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HomeMay 2017 Muse

From the Desk of the President:
Happy May and welcome to the start of a new season! The beginning of Spring is here....even if the temperature causes us to question it here in Michigan. For me, spring always signals a time to reevaluate and recalibrate in my personal and professional endeavors. With MACAC, I'm looking forward to continuing our existing relationships while fostering new partnerships.

I hope you find time to reevaluate and recharge during this season or the next!

Thank you for joining us in Lansing for the 2017 Annual Conference!



Congratulations to our newly elected MACAC Executive Board Members!


2017-2018 MACAC Executive Board Members:

Treasurer Elect: Lauren Fields
President Elect: Holly Markiecki-Bennetts
Secretary Elect: Catherine Longstreet
NACAC Delegate: Tyrone Collins

Congratulations to the 2017 Award Winners!

2017Gramenz Award


Karen Hager
2017 Achievement Award


Pamela Kurtz
2017 ACE Award


Chrissy Shaw
Nichole Veirs
2017 Rising Stars


Ethan Schmitt
Susanna Franks
Kelly Meerman
Jennifer Todd (not pictured)

CONGRATULATIONS To Our 2017 Maggie Miller Scholarship Recipients!

Roberto Jimenez-Martinez


Roberto is graduating from West Michigan Aviation Academy and will attend the University of Michigan in the fall. Roberto plans on majoring in Engineering. Congratulations, Roberto!
Luciano Marcon


Luciano is graduating from the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and will attend the University of Detroit Mercy in the fall. Congratulations, Luciano!

Mariah Stevens


Mariah is graduating from University Prep Science and Math High School and will attend the University of Michigan in the fall. Congratulations, Mariah!
Alarie Baldwin


Alarie will graduate from University Prep Science and Math High School and will attend Wayne State University in the fall. Congratulations, Alarie!

Thank you to our Maggie Miller Scholarship Review Team!



Updates from our Government Relations Team:

2017 Advocacy Day a Huge Success
by Dr. Patrick O'Connor

If you had the chance to talk with your state legislator about how to help students make better college decisions, what would you say?

That was the question brought before participants of MACAC’s 5thannual Advocacy Day, held on March 28thin Lansing. After a morning of presentations on everything from counselor training to higher education funding, participants had the opportunity to discuss their interests and questions with members of the state legislature, who joined the program for lunch. These lively discussions also gave members of the legislature time to ask their questions, in an effort to better understand how they can help constituents understand the college selection process.

This year’s Advocacy Day was particularly notable, as MACAC members were joined by members of the Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, and the Michigan Student Financial Aid Association. Representatives from all three groups called the day an unparalleled success, and plans are underway for the three organizations to present next year’s Advocacy Day as well.

A Reach Higher Update Brings New Opportunities
by Dr. Patrick O'Connor

Spring is undoubtedly the best season in the life of a college counselor. It’s hard to beat the joy of a student who comes into your office with the news that they’ve been accepted by the college of their dreams. It’s also hard to surpass the awe that comes from listening to a student talk through their college choices when their dream school said no, but they still have offers to consider from other colleges that will serve them well. The bounty of joy, wisdom, and growth that comes after many months of hard work in the college application process is something I’ll never take for granted.

It was sobering, then, to be reminded that this wealth of college opportunity continues to be out of reach for far too many students, despite recent efforts to increase college access for all students. “The State of School Counseling: Revisiting the Path Forward” is a report that comes from The National Consortium for School Counseling and Postsecondary Success. It provides a strong overview of the many steps taken by a wide array of policy makers and policy shapers since 2011 to increase college opportunities for students from all backgrounds, including the unprecedented support of President and Mrs. Obama with their ReachHigher initiative. This detailed overview comes to an abrupt conclusion that could best be described as candid, but disappointing:

We must acknowledge that despite the hard work of many well-intentioned professionals working in the college advising space across institutions, we have failed to accelerate the degree attainment process, particularly with underserved populations across the nation who are in greatest need of assistance.

The report goes on to use this failure as a springboard for future planning. Two literature reviews, a survey of school counselors and counselor educators, and a series of focus groups are used to urge the field of college counseling to coalesce around a strategy of leadership, alignment, collaboration, and accountability. The report reemphasizes the importance of having schools and communities embrace a new vision of helping students make postsecondary plans, a vision that is less about the role of individuals, and more about the work of a community of support.

In laying out a plan of action, the report makes two observations that are noteworthy. The report has a heavy emphasis on the need for more research to determine effective practices in college advising. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since the NCSCPS leadership is dominated by some of the most respected counselor educators and researchers in the country.

At the same time, this need for a broader foundation of data seems to be working against the report’s recommendations that the quality of college advising needs to improve quickly. In summarizing the results of a survey that measured the effectiveness of counselor training in college access, the report states:

(T)he survey discovered a strong discrepancy between school counselors and school counselor educators on the content covered in counselor education programs, with counselor educators reporting much more effective coverage of topics than practitioners. This gap in perceptions suggests that counselor educators may need to pay closer attention to the demands of those in the field as well as emerging responsibilities such as a greater need to support career and college readiness.

This conclusion reflects what practicing school counselors have long known, and often expressed to policy makers: the training they receive to be school counselors doesn’t prepare them to be effective school counselors. Absurdly high caseloads would challenge even the best trained school counselor, but the yawning gap between what counselors are taught, and what they really need to do, creates more hurdles for them to leap before they can effectively service their students.

With refreshing candor, the NCSCPS report accurately reflects the chicken-and-egg challenge school counselors have been caught in for years. The kind of research the report requires would easily take an army of researchers 15-20 years to complete and replicate, and the number of researchers exploring these topics is more like a squadron than an army. At the same time, how can counselor education programs effectively improve without the meaningful data needed to serve as an anchor for better training?

As research continues in best practices for college advising, school and community leaders would do well to heed the advice of the report, and end the silo approach to college advising that exists in too many communities. Preparing a student for college isn’t just the job of a counselor, a community-based organization, or the teachers of college preparatory classes. More voices need to be heard from, especially from the community at large, if the gap between the idea of college for all and the reality of what is needed to achieve that goal can be effectively bridged.

Updates from our Membership Team:

We would like to welcome our newest MACAC Members:

Michelle Machiele
Memphis Junior High School
Miller Admissions Counseling
College Choice Counseling
St. Clair County RESA

We currently have over 1,130 members and we are still growing…
Our membership is the highest it has been since 2001!

Thanks to our current members for all of your help spreading the word about our amazing organization!

For more information on joining MACAC, please contact:

Colleen Moore
Membership Co-Chair

Jen Foldvary
Membership Co-Chair

Social Media Highlight:


Deb Roshak from Memphis Jr/Sr High School was the
lucky winner of aTarget gift card for following us on Facebook!
Don't forget to add us to your daily "pushes" on
Facebook (@MichiganACAC), and Twitter (@MACACorg).

Updates from our Personal Development Team:

Women in Admissions
May 2nd at Northwood University
East Lansing Campus

The Professional Development Committee hosted the first annual Women in Admissions Conference in Lansing on May 2. The drive-in workshop included sessions on work-life balance, personal safety while on the road, women in STEM, and life after admissions. Beth Talbert of Oakland University was the keynote speaker. Over 35 admissions wonder women attended - there was great conversation, networking, and laughter all day! The Professional Development Committee is excited to host this event in the future! Thank you to NACAC for the Imagine Grant, MACAC for the support, and thank you to Northwood University for being such gracious hosts.

Mentor/Mentee updates!

The MACAC Mentee/Mentor Program is open to all! We would love to help you grow as a professional and expand your network. This year-long commitment helps professionals to help identify areas of strength and growth in the field. Mentees have a opportunity to learn from those who have gone before, and mentors are able to share their wisdom and experiences. You can even earn prizes at the annual MACAC conference!

To sign up as a mentor or mentee, go to the MACAC website,, and click on the Professional Development tab. Please contact Amanda Blanchette atajillhar@umich.eduor Lauren Flanagan atldflanag@mtu.eduif you have any questions. Please note that we will be making matches at our June meeting so get your applications in soon!