On June 20th, HECA (Higher Education Consultants Associated) began their annual conference at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The conference, which ran from Monday the 20th through Friday the 24th, choose their theme, Revolution and Innovation in Higher Education, well before they knew how pertinent it would be. This year has been particularly crazy in college planning. We’ve seen changes to the FAFSA, and new application system, and a new SAT to name a few.

Being well-informed and knowing the latest trends is important for any college planner. At Parros College Planning, we take our role very seriously, knowing that our ability to have a deep understanding of the colleges and their admissions processes is a key to your success just as much as ours. As members of HECA, an organization that has a history of being on the forefront of higher education, sending two members of our company to the conference was an absolute must to keep us knowledgeable for our clients and their students. Joining more than 300 other participants at the conference, Parros College Planning’s own Kim Parros and Lisa Schmidt went on the trip to Philadelphia to be enlightened on the latest in college information.

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Starting sharply at 10 am on the 20th, the HECA conference presented numerous opportunities for attendees to hear from experts on various topics relating to college planning. Lisa spent her time attending a panel on the admissions process for art-focused students. Speakers on the panel included Nicole Hall, the Director of Admissions at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. While Lisa learned about the unique needs of art students, Kim attended a workshop discussing the latest and one of the most exciting new technologies for college planning: ZeeMee. ZeeMee is a great resource for students to connect to potential colleges outside of the traditional application and essay. We have been spending a lot of time with our juniors at Parros College Planning preparing them to create a ZeeMee account. The Zeemee panel focused on how students can best present themselves to admissions officials, something that Kim knows well as she specializes in essay help with all of our student clients. “The perspectives on the panel brought a novel approach to how we should understand the admissions process,” remembers Kim. “How students present themselves to colleges is one of the most important things, and I enjoyed learning about the many different ways and platforms students can use to ‘sell themselves’ to schools.” Many more sessions followed affording Lisa and Kim the opportunity for personal growth, and to experience first-hand the information from the leaders in the field.

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Outside of the information sessions Kim and Lisa attended, the HECA conference offered its member the opportunity to travel to many diverse colleges around the Philadelphia area. Day one started with colleges on the Main Line. After renting a car and sitting down to enjoy some fresh coffee, Kim and Lisa traveled to Villanova University. Villanova has recently undergone many renovations, but it still has the charm and picturesque quality found in many private east coast institutions. Villanova’s business school was recently ranked #1 by Bloomberg Business magazine for its undergraduate business program.

Travel to some of the other schools on the Main Line afforded our college planners the chance to take in the beauty of Philly’s rolling hills and luscious landscapes. After Villanova, they visited Bryn Mawr, one of the seven sisters, a private all women’s college and Haverford, a small liberal arts school that felt like a summer camp. A personal favorite of Kim’s was Lafayette College. Just outside of the city, Lafayette’s curriculum offers freedom to students with eight-month co-ops combining liberal arts and engineering programs. “Students with an interest in this private college will likely enjoy the flexibility it offers to students in their academic planning,” says Kim. It was then onto Lehigh University, maybe the prettiest of all the campuses visited that week. It was a full day and it offered the chance to speak to many college admission staff to learn more about the schools, all the while Kim and Lisa were thinking about our students and if they would be a good match for the different institutions.

After a day of informative symposiums, meeting with college officials, and exploring the rich and diversified selection of colleges in the greater Philadelphia area, our college planners were filled with exciting and profound perspectives that give us the foundation to provide you with the best service out there. The trip ended with more campus tours including Temple, Drexel and the University of Pennsylvania. As they traveled to the airport to return home they both commented on how much the Philly area has to offer in terms of a great mix of colleges, something for everyone.

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At Parros College Planning, we want all of our students to have the best chance to find the right college for them. Knowing everything we can about the admissions process, having a deep understanding of the world of higher education, and being fully aware of the latest trends and technology for college planning makes us ready to serve you and your family expertly in your college planning journey.