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Recap: NACAC 2017 Adventures

Rachelle Bernadel is the IB’s University Relations Administrator at the IB Global Centre in Bethesda, MD, USA. She is also an IB graduate of Parkdale High School in Riverdale, Maryland.

As we wind down from conference season, I love reflecting on how so many educators come to these events excited with a thirst for knowledge and seeking ways to engage with students in their classroom or campus environment. This is my 4th conference (wow) and over the years I have noticed the niche needs that much of the attendees seek. Certainly there are the common questions on IB recognition, where to find IB scholarships, curriculum trainings for admissions professionals…the list goes on and I love it! Overtime, this community has become so evolved and strategic in your support of students I wanted to make this post about the ways in which we engaged in the conference with the hopes it helps you in your everyday work.

We first set up shop as an exhibitor in the conference hall with hundreds of other vendors seeking to serve the education community and it students. Seeing old friends and making new ones is commonplace at NACAC. It is also a time to remain on the ground hearing concerns of IB stakeholders. Some of the main questions we received were:

  1. As a counselor, where do I find information on subject guide information for the upcoming curriculum changes? I want to make sure universities are aware, educated and students are evaluated comprehensively.
  2. I am a university admissions officer looking to recruit IB students?
  3. I am new to an IB school or interesting in being one and need some help counseling IB students. Help?!

If you are reading this and any of these questions resonate, please reach out!

As we headed into the Exhibitor Expo Session, with a small intimate group, we discussed the nuances of the Career-Related Programme, what is required for implementation and how are we working with universities to educate them about this exciting offering. As the programme grows we are seeking to develop more partnerships with institutions to reinforce this offering. Connect with us if you are interested in discussing potential options.

On Friday afternoon, we hosted my favorite part of the conference, the IB Special Interest Group. This is always a time where we can have more personal conversations about IB related issues from missing transcripts, how counselors can work with local colleges and how should counselors advise students in light of changing college trends.

Bright and early on Saturday morning, we moderated a very engaging session around how institutions can begin conducting research on IB students on campus and how that can impactfully influence policy. As the panelists from University of Rochester, University of British, University of Toronto and the IB research team shared case studies from their own campuses, it was very enlightening to see the varying degrees and levels to which “research” or “engagement” can be done. From hosting IB student events, to comparing outcomes of IB students and their counterparts, this session demonstrated that there are very holistic ways for us to understand IB student experience on campus.

Boston 2017 was a great and refreshing experience as always, see you in Salt Lake City!



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