Message from the President

Colleagues and Friends,

Happy New Year! I hope over the last few weeks that you were able to take time away from your professional roles and responsibilities to rejuvenate and refresh with family and friends.

Personally, I was able to spend time with my family on a quick getaway to Central Florida, where my daughters were able to explore their love of engineering and aquatic life by visiting Legoland and SeaWorld. It was also a great time for me to reflect on what was a busy fall semester, and prepare for what lies ahead during the upcoming winter and spring seasons for not only SUNY Delhi but for NYSACAC.

Normal for many of us, I’ve set some resolutions for the New Year. Such items include eating a little less of my favorite things, committing to stay active, and avoiding technology past 7 p.m. (Yikes!). Most importantly, I’m going to try to live by the following quote that came to me on a holiday drive with my family asleep in the car... “Don’t let your dreams dictate your actions, let your actions dictate your dreams.” Hopefully this commitment leads to positive outcomes, personally and professionally.

In 2018, I encourage you to be an active participant within NYSACAC. Whether its attending Legislative Advocacy Day or a Professional Development Forum, submitting a newsletter article or joining a NYSACAC Committee... Just Do It! In the coming weeks, also remember to use your voice and vote for the next group of elected leaders for our association.

Finally, mark your calendars now for our upcoming Super Conference with NEACAC this coming June. Both associations have been hard at work collaborating with our wonderful host, Marist College, for what is sure to be a conference to remember.

Best wishes to all for a great 2018 and Go NYSACAC!

Robert (Rob) Piurowski
President, NYSACAC



Professional Development Regional Forums

By Professional Development Co-Chairs
Courtney Cyr, Hofstra University
Sheryl Kavanagh, Grand Island High School
[email protected]

Each year NYSACAC partners with colleges and high schools throughout the state that serve as host sites for a professional development forum series addressing relevant topics and current trends in the field of college admission counseling.

This year, we are focusing on legal issues in college admissions (topics will include DACA, diversity in admissions, Early Decision deadlines, and more).  We will also have updates on Excelsior and the Enhanced Tuition Awards. Panelists will share their experience of the past year and provide their expertise for looking ahead to future cycles. Participants will be able to ask questions, as well as share ideas and opinions related to the work we do and how we best support our students and families in these times of transition.

This year’s dates and locations are:

Syracuse University: Friday, March 2
Hofstra University: Friday, March 9
University of Rochester: Friday, March 16
Siena College: Tuesday, March 20
Fordham University: Friday, March 23
Manhattanville College: Wednesday, March 28
D’Youville College: Friday, April 13

To register, please visit: Registrants will receive follow-up information via email related to event location, arrival, and parking closer to the forum date.



Don't miss out!  Spend your lunch hour (12-1 p.m.) on Wednesday, February 7 with some of the movers and shakers of NYSACAC! Learn about some of the hot issues and how they may affect our profession.
Only two webinars left of "A Word from Both Sides of the Desk..."
Part 2 - February 7, 2018
Part 3 - March 6, 2018

By School-College Relations Committee
Gina Christel, Garden City High School
Kim Harvey, SUNY Geneseo
[email protected]


The Age of ED or Bust is Upon Us

By Danny Tejada, Director of College Counseling with CollegeBound Initiative at
Longwood Preparatory Academy/Holcombe L. Rucker School of Community Research
Vice Chair of Policy and Advocacy at College Access Consortium of New York, Inc.

I believe in the merits of Prior-Prior. It does help low-income students finish the FAFSA in a timely matter. But I think fall can be too early, as public school counselors balance between at least three application systems, FAFSA and TAP. Most school counselors have large caseloads. In our state, the ratio is 624 students to one counselor. Counselors do not have time to give low-income students the attention they need in this process. Also, college counseling still is not a requirement in school counseling programs. Most schools do not have a dedicated college counselor. Having a Community Based Organization (CBO) that provides college counseling in the school/community is a luxury.

These issues are why I fear that college will misuse Prior-Prior HEOP admission. If schools wanted, they could admit most, if not all, of their HEOP class Early Decision. HEOP is supposed to be about granting access to our state’s most disadvantaged students and pushing them to succeed in college without the worry of cost. Don’t get me wrong; if a student does know where they want to be and they fit the profile, they should apply Early Decision. I applied Early Decision and got into HEOP at the school I attended.

But accepting most of your HEOP class Early Decision leaves behind students who can and will eventually want to attend your school. Most students do not discover colleges until the fall of their senior year, due to their exposure happening at that time, if they’re lucky. It’s difficult for a school like mine to get certain colleges to see juniors and underclassmen. I have had representatives cancel on me, not show up and express no interest in visiting my seniors. It’s also difficult to manage college trips for my students as I battle between a human and their school’s online form/calendar.

Most of my students are scared of Early Decision because of the commitment. We wouldn’t blindly marry someone. Why should a student blindly marry a college? Research, visits and talking to the representative are not enough to go on, even if a student is lucky enough to be able to do those things.

Why should a student who has the drive be closed to your HEOP family? Why should they go from competing against thousands of students for 20-40 spots to half that or even less? I know schools are actively considering this. One of my colleagues, Beverly J. Santos, Associate Director of College Completion at Uncommon Charter High School, expresses the same concern:

Considering the ED/EA admission rates across the board at the institutions that have the highest mobility and undergraduate minority rates, I want to ensure my H/EOP students are applying with the most robust application possible. Given H/EOP was created to serve the most marginalized group of students, applying H/EOP ED to their top NY school is very daunting.  In the research conducted by Jennie Kent and Jeff Levy in August 2016, Early Decision vs. Regular Decision Acceptance Rates, the data is astounding.  There were roughly 30 schools from NY that offer H/EOP whose data was included or the attempt was there to include. Are colleges using their  ED/EA metrics for H/EOP as well? Are they also taking a bulk of their applicant pool via ED/EA? If so, does this change the admissibility of future applicants when it comes to their academic profile? We have to remain true to the mission of our phenomenal opportunity programs across the state.

Thankfully, there are Directors out there who will not move toward Early Decision. One of them is Bill Short, the HEOP Director at St. Lawrence University. He explains his reasons why:

I don’t use Early Decision for HEOP at St. Lawrence University for two reasons. One, because so many potential students do not know about the school in time to meet the Early Decision deadline. Two, because we work very  hard to build a cohort that is broadly representative, and I cannot do that without seeing the whole pool. It simply does not make sense to close out the process early.

Early Decision does not build a diverse class. Yes, you are likely to get the best students from Early Decision, but you could be missing out on students who will make your program and school better. I understand the worry of filling your class, but it should not be at the expense of the students. All students deserve a shot at a loving family who will push them to cross the finish line with very little burden added.

I urge HEOP schools to resist the total pull of Early Decision for the good of their mission. I should not be put in a position where I have to get my top students to consider Early Decision as their best shot at admission. And the student who doesn’t have a counselor like me and ends up wanting more than their surroundings shouldn’t be left outside of the gates because they came too late.




Statement of Principles of Good Practice: NACAC’s Code of Ethics and Professional Practices

A letter to the NYSACAC Membership by Rob Piurowski, NYSACAC President

NYSACAC was recently informed of a Department of Justice (DOJ) inquiry into NACAC's Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP) that has been ongoing since November 2017. The DOJ has been investigating whether NACAC's code of ethics violates federal antitrust law and restrains colleges and universities in their recruitment of students. NACAC has been fully cooperating with the investigation.

Both NYSACAC and NACAC remain confident in the code of ethics that helps guide the world of college admissions. Developed, revised and approved by NACAC members across the country, the SPGP is a democratically-devised moral compass that benefits our students, their families and our profession alike. We stand by the common values that underpin the SPGP and are confident the federal inquiry will come to the same conclusion.



February 7, 2018: NYSACAC A Word from Both Sides of the Desk Webinar Series
February 13, 2018:
Legislative Advocacy Day @ Albany, NY
February 25-26, 2018:
Legislative Advocacy Day @ Washington, DC

March 2, 2018: NYSACAC Regional Forum Legal Issues in College Admissions & Excelsior/Enhanced Tuition Award Update @ Syracuse University
March 6, 2018:
NYSACAC A Word from Both Sides of the Desk Webinar Series
March 9, 2018:
NYSACAC Regional Forum Legal Issues in College Admissions & Excelsior/Enhanced Tuition Award Update @ Hofstra University
March 15, 2018:
NACAC Syracuse National College Fair @ SRC Arena Onondaga Community College
March 16, 2018:
NYSACAC Regional Forum Legal Issues in College Admissions & Excelsior/Enhanced Tuition Award Update @ University of Rochester
March 18-19, 2018:
NACAC Rochester National College Fair @ Rochester Riverside Convention Center
March 18-21, 2018:
2018 NYSACAC Liberty Counselor Tour @ Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan
March 20, 2018:
NYSACAC Regional Forum Legal Issues in College Admissions & Excelsior/Enhanced Tuition Award Update @ Siena College
March 21-22, 2018:
NACAC Buffalo National College Fair @ Buffalo Niagara Convention Center
March 23, 2018:
NYSACAC Regional Forum Legal Issues in College Admissions & Excelsior/Enhanced Tuition Award Update @ Fordham University
March 28, 2018:
NYSACAC Regional Forum Legal Issues in College Admissions & Excelsior/Enhanced Tuition Award Update @ Manhattanville College

April 13, 2018: NYSACAC Regional Forum Legal Issues in College Admissions & Excelsior/Enhanced Tuition Award Update @ D’Youville College
April 22, 2018:
NACAC New York National College Fair @ Jacob K. Javits Convention Center

May 17, 2018: NYSACAC Spring 2018 Regional College Fair @ Byron-Bergen Junior/Senior High School

June 5-6, 2018: Coming Together, Pre-Conference Sessions and College Tours @ Marist College
June 6-8, 2018:
2018 NEACAC & NYSACAC Super Conference @ Marist College
July 6-8, 2018:
Camp College @ SUNY Oswego
August 3-5, 2018:
Camp College @ SUNY Geneseo


On the Move… Member Updates

 Marcelle Hicks, Senior Director of Admissions |  New York Institute of Technology (experience including roles at Mercy College and LIU-Post)

 Paige Olscamp, Freshman Admission Advisor | SUNY New Paltz

 Jorge Erazo, Freshman Admission Advisor | SUNY New Paltz

 Laura Marcone, Assistant Director of Transfer Admission | SUNY New Paltz (from Orange Community College)


Legislative Advocacy Day

By Government Relations Co-Chairs
Brian Culligan, SUNY Welcome Center
Daryl Hornick-Becker, CUNY Welcome Center
[email protected]


Legislative Advocacy Day will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. Registration is now open so please register as soon as possible to join us to support our students or to advocate with your legislator. 

Transportation will be provided by NYSACAC from NYC and Syracuse to Albany for this day trip.

If you have any questions or concerns, please click HERE for additional information or contact Government Relations at [email protected].


Admission Practices Committee Update

By Admission Practices Committee Co-Chairs
Jeffrey Makris, Stuyvesant High School
Bob Herr, Wagner College
[email protected]

You are probably well aware that NACAC's New Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP), NACAC'S Code of Ethics and Professional Practice (CEPP), was approved at the annual NACAC conference in Boston, Massachusetts.  While the new document took effect immediately, there is a one-year moratorium on enforcement on any NEW provisions not previously included in the SPGP. Members will be expected to remain in compliance with principles that are contained in both the previous and current SPGP, such as honoring the May 1 National Candidates Reply Date.

We hope that all of our members will devote some time this year to familiarizing both themselves and their colleagues with the key provisions of the New SPGP (CEPP). We have more than a new acronym to get accustomed to; the CEPP devotes more attention to transfer students, wait lists, the use of commissioned agents in international recruitment, and an increased emphasis on the importance of the May 1 National Candidates Reply Date, among other changes. We will conduct a webinar about the CEPP in February as part two of the three-part series arranged by the NYSACAC School-College Relations Committee.

The majority of our inquiries in recent years, have emerged from various attempts to manipulate student enrollment commitments prior to the May 1 National Candidates Reply Date. No institution can require, or even suggest, a student commit to attend via a reply date that falls prior to May 1 with the exception of students admitted via Early Decision or NCAA athletic scholarship programs. Please remember that EOP/HEOP/SEEK/CD and other special programs must also adhere to the SPGP regulations regarding May 1. This has not changed.

Please feel free to reach out to the NYSACAC Admission Practices Committee if you are seeking guidance about your institution's policies or practices.  We may be able to help you avoid a potential admissions practices complaint. And, as always, "if you see something, say something" by using NACAC's Confidential Complaint Form.





A Great First College Fair at St. Joseph’s College, Brooklyn Campus!

By College Fair Co-Chairs
Claudia Mendez, The Urban Assembly School for Global Commerce
Melissa Bellantonio, Adelphi University
[email protected]

NYSACAC and St. Joseph’s College hosted their first college fair together on Monday, October 23rd.  With fifty colleges and universities in attendance and over six hundred and fifty students the event was a huge success.  Students were able to have all of their admissions, student life, and general questions answered by the friendly higher ed representatives during the two hour event.  We are happy to have added a college fair to the Brooklyn area this fall, and we look forward to our additional college fairs this spring!  Please stay up to date with all upcoming events by visiting our website:



WeChat…… WeScam……We Check…
A clever SAT cheating process in real time.

By Andi O’Hearn, Chief of Student Advancement, Ross School, East Hampton, NY

Just when I think I’ve gotten to the point in my career where I’ve “seen it all,” there’s something new.  Last April, through a series of odd events, it came to light that at least four of our seniors at Ross School had cheated on the SAT. Fortunately, the students were honest when initially questioned, and we were able to uncover what occurred.

The scam utilized a Chinese web based platform called WeChat. According to Wikipedia, “WeChat is a Chinese multi-purpose social media mobile application software.” As of 2016 it is the most popular instant messaging application in China. Here’s how the students cheated:

  • A Chinese student learned online that it was possible to purchase answers to the SAT in real time for the East Coast of the United States for $1,000 USD per person.

  • The student shared this information with three friends, and set up a WeChat group, similar to a text-messaging group.

  • One student registered with the “seller,” and paid the fee. Subsequently, the student received a WeChat invitation to a private group.

  • The seller hired smart, experienced, test takers who registered to take the test in a test center on the US East Coast with minimal security. The test taker rapidly took the test, memorized the answers, closed his test booklet, and then took a break.

  • During the break between sections, the test taker texted the answers to the seller, who in turn sent them out to all students in the private WeChat group.

  • The students memorized the answers in the bathroom during the break, and adjusted their answers when they started the next section. This continued for each section. Students involved registered for the SAT with writing so they had the writing section time to adjust the last test section.

It was simple, yet effective. You might think no one can memorize the answer key that quickly, but keep in mind that the English alphabet has 26 letters. The Chinese language has 2,600 characters, and the Chinese national education system stresses rote memory from kindergarten through high school. Memorizing 20-30 letters is not a problem.

To get around turning in their phones when checking in, each of the students brought two phones. They turned in one phone when they checked in, and kept the second phone hidden. When we discovered this, we thought about how to increase our test security to prevent this situation from occurring in the future. We purchased a metal detector (less expensive than you might think), and metal detecting wands.

We thought we’d solved the problem, yet again through odd circumstances we learned that our students were simply hiding their extra phones on the Friday before the test. On Saturday, they turned in their phones when they checked in for the SAT, went through the metal detector, and then retrieved their hidden phones. 

During the October 2017 SAT we swept the entire area including the bathrooms with metal detectors after the students left on Friday night, and again on Saturday morning.  We didn’t find anything. However, right before the SAT started, one of the “Bathroom Proctors” (yes--that is now a thing at our school) lifted the top off a small metal sanitary waste receptacle. Between the inside metal container, and the outside metal cover was an iPhone 7. This was clever as the metal detector wands did not pick up the phone between the two metal sides. At each break during the test, we watched the WeChat messages come across the screen.

As concerned as I am about Chinese students in particular, I am even more concerned with the pressures they are feeling that lead them to make these bad choices. These are not “bad kids,” but they are under tremendous pressure from their parents. We as educators have a continual responsibility to help parents understand the college admissions process in the US, and the importance of helping students navigate the process in an ethical manner. The students sign an affirmation statement on the Common Application:

I certify that all information submitted in the admission process -- including this application and any other supporting materials -- is my own work, factually true, and honestly presented, and that these documents will become the property of the institution to which I am applying and will not be returned to me. I understand that I may be subject to a range of possible disciplinary actions, including admission revocation, expulsion, or revocation of course credit, grades, and degree should the information I have certified be false.

I don’t believe that Ross School is the only school where Chinese students are using this WeChat scam. It is important that we review the test scores our students receive, and validate them with other information. I do believe the Chinese test preparation machine is able to produce students with high scores, but if they are studying in boarding schools here in the US, we have a clear sense of their abilities. As long as standardized testing remains an important part of the college admissions process, we must all be more diligent when we know students are cheating, and work to improve the validity of their scores.  



News from the Scholarship Committee

By Scholarship Committee Co-Chairs
Patrick O’Neil, University of Rochester
Carla Shere, Columbia Secondary School
[email protected]

The NYSACAC Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce our 2017 scholarship winners.  They are each exceptional students who will become wonderful professionals in the future.  

Niaja Hatcher is 19 years old, and a first-year student at City College. In the future, she plans to pursue a career as a Pediatrician. Niaja says “I am very grateful to have won this scholarship and I thank my access counselor Ivan Porto for nominating me. This money will help me pay for academic courses that I will take over the summer to advance in my studies of Biology”.  Niaja was nominated by Ivan Porto from the Options Center at Goddard Riverside.

Aurea Santiago is an “18-year-old Puerto Rican from the Bronx”. She is currently a freshman at SUNY Maritime, majoring in Marine Environmental Science. Aurea says “SUNY Maritime jumps right into your major, the classes you take revolve around your decision for what you’d like to study. The courses are rigorous although the school is not as diverse as you’d expect it to be for being in NYC, but it pushes the small population of minority students to prove people who doubt them wrong”. With the scholarship money Aurea will be able to pay for more of the courses that Maritime has to offer such as Chemistry, Oceanography and Ichthyology.


 Jonathan Tavizon is a first-year student at Hunter College. He has plans to pursue a career as a veterinarian after college and has a head start this semester by securing an internship at a private veterinary practice near his school. When Jonathan isn't busy studying for his classes or working, he pursues his other interests such as playing squash and music, which he may even pick up as a minor. Jonathan was nominated by Jennifer Ng and Assumpta Galang at StreetSquash.

Michael Turner, Jr, is a young striving academic studying Anthropology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Michael is interested in becoming a music journalist or media content creator dealing in modern music culture/human relations and was nominated by Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice.

We would like to thank the scholarship committee for their work reviewing over 140 applications:

Nicola Fennel, Street Squash; Jeff Makris, Stuyvesant High School; Tony Rudolph, Alfred State SUNY College of Technology; Claudia Mendez, Urban Assembly School for Global Commerce; Ana Henriquez, Bronx School for Math and Science; Raffaello Brown, SUNY Buffalo State;  Cynthia Marino, Columbia University School of Nursing; David Stephens, CUNY Baruch College; Rob Gordon, Cristo Rey High School;Guillermo Rivera, CUNY City College; Meylin Andares, SUNY; Allie Jacobius, High Point University; Ashley Scott, University at Buffalo; and Iana Neil, SUNY Maritime College.



5 Lessons I Learned Through the Interview Process

By Austin Brass, Associate Director of Admissions Recruitment and Strategy, Utica College

Eighteen months ago I was approached by a mentor in the college admissions profession who asked me if I would consider applying to oversee recruitment in a middle management position. At the time I had only mildly considered advancement, and after that conversation I naively thought that my experience, and being very involved in my -ACAC meant job offers would come flying left and right. Needless to say I had some growing pains. Here are five pieces of advice I received that I thought were most beneficial through my first five years in college admissions:

Get a Masters Degree

As one director who was also a mentor to me said, “Go to and find me a job that isn’t entry level, and doesn’t have Masters degree or seven years experience next to the preferred qualifications. If you find it I’ll hire you tomorrow.” I searched for about two weeks...she didn’t hire me.

Get involved with your -ACAC

There are a lot of job responsibilities and experience that you probably aren’t going to get through your institution. That could be leadership experience, event planning, working with big data, experience on the admissions/operations side, etc. The one thing working with your -ACAC gives you is an opportunity to work your way into different roles and responsibilities. I oversaw the enrollment and marketing of the high ability programs at my last institution (Honors College, Specialized Academic Programs, etc.), but there was no role I could move into to get supervising experience. I gained all my supervising experience through running a middle management program, and by volunteering for training sessions for new hires.

Find at least one mentor in this profession

I love this profession. I’m obsessed with admissions and the work we do. That being said, I’ve needed to call, and vent to people a few times over the past five years because I’d just about had it working in admissions. Find people in this profession that you look up to, and find at least one mentor outside of your office that you can vent frustrations to. It’s never a good look to vent or gossip within your own office, and having a mentor will let you see things from a different point of view. Not to mention when you start to look for a new job they can look at your experience honestly, and give you advice on what they think you need to work on. The best advice, and the biggest killer to my ego, was when my most trusted mentor looked at me and said, “I know you’re special, but there’s nothing that you’ve done on this resume that is special. You need to find a project skill, or responsibility that makes you shine.”  

Internal Promotions: Can you manage your colleagues?

I’ve had four different people tell me four different stories about how they were passed over as an internal candidate because their supervisors didn’t believe they could supervise their colleagues. For one of them it was because they had a bad relationship with one of their colleagues. For the other three it was because the supervisor thought they were too close with one or more of their colleagues, and that they wouldn’t be able to supervise fairly. As one Vice President said to me, “I hope y’all are friends and go out for a beer, but if they’re in your wedding party I don’t know how you can supervise them.”

Find an environment that fits you

By far the most important: don’t just take a job because it gives you more money, or more responsibility, or is in a location that is more desirable than a job you think is a better fit for you. I could write a book about the stories I’ve heard of people who took jobs for the wrong reason, and ended up leaving the job or profession within a year. Know the type of environment you want to work in, ask questions about the things that matter to you when you’re looking to advance. Be open-minded going into the interview, but keep in mind the principles that are important to you.


Save the Date for the 2018 Camp College Fairs!

Saturday, July 7 
SUNY Oswego
5:30pm: College Fair
6:30pm: Dinner

C:\Users\ja163664\Desktop\Camp College- 99.jpg

Saturday, August 4
SUNY Geneseo
5:30pm: College Fair
6:30pm: Dinner

Camp College is a three-day weekend pre-college experience where students will:
  • Live in residence halls
  • Attend classes taught by college professors
  • Participate in Admissions and Financial Aid workshops
  • Learn college interview and essay writing techniques
  • Gain leadership and teamwork experience
  • And MEET YOU!

Each of our college fairs brings together 100-150 juniors and seniors from all over New York State to explore college options!

Please join us at Camp College to represent your institution by:

  • Option 1: Being a mentor and staff your table free of charge
  • Option 2: Join us for a fee of $50.00 per fair

Questions? Please contact: Estrella Redondo or Rianna Miller at
[email protected] or [email protected]
For more information, visit:

***Donations Welcome***