Sawyer, founder/College Essay Guy


  NACAC Member Rate Associate Member / 
Nonmember Rate
Through April 24 $115 $215
April 25 – July 24 $125 $225
July 25 – September 25 $135 $235
Onsite $185 $285