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2014 Summer Institute in Chicago


Presidents Panel

Jill Tiefenthaler

Jill Tiefenthaler

Colorado College

Scott Bierman

Scott Bierman

Beloit College


Admissions Faculty

David Bennett

David Bennett

Alex Catalan

Alex Catalan

Sarah Goldman

Sarah Goldman

DJ Menifee

Delorean "DJ" Menifee

Jennifer Sloan

Jennifer Sloan

Carin Smith

Carin Smith

Philana Tenhoff

Philana Tenhoff

Finding Fit in Selective College Admissions

Sponsored by the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM)

  • Thursday, June 19, 2014
  • ACM Office, 11 E. Adams Street, Suite 800, Chicago

ACM's Summer Institute for Counselors is a one-day professional development workshop focused on the admission process and student experience at independent, selective liberal arts colleges. The Institute faculty of experienced admissions officers lead sessions designed to help counselors guide high school students as they navigate the college selection process and apply to college.

The 2014 Summer Institute featured an interactive Presidents Panel,  in which Jill Tiefenthaler (President, Colorado College) and Scott Bierman (President, Beloit College) discussed the value of a liberal arts education.

Admissions Faculty

  • David Bennett, Director of Admissions, Lake Forest College
  • Alex Catalan, Associate Director of Admissions and Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment, Beloit College
  • Sarah Goldman, Assistant Director of Admission & Chicago Regional Representative, Knox College
  • Delorean "DJ" Menifee, Senior Assistant Director of Admission & Chicago Regional Representative, Knox College
  • Jennifer Sloan, Assistant Director of Admission & Chicago Regional Admission Representative, Cornell College
  • Carin Smith, Regional Director of Admissions - Chicago Officer, Lawrence University
  • Philana Tenhoff, Associate Director of Admissions, Macalester College (Note: due to weather-related flight cancellations, Philana Tenhoff was unable to participate in the Institute.)

Guest Presenter: Jerry Cebrzynski, Director of Financial Aid, Lake Forest College

Schedule and Presentations

8:45 am - Welcome by Sarah Goldman

 9:00 am - Application Review at Selective Colleges
Admissions faculty lead a mock applications review committee exercise, small group breakout sessions, and discussions about college fit and what admission officers at ACM colleges look for in applications, essays, and recommendations.

  • Moderator: David Bennett

Materials for the application review committee exercise:
Application Review Instructions
Kenneth Aldman Application
Mary Leavitt Application
Christina Moore Application

10:40 am - Choice of sessions (choose one)

Panel Discussion: First-Generation Students at ACM Colleges
As more first-generation college students pursue higher education, learn about programs, opportunities, and resources available at ACM institutions to support your students.

  • Moderator: DJ Menifee
  • Panelists: Students from ACM colleges
    Jerry Cebrzynski, Director of Financial Aid, Lake Forest College

Panel Discussion: The Changing Landscape of College Admissions
What are the challenges, pressures, and opportunities facing colleges and admission officers today? As counselors, how does this affect your work with students and families?

  • Moderator: David Bennett
  • Panelists: Alex Catalan, Sarah Goldman, Carin Smith

11:25 am - The Student Experience at ACM Colleges
Do you have students for whom a liberal arts college could be a good match? A panel of current students and recent graduates will join the Institute faculty to give you an inside view of the types of academic and co-curricular opportunities available to students on ACM campuses.

  • Moderator: Jennifer Sloan
  • Panelists: See bios of the panelists
    Merita Bushi, Macalester College, ‘14
    Noelia Fraga, Knox College, ‘14
    Jasmine Hernandez, Cornell College, ‘15
    Chloe Hish-Geneve, Beloit College, ‘17
    Alexis Sabor, Beloit College, ‘17    
    Elena Skosey-LaLonde, Cornell College, ‘17

12:15 pm - Lunch (provided) – Conversation with students, admission officers, and counseling colleagues.

1:00 pm - Presidents Panel: The Lifelong Value of a Liberal Arts Education

  • Moderator: Sarah Goldman
  • Opening: Christopher Welna, President of ACM – What the ACM Colleges Do Together and How that Benefits Students

2:05 pm - Choice of sessions (choose one)

Financial Aid Unplugged (Note: This session is 2:05-3:10 pm)
A review of current financial aid programs, applications, and processes, as well as a look at recent legislative changes that will affect your students’ lives. Net Price Calculators, Comparing Financial Aid Award Letters, Differential Packaging, and Trends in Financial Aid will all be discussed, with plenty of time for questions (and answers)! Download the session handout

  • Presenter: Jerry Cebrzynski, Director of Financial Aid, Lake Forest College

Forum: Working with Undocumented Students
With varying admission and financial aid policies, undocumented students can be pointed in many directions. This session will explore some of the practices at ACM institutions.

  • Moderator: Alex Catalan

Forum: Counseling Parents
We used to call them "helicopter parents" and now we're more likely to think of them as serious stakeholders in their child's college search and decision process. How has the parental role in the college search process changed and how do we best "counsel" parents when we're supposed to be counseling their child?

  • Moderator: Carin Smith

2:40 pm - Choice of sessions (choose one)

Financial Aid Unplugged (Note: This session is 2:05-3:10 pm; see the description above.)

Writing Effective Letters of Recommendation
Depending on the level of selectivity at each institution, the letter of recommendation can be a major factor in the admissions decision. Let’s look at effective components of strong LOR’s and how we use the information effectively to make informed admission decisions. Download the session handout

  • Presenter: DJ Menifee

Forum: The Role of Testing in the Admission Process
There is much debate about utilizing test scores in the college admission process. This session is a chance to discuss how different institutions use test scores and what impact that has on students throughout the decision making process.

  • Moderators: Jennifer Sloan and David Bennett

3:15 pm - Wrap-up

Moderator: Sarah Goldman

Additional information

  • The Summer Institute was free for high school counselors and staff at organizations that work with students in the college selection process.
  • Illinois Continuing Professional Development Units (CPDUs) were available for participants (5.5 CPDUs for participation in the entire program).
  • Questions? Please contact Scott Lewis (312-561-5910) at ACM.