College Counseling Institute
March 29 – April 1, 2020


This event is designed to engage CESA College Counseling professionals in high-quality discussions that will improve their work, departments, and ultimately the ways in which students and families of our schools are served. This year, there is much to discuss, and we have designed a program that you will not want to miss.

Please note, due to COVID-19, this event has been changed from an in-person conference to a virtual platform. If you registered for this event, you have been emailed instructions regarding this event. If you need assistance, please contact CESA Director, Dr. Katie Wiens.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Mr. Todd Rinehart, President of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). Mr. Rinehart will speak on Ethics Committee Decisions and the Trends in Higher Education.

The College Counseling Institute will tour Belmont University, Lipscomb University, Vanderbilt University and Sewanee University of the South. See the schedule below for more details.

The following breakout sessions will cover a variety of topics:
Dani Butler
The Individualized 4-year Academic Plan
Dr. Kenneth Chapman
Working with Underrepresented Families Through the College Process
Kara Ussery
The School Profile Workshop
Jeff Morrow
Character Counts: A look at social and emotional intelligence in college admissions

March 29

  • 5-8 p.m. – Registration, Opening Reception and Dinner
  • Panel – Admissions in a post-Varsity Blues era

March 30

  • 8:30-10 a.m. and 10:15-11:45 a.m. – Morning session 1 and 2
  • 11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Lunch
  • 1-3 p.m. – Tour Belmont University
  • 4-6 p.m. – Tour Vanderbilt University
  • Dinner

March 31

  • 8:30-10 a.m. and 10:15-11:45 a.m. – Morning Session 3, Hot Topics Discussion Groups
  • 11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Lunch on site
  • 1-2:30 p.m. –  Keynote, Todd Rinehart, NACAC
  • 3-5 p.m. – Tour Lipscomb University
  • Dinner

April 1 

  • 8:30-9:30 a.m. – Prayer for our schools
  • Closing Session, Campus ministry
  • 10:30 a.m. Depart for Sewanee: University of the South (12-3 p.m. on campus)
  • 5 p.m. – Nashville airport drop-off, hotel drop-off

The Individualized 4-Year Academic Plan

This session will focus on how Westminster Christian Academy uses individualized 4 year academic plans for all freshmen to begin the college counseling process through utilization of individual ERB scores and GPA analysis. Information will be provided regarding how we utilized and present academic data in a portfolio format that will help parents and students to make academic decisions regarding course selection, test preparation(ACT, SAT), college admissions process, academic support resources, and extra curricular activities for the next four years. A sample portfolio will be provided.

Dr. Dani Butler is correctly serving Westminster Christian Academy in St Louis Missouri as the Head of Student Development. She oversees various departments relating academics and student life including academic advising, college counseling, and standardized testing, guidance programs 7th through 12th at Westminster. She holds a bachelors in English education from ACTS University, Masters in Theology from Covenant Seminary, and doctoral in educational leadership from Maryville University.

Working with Underrepresented Families Through the College Counseling Process

This session will present an overview of best practices to follow when coaching, guiding, and supporting underrepresented students and their families on the path to higher education. Intentions are often good, but we want to serve our students as they progress towards the new territory of college/university life from application to admittance.

Dr. Kenneth M. Chapman Jr., currently serves as Executive Dean of Liberal Arts division at North Lake College in the Dallas County Community College System. Overseeing faculty in seven different disciplines, curriculum development, and student success initiatives. Previously, serving as Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Oklahoma. In that role, Chapman oversaw minority recruitment and retention initiatives, diversity and multicultural affairs, and minority faculty and staff training and development. Chapman also directed outreach which engaged and developed more partnerships between the university and the community. Additionally, Chapman was professor in the International Business and Management division in the Price College of Business. Prior to OU, Chapman served as Assistant Dean of Student Development and Diversity at Oklahoma Baptist University. In this role, he was tasked with enhancing the campus culture and instituting a diversity plan that ensured students, faculty, and staff understood what it means to embrace a diverse world.

 The School Profile – a lens into your school

Does your school profile tell others – parents, the community, colleges – what it needs to?  Bring a copy of your school profile as we workshop its many different uses in the private school world.  We’ll look at how different kinds of colleges use the school profile, and what information they find most useful for inclusion.  Please bring a copy of your current transcript as well so others can get an idea of the different kind of reporting being done on the high school side.

Kara has worked as a college counselor for the past 19 years and worked in college admission for 2 years prior to this.  She currently works as the Director of Counseling for her K-12 district and works closely with all academic levels.  She has served on executive board for her state ACAC and has previously helped with the planning of the last CESA College Counseling Symposium.  She works extensively with international students attending school in the US and has developed a fondness for data-based counseling techniques and strategies. 

Character Counts: A look at social and emotional intelligence in college admissions

Have our college lists become products at the risk of ignoring the core skills that will cause our students to be successful once they enroll?  Am I preaching to the choir? Probably.  However,  I think it’s a sermon that many of our families need to hear.  Come to this session to see the latest data and discuss best practices for bridging the gap between academic and emotional intelligence.

Jeff Morrow came to Southern California in 1991 to attend Pepperdine University. He received his BA in Political Science in 1995 and a Master’s in Education in 1996. Subsequently, he taught Performing Arts, History and coached basketball until he returned to his Alma Mater in 1997 where he spent the next 3 years traveling throughout the United States as Director of Church Relations and then four additional years as a manager and Associate Director of the Admissions Office at Pepperdine University. Jeff came to Oaks Christian in 2003 and was promoted to Director of College Counseling in 2009. He has also been on the faculty of the English Department, teaching Modern American Literature. His involvement as a member of his professional organization has allowed him to be a lobbyist for educational concerns in both Sacramento and Washington DC, and he has served on the board of the Western Association Of College Counseling as the chair of government relations. He is currently the president elect of the Western Association of College Admission Counseling. As he nears the end of his second decade in either admission or counseling he considers this his life’s work.

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