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International ACAC's Conference in 2024 - Should You Attend It?

As an Independent Education Consultant (IEC), your top priority should always be to look for ways to grow your skills, network and brand. One surefire way to access opportunities for professional development and networking is by attending the International ACAC Conference, the subject of today’s blog. Aside from the networking opportunities available, it is also one of the better ways of gaining insights into the latest trends and best practices in college admissions counseling. The International ACAC Conference draws professionals from around the globe who are dedicated to supporting students in their transition to higher education. In today’s blog we will cover why this conference should be marked as a must-attend on your calendar.


What is the International ACAC (IACAC)?

The International Association for College Admission Counseling is a 33-year old not-for-profit organization that represents overseas counselors with the NACAC, with a mission to facilitate global interaction among counselors and institutions in support of secondary students transitioning to higher education. It effectively brings together primary and secondary school counselors, independent counselors, college admission and financial aid officers, enrollment managers, and organizations engaged in guiding students through the secondary to higher education transition process, and promotes professional standards that foster ethical and social responsibility. It has more than 3500 members from 790 high schools, 683 colleges or universities, and 284 independent organizations across 105 countries, making it a truly international collaboration of experts in higher education.


How do you become an International ACAC member?

Membership in International ACAC is categorized into several types, each with specific requirements:

  • Secondary Institution: If you’re a counselor working in a secondary school.

  • Post-Secondary Institution: For counselors working for a post-secondary institution or admissions officers from colleges and universities.

  • Organizational MembersIf you’re a representative of a non-profit, for profit, or community-based organization related to college admissions.

  • Individual MembersFor individual or independent educational consultants or graduate students.

  • Retired ProfessionalFor those who are applying as fully retired professionals.


The application process involves simply providing your email address to the International ACAC to kick off the registration process. You will need to provide required documentation, for example proof of employment with a relevant institution or in case of individual applicants, a reference from a current ACAC member. Once you submit the application, it will await review by the Membership Committee.


Note that ACAC provides membership due waivers to up to 50 applicants per year who are not applying as part of a for-profit organization. This is particularly helpful if you’re working with a non-profit or community-based organization.


What is the International ACAC Conference all about?

The 2024 International ACAC Conference is scheduled to take place from July 9-12 at Western University, Canada. It promises an array of sessions designed to cater to the diverse needs of attending education consultants, from pre-conference institutes to educational sessions and networking events. The conference schedule includes a mix of academic discussions, practical workshops, and opportunities for personal and professional growth. The schedule comprises of:

  • Day 1: The exclusive pre-conference institute, affinity group, committee meetings and a special session for first-timers.

  • Day 2: The counselor fair, along with three separate education sessions jam-packed with relevant learning. 

  • Day 3: Global and US university fairs and two more education sessions to round out the conference.


The total number of attendees is limited to 1,600 with the following restrictions:

  • Secondary schools are limited to four attendees per institution.

  • Colleges and universities are limited to three attendees per institution.

  • Organizational members are limited to three attendees per organization.

  • No more than ten percent (10%) of the total conference attendees may be made up of the following two populations combined, with as close to an even split between populations as possible:

    • Organizational members based anywhere in the world; and

    • Individual members based in the United States.


You are encouraged to apply well in advance not just due to the limited capacity, but also due to the difference in registration prices:

  • Conference

    • Early Bird Registration (March 13 - April 17): $500 USD

    • Standard Registration (April 18 - June 3): $575 USD

    • Late Registration (June 4 - June 26) $625 USD

  • Pre-Conference Institute

    • Early Bird Registration (March 13 - April 17): $200 USD

    • Standard Registration (April 18 - June 3): $225 USD

    • Late Registration (June 4 - June 26): $275 USD

  • On-Campus Housing

    • Early Bird Registration (March 13 - April 17) $135 CAD

    • Standard Registration (April 18 - June 3): $140 CAD

    • Late Registration (June 4 - June 26): $150 CAD


Pros and cons of attending

Pros:

  1. Extensive networking opportunities: The conference hosts multiple educational sessions, conference chats, exhibit halls, and fairs to help you connect with peers and leaders from around the world. There are also plenty of socializing events like golfing and 5K runs for connecting with people in a more casual setting. If you value expanding your network and making meaningful, valuable connections, then the ACAC conference is a no-brainer.

  2. Professional development: The Conference hosts sessions and workshops that cover the latest trends and practices in the industry, and provides a platform for industry leaders and veterans to share their learnings with newcomers and first-timers. As you can imagine, it is an excellent opportunity to shore up the gaps in your own skill set and bring yourself up to speed on global best practices.

  3. A global perspective: Interacting with counselors from across the world will allow you to gain insights beyond your area of operation and into the global landscape of college admissions. Not only will you develop a better understanding of the diverse challenges in your field along with their solutions, you will also develop valuable perspectives that may help you bring innovations to your workplace or your practice.

Cons:

  1. Cost: The registration fees, travel, and accommodation can add up quite quickly, especially if you have a newly established practice or are working for a non-profit with a fund crunch. While the ACAC can help you with the membership fee, there is unfortunately no waiver for the conference costs.

  2. Time commitment: The conference is three straight days of time away from your practice or your workplace. While it is valuable professional learning and scheduled at a time that is suitable for global attendees, it is still worth noting that it will impinge upon your professional commitments at the time.

Should you attend it?

Attending the International ACAC Conference in 2024 is highly recommended for IECs seeking to enhance their knowledge, expand their network, and stay abreast of global trends in college admissions. While the investment in terms of time and money is considerable, the benefits in terms of professional growth and opportunities to contribute to the global educational community are invaluable. Whether you're a seasoned professional or new to the field, the International ACAC Conference offers something for everyone committed to supporting students in their educational journey.



If you’d like to recommend a rigorous research program open to high schoolers, you may want to consider the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded by researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here. You can also reach out to us at contact@lumiere.education to know more, or to have a chat about possible collaborations!


Also check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students. Last year, we had 150 students on full need-based financial aid!


Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.


Image Source: IACAC logo

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