I had the opportunity to attend the 2013 NACAC (National Association of College Admissions Counselors) conference in Toronto, Canada. Here are a couple of the highlights and takeaways from the conference.
- Conference Buzz – NACAC’s International Recruitment Commission recommended the use of agents in international recruiting.
While most knew what the outcome would be before the vote on Saturday, NACAC approved the use of agents for recruiting outside the US by a vote of 152 to 47. The newly amended section of NACAC’s Statement of Principles of Good Practice states that member institutions will “not offer or accept any reward or remuneration from a secondary school, college, university, agency or organization for placement or recruitment of students in the United States. Members who choose to use incentive-based agents when recruiting students outside the U.S. will ensure accountability, transparency and integrity.”
This has been a highly controversial issue that will continue to be debated, but it seems to be overwhelmingly accepted by the members of NACAC.
- Sessions Highlights –
I attended the conference on both Thursday and Friday spending Thursday morning on the exhibit hall floor and attending several different sessions during the remainder of my time in Toronto. Here are a couple highlights:
- NACAC International Recruitment Commission: Recommendations, Implications and Future Considerations.
This session focused on the new committee formed back in 2011 and it’s role on evaluating the use of commissioned agents in recruiting international students. This was the “buzz” topic of this year’s conference.
- Using Online Tools and Social Media to Attract New Students
This was a great session featuring a well-experienced panel whose experience and expertise in using the internet to reach students has proven successful over the years. The takeaways were:
- The importance of analytics to gauge the success of any online campaign
- Facebook ads, if done right, can be very effective in reaching students and parents
- Third party lead gen companies (as seen in the exhibit hall) can be successful in generating quality students and an ROI if the relationship and processes are managed properly.
- Exhibit Hall –
It was great to see all the innovation in the exhibit hall. We had the chance to meet up with current partners of ours like Hobsons and CollegeWeekLive. We also visited with ICEF, and plan on attending their upcoming conferences in Berlin and Miami. We also visited with quite a few companies that are either getting into international marketing and lead generation or looking for partners to help them.
- Counselors’ College Fair –
I had the opportunity to chat with many admissions counselors, Deans of Admissions and others with various responsibilities and titles. I was able to talk to folks from my Alma matter, Florida State University and got a personal invitation to visit them in Tallahassee. While this conference is not revolving around international education like NAFSA or OACAC, it was clear from the fair, there is plenty of interest in the topic and connecting schools with international students.
- Location –
Toronto, Canada. Other than the rain on Saturday, the weather was great. Since the conference hotel was a little over a mile from the conference center, the weather was perfect for a brisk walk and was quicker than the shuttle in downtown Toronto traffic. The city seems to be in upgrade mode as they had a lot of construction in the city making your feet the quickest way from point A to B (even in dress shoes).
Being in downtown was great for food, drinks and fun with colleagues, clients and prospective clients. I especially enjoyed Fionn MacCool’s restaurant and pub right across from my hotel as well as The Loose Moose, close to the conference center. They claim to have “the largest selection of draught beer in Toronto.” They certainly had some great tuna sliders that went well with one of their many beers on tap. Also in town, were the NY Yankees taking on the Blue Jays and even some preseason Hockey.
So now you know Envisage International’s highlights of the NACAC 2013 conference. It was a great opportunity to meet with our current partners, future partners and learn a little bit along the way. We look forward to next year in Indy. Will you be there?