NACAC Preconference Seminars are paid 3-hour session opportunities available on Thursday morning, September 21, 2023, from 7:30am – 10:30am in the Baltimore Convention Center.

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

Seminar Offerings

Additional descriptions and offerings coming soon.

This seminar is geared toward public school counselors with more than 5 years experience. It will be led by current public school counselors and a school counseling faculty member. Topics include how to integrate college counseling into your school’s MTSS framework, innovative programming to promote access and inclusion, utilizing data to advance your college counseling curriculum, and working smarter (not harder) with large caseloads and multiple demands.


  • Beth Gilfillan, Assistant Professor of School Counseling/Northeastern Illinois University

At this introductory seminar, co-led by the Character Collaborative, NACAC, and Making Caring Common, 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 steps required to do it well, and (2) concrete tools to support them as they continue this work upon returning to their home institutions. 


  • Bob Massa, VP Emeritus- Enrollment and College Relations/Dickinson College; Character Collaborative Former Chair
  • Thomas Bear, VP of Enrollment Management/Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology; Character Collaborative Board Chair
  • Richard Weissbourd, Faculty Director/Making Caring Common; Senior Lecturer/Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Trisha Ross Anderson, College Admission Program Director/Making Caring Common

Over the last 50 years, higher education has emerged as a massive industry and, within it, colleges have morphed into businesses with bottom-line accountabilities. Rankings, yield, selectivity, demonstrated interest and ability-to-pay are now integral to college access. Beginning in 2020, institutional “pivots” to accommodate COVID served to further exacerbate this new “normal.” This interactive workshop draws on 25 years of admission experience as well as recent think-tank meetings and extensive interviews with deans of admission to provide a candid look into the impact of admission decision-making on prospective applicants within the context—and ever-evolving priorities—of strategic enrollment management.


  • Peter Van Buskirk, Former Dean of Admission-Thought Leader-Author-Strategic Advisor/ Best College Fit-SCOIR

Ethan Sawyer (College Essay Guy) and the CEG Team are back with a brand new set of practical resources, tools, and frameworks you can use right away. You’ll learn: how to help students better understand their intersecting identities, tips for navigating conversations on AI + ChatGPT, additional information section uses you maybe haven’t considered, practical ways to create (more) psychological safety in your school + with your team, and more. Handouts provided, and college admission officers welcomed!


  • Ethan Sawyer, Founder/College Essay Guy
  • Hanah Lim, Director of Workshops/College Essay Guy

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

This seminar will “fill the toolboxes” of new or nearly new secondary school counselors with strategies, best practices, and effective counseling techniques to help guide students through the college admissions process. Discuss how to create the ideal college counseling office, essential resources for providing effective college counseling services, writing impactful letters of recommendation, ethical issues in college counseling, the use of technology, counseling the college-bound student athlete, the role of standardized testing and an overview of the financial aid process.


  • John Serafine, Director of College Counseling/McQuaid Jesuit High School