If you have ever had the pleasure of riding a roller coaster, you know that feeling of reaching the first apex.  It is excitement mixed with anticipation and a little bit of fear for what lies ahead.  The first downward “drop” sets the tone for the rest of the ride.  For most of us, the month of September feels like that first drop!

As our students move in to their dorm rooms or return to our high schools on those first few days of school, we feel that incredible anticipation of what we hope to be an exciting and transformational year.  Many of our students have smiles on their faces as they meet their new roommates, reconnect with old friends, and prepare themselves for the rigors of another academic year.  However, let’s not forget about those students who view this time of year as stressful, a time when they must leave the comfort of home to push themselves outside their comfort zone.  These students are the ones who need us most.  They need a welcoming smile and an empathetic friend to assure them that they will be ok.  I encourage all of us, no matter the role we play in a student’s life, to seek out those students who would benefit from some kind words.  Remember – you probably didn’t go on that first roller coaster ride alone.  You had a friend sitting next to you to share in the excitement and fear. 

NACAC’s annual conference is coming up – September 26-28 in Louisville, Kentucky.  If you have never been, I encourage you to attend.  You’ll feel like that roller coaster rookie walking up to King’s Dominion or a Six Flags.  It will feel slightly overwhelming but I promise the experience is worth the time and money spent.  If you have attended NACAC before, I think you’ll agree!  Attending sessions where some of the best and brightest minds in college admissions share their expertise is exhilarating.   There are unique sessions for those who work with specific student populations.  You’ll discuss the latest trends, formulate new ideas for your own work, and even disagree with others’ opinions.  But the most important part is that NACAC makes you give serious thought to why you do what you do.  There is something for everyone.  I look forward to connecting with many of you in Louisville.  We can ride that roller coaster together!

Good luck to all of us as we embark on another school year.  I thank you for allowing me to serve you this year as the PCACAC President.


Joel Lang
PCACAC President
Director of College Advisement and School Counseling
Padua Academy (DE)