Join us for 30+ breakout sessions and all-conference sessions featuring
Director of Undergraduate Admission
Georgia Institute of Technology
Lead Education Reporter, NPR
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Heart of HECA
The Heart of HECA is a HECA conference tradition in which members share ideas and have open dialogue surrounding important topics that we as IECs face in our profession. This year we will be going into breakout rooms so that we maintain active participation in a small group setting. What better way to kick off the conference than to connect with one another and truly experience what HECA is all about?!
Round Table: HECA UnPlugged
Envision an exciting, live, business-building round table that focuses on ways to support each other in a new world of college consulting. Join us as moderators foster a spirit of community and collaboration with ideas from you and other attendees to help scale your business to new levels. This round table discussion will feature conversation pieces on the most popular business apps, how other IECs have made a pivot during the pandemic and business building tips. It’s unscripted, open for all practice levels, engaging and guaranteed to leave you energized.
*session recordings will be available for registered participants until May 31, 2021*
At the End of the Rainbow: The Real Student Experience in Ireland
The island of Ireland presents a unique higher education setting with options across the two countries of the Emerald Isla - Ireland and Northern Ireland. We aim to offer a conversation with, and between, current US students at two of the island's premier universities - Queen's University Belfast and University College Cork. The purpose of this session is to allow colleagues to hear directly from students about their real, lived experiences of studying their undergraduate degrees abroad, and the support they've received both from their universities and community in Ireland as a whole before and during the pandemic
Australian and New Zealand Universities: More Than Just Koalas and Kiwis
Beyond exotic animals and stunning landscapes, Australia and New Zealand are home to world-class universities attracting a growing number of degree students from the U.S. for their affordability, shorter duration, transparent admissions, quality of life, and employment options post-graduation. Learn about the entry requirements, admission processes, finances, differences in semester dates and timeframes, as well as the academic and social experience of ‘uni’. Gain a deeper understanding of the culture and climate of Australian and Kiwi cities and regions that also affect students’ choices, all to help you identify universities Down Under that are a great fit for your students.
Big City or Bronte Country? Advising on UK Campuses & Student Life
Our session presents an overview on UK universities and advising US students who are considering their entire college experience abroad. It covers comparisons of different UK campus options focused on “best fit” for geography and size, as well as support services available across most British campuses, from pre-departure and arrival, to resources for enrolled students. We will present our contrasting campuses in London and Yorkshire as case-studies (big metropolis versus smaller city), but would cover aspects of student life that are similar across UK universities, including: accommodation, clubs and societies, athletics, “Freshers Week”, internship placements, healthcare and visa support services.
Building A College List With Confidence
A critical component in our work is developing a list of good match colleges. Do you always give students the best options? How do you measure your list building skill? Building a great college list means looking beyond standard criteria to help students discover where they will be pushed, not shoved; where they will learn more about themselves, others, and the world; and where they will be happy. In this session, we will discuss critical elements of list development: experiences that correlate to success in college; questions useful in determining fit; and tips for effective list building.
Coffee Talk with 2 Queer Consultants: Making Your Practice Inclusive For All
In this “Coffee Talk” workshop, participants will explore notions and best practices of “inclusivity,” focusing on ways you and your business can become more inclusive to all. Participants will learn how marketing strategies, materials, forms, documents, and in-person visits can cohesively tell a story of inclusivity. Join us as we discuss the unique challenges facing today's LGBTQIA clients and how we can work with them to create a more inclusive tomorrow.
College Admissions - How the Pandemic Made the Process Pivot!
Mid-March 2020 as the world was trying to figure out COVID-19, every college made adjustments - pandemic pivots! This workshop will explore the 'adaptations/modifications' in college admissions - some temporary and perhaps others more long-lasting!
Were changes in coursework and grading considered?
What happened when the SAT/ACT were not accessible?
Did colleges evaluate COVID activities and extracurriculars?
Was demonstrated interest important?
Hear 4 college admissions professionals address these questions! Discover how COVID-19 influenced the college admissions process.
College Search and Accommodations for Students with Physical Disabilities and Health Conditions
Students with physical disabilities and health conditions have unique needs. These students may have different questions and considerations in the college search and decision process. Additionally, they need to be prepared to ask questions of the university disability support offices, and self advocate. Adrienne Frumberg, an Independent Educational Consultant, and Annie Tulkin, Founder/Director of Accessible College, and a specialist in college transition for students with physical disabilities and health conditions will share their experience effectively collaborating to support a student who is a wheelchair user and has health conditions.
Demystifying the Transition from High School to College for Students and Parents
The transition from high school to college mystifies many students and their parents. In this workshop, presenters will provide information that IECs can implement in discussions with clients and their families. Attendees will be provided with worksheets and discussion prompts including, but not limited to:
Common first-year pitfalls
Defining the roles of parents, students, and the college itself
Academic differences between high school and college
Resilience after set-backs for the student
Learning to embrace the college "you"
Adulting skills needed for college success
Developing Future-Ready Students
The future of work is changing. Today, in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we already recognize the need for flexibility and continued personal development. Preparing for inevitable shifts and changes in the future is critical. How can you develop future-ready students? This session will present research and information to help you understand future of work trends. It introduces a Future Ready Talent Framework that helps students to adapt to shifting skill requirements in today's work world.
Ethics at Work: NACAC's New Guide to Ethical Practice in College Admissions
Ethics guide our work with students and families, and help differentiate our practices from “bad actors.” Recently, the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) revised its ethics document, previously called the “Code of Ethics and Professional Practices'' now known as the “Guide to Ethical Practice in College Admission.” This session will explore why this action was taken and highlight some of the significant changes. We will take a look at HECA’s own set of ethical standards, the “Code of Conduct for Individual Consultants'' and consider some ethical scenarios HECA members may encounter in their practices.
FAFSA Reimagined: A Guide to Understanding the New Laws
Covid…the gift that keeps on giving. Did you know that the second round Covid relief package actually brought us an omnibus package which included the FAFSA Simplification Act that will be implemented for the 2023-2024 school year? What are the changes that you need to know about in order to help prepare your clients for their college financial journey?
Felons Cheaters and Varsity Blues: Working With the Hardest Cases
How do you help a student who has the right academic credentials, but has a problem on his or her record that requires further explanation? Colleges can be forgiving when the student owns the problem and explains the recovery persuasively. Even students expelled for alleged sexual misconduct can continue their education with the right guidance. Participants will be better able to assist applicants who need to use a supplemental essay to explain problems like expulsion or a criminal record. They'll also get an inside look at the aftermath of Varsity Blues for the families involved.
Film Screening: Autism Goes to College
Experience the powerful documentary, Autism Goes to College, the story of five students and their journey through higher education. The film will be followed by a lively panel discussion about challenges and opportunities for students on the spectrum, featuring the film's executive producer and other autism professionals.
Finding Humor in College Consulting
As IECs, we sometimes get overwhelmed by the stresses and challenges of our work. When this happens, it’s important to remember the fun we’ve had with our clients. After all, kids do say the darndest things! The purpose of this workshop is to highlight the lighter side of college consulting and how humor can actually bolster creativity and productivity. Presenters will share humorous experiences they have had, and participants will be invited to share as well. The goal is for participants to leave the session with smiles on their faces and with a renewed appreciation for our often entertaining clients.
From Doctrine to Dialogue: Understanding the Spectrum of Faith-Based Institutions
Religiously affiliated colleges run a complete spectrum: from chapel requirements to service opportunities. Many times students state they do not want a religiously affiliated school without realizing just how secular some can be. Want to feel more confident in advising students in this area? Learn the questions to ask your students in regards to fit at religiously affiliated schools. Learn as a consultant how to determine where a particular school falls on the spectrum to better advise. Become better at understanding and explaining faith-based institutions and how your student may find their best fit.
From Good to Great: Better Essays in Less Time, with Less Stress
What if instead of tip sheets, templates and exercises cobbled together from various sources, your essay process harnessed your strengths as a decision-maker, adviser and college expert? What if you knew how to handle almost any situation, and could easily supervise contractors or staff? In this fast-paced, hands-on session we’ll explore a variety of ways to update and streamline your process, whether you are brand new, a seasoned expert or the head of a multi-IEC business. We'll explore the Common App personal statement, PIQs and a wide variety of supplemental essays. Spoiler alert: Regardless of prompt, the process doesn't change!
Going Dutch: Studying in the Netherlands
This session will serve to clarify the higher education landscape in the Netherlands by explaining the binary system and what is on offer to students. We will dive into the philosophy of education and how that affects the admissions processes across the country. An overview of requirements and types of selection will also be included.
Grow Your IEC Business: Tools for Best Practices
This session is aimed at "working smarter, not harder" and is designed to assist IECs with streamlining and growing their particular business model. The presenters are experts in their fields of solo-practice, team practice, and independent consulting. Cyndy, Elana, and Jigisha will share insight into the tools they utilize to create best practices for their business. These tools address client management, business infrastructure, and internal/external communications.
How to Identify and Work with True "International" Schools in China
Currently. China boosts over 800 international secondary schools in China, with over 75% being developed in the past ten years. Conversely, Sino-Foreign university partnerships have been drastically reduced by 75% in the past ten years. The international education landscape in China has shifted considerably and will continue to change post Covid-19.
How can we, as higher education consultants and institutions, identify true international programs and institutions in China that we can work successfully with?
Once identified, how does the current landscape and outlook of international education in China inform the way we interact with institutions and students there?
IB 101: Basics for CounselorsIndependent Educational Consultants around the world work closely students and families who are participating in the IB Diploma Programme. Globally, over 400 schools per year apply to offer one or more IB Programs. Why IB? The International Baccalaureate prepares students for higher education in a globalized society. Learn how the IB not only provides academic depth, rigor but also nurtures the traits that will make students successful in college and beyond. Come ready with your questions about how to best assist IB students in their college application process.
In a Test Optional World, How Can We Help Students Shine Academically?
Colleges are telling us that the transcript is the most important piece of the admissions puzzle. As IECs, how can we help our students make their transcripts stand out? We know that students should pursue the most rigorous curriculum available to them that they can manage. But what if that isn't rigorous enough? What if the student has some glitches? What if their school doesn't offer many or any advanced classes?
Experienced AOs will give us their perspective and we will discuss free, low-cost and full-pay options for students to pursue their academic interests and shine in the application process.
Inside the World of College Athletic Recruiting
Karen Fong Donoghue (owner of The Rugger's Edge, a sports-specific college advising company) joins forces with Jon Haskins, former Football Director of Player Personnel at top institutions like Stanford, Duke, and University of Florida, to take you to the next level of College Athletic Recruiting knowledge. You may know the basics, but in this session, participants will get an inside look into how college coaches approach the athletic recruiting process and how you can apply this to your IEC practice.
It’s All Local: Understanding the Impact of Local and State Legislation on Your Business
We have just come off a tumultuous election year, no matter what side of the aisle you are on. As we catch our breath, the work of the government goes on. Why are we hyper focused on national elections?
As independent consultants, we are first, business owners. As such, we may be affected by legislation that happens more at the local and state level. In fact many times, local issues affect us more! As college advocates, we also want to support legislation that may affect the students we work with. Again, much of this happens at the local level.
Join us as we discuss the importance of off year and/or local elections and how to stay informed on issues that may affect you!
Neurodiversity and Mental Health in College
While depression and anxiety are common among college students, those with learning differences are often at higher risk. For example, teenage girls with ADHD are twice as likely to be depressed as those without ADHD, and autistic college students report high rates of suicidal thinking. These issues impact their ability to navigate school and contribute to lower graduation rates. What programs and interventions help these students thrive? In this interactive workshop, panelists with expertise in mental health and learning differences will explore best practices for supporting neurodivergent students in college and helping them realize their potential.
"Oh the Places You'll Go!": Liberal Arts Education in the 21st Century
Qualitatively, we know that a liberal arts education teaches students to think critically, analyze carefully, and write cogently. But … quantitatively, what does that mean for employability? With tuition costs at unprecedented highs, many students (and parents) are questioning whether humanities majors are a good investment. In this session, we’ll make the case for encouraging students to follow their passions if they lead them in the direction of the liberal arts. We’ll produce data that proves that liberal arts majors have excellent employment prospects and discuss ways to explain why the future looks brighter than ever for liberal arts majors.
Perfecting the Elevator Pitch Online and In Person
In this practical and lively online event, public speaking coach Gigi Rosenberg teaches participants how to show up at online meetings with confidence, authenticity and power. She will take participants through the steps of creating their elevator speech or online introduction. Participants will have time to ask questions and a lucky few will get to practice their introductions with Gig's on-the-spot live coaching.
Performers and Athletes and Artists, Oh My! — Working with Specialty Consultants
Many of our students have extracurricular interests that are substantial enough for them to seek an undergraduate course of study. Performing arts, visual arts and athletics, to name a few, require a parallel application or review process, in addition to the college application. Students, families and consultants must prepare for more moving parts to the process, in terms of earlier application deadlines, auditions and portfolios to prepare, interviews and meetings with coaches and scouts, and additional application supplements. If you don’t feel equipped to support a family through these additional processes, a specialty consultant can come to the rescue!
Save Thousands on the Cost of College
By understanding how the college financial aid system operates and the unique planning opportunities that each family has, it's possible to help students discover the schools that are not only a good personal and academic fit, but also ones that are affordable. This workshop will teach you how families can craft a college funding plan that will enable them to afford the cost of a quality education. Come learn about the process that every family goes through and how they can navigate this process with less stress.
Teen Anxiety: Know the Signs and Resources
In this panel, IECs and mental health professionals will discuss signs to be aware of as we work with teenagers, who are increasingly afflicted with anxiety and depression. We’ll discuss the many ways these issues, which may intensify as students deal with the internal and external stresses of the college admission process, present. Finally, our panel will offer resources that IECs can offer to students and parents which will strengthen our role as trusted family advisors.
The Hundred-Seven: The Resurgence of HBCUs
The origin of HBCUs centered on providing segregated education to Black and native students. For over a hundred and fifty years, these institutions educated and offered social mobility for the country’s marginalized citizens. This past year, 2020, presented a record number of donations to nearly a quarter of the 107 HBCUs and shone a spotlight on names of colleges other than Howard, Hampton, Morehouse, Spelman, and Tuskegee. What makes the HBCU experience special today, and how to evaluate which ones might make a good fit for your students?
Through the Looking Glass: A Glimpse into Working with the Neuro-Diverse Student
The session will provide an overview of how the brain works, both for neurodiverse and neurotypical students. Participants will gain insight into preparing neurodiverse students for the college application process. In addition, panelists will share testing-taking strategies, insights into trends in college admission and standardized testing, and tips on how to help students with learning differences develop executive functioning skills. The session will also explore college “fit” for the neurodiverse population and how to communicate effectively with students and their families.
Using Surveys To Make Better Matches
Identifying student characteristics, interests, and values is an essential part of making a good match. In the past few years, more and more instruments (surveys, assessments, and so forth) have become available and useful to the IEC. Over 50 surveys will be described in this session, and discussion will include using these instruments to explore student personality, career perspectives, emotional intelligence, and more.
What’s Next? The Future of Testing in College Applications
Gather ‘round the crystal ball as we review the changes to standardized testing and attempt to predict how testing will influence the college admissions process going forward. We’ll explore how social distancing has affected testing availability, impacted digital administrations, and forced the College Board and the ACT to update their offerings. Admissions professionals will offer insight into how colleges have adapted to test optional policies and how test changes have modified their current and future processes. We hope to clarify our vision, so that we can best inform our families regarding testing considerations.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Why BIPOC Students Need Communities of Care
Once in college, BIPOC students feel academically and emotionally unprepared, overwhelmed, hopeless, struggle with microaggressions, and racism. They don't seek help. When they aren't supported, hopes and dreams stop. They give up. They drop out. Counselors are responsible adults who work closely with students. They are often untrained to deal with a student's culture, ethnicity, or race issues. Learn how to bridge the color gap. Build trust. It's crucial to recognize, respond, and protect the students you serve as you assist them in their higher learning. Search out institutions where they can thrive and not just fill a quota.
Writing a Personal Statement for UK Universities - Step by Step Workshop
This session is aimed at colleagues interacting with UK universities. The workshop will provide an overview and step by step guidance on how to help students write a personal statement for UK universities admissions purposes.
The personal statement part of the application via UCAS is different from the standard way in which students write for USA based universities, and this workshop aims to provide more information and guidance on how to advise students looking to apply in the UK. This workshop will offer an interactive activity, working on case studies and tips and tricks for a good personal statement.