More than 900 Hobsons clients wrapped up the final day of Hobsons University Wednesday with a panel discussion, awards ceremony, and numerous learning sessions, followed by an exciting contest and a pool party.

The day kicked off with a panel discussion among K-12 and Higher Education experts led by Stephen M. Smith, President of Advising and Admissions Solutions. Panelists, including Kat Pastor, school counselor at Flagstaff High School and the 2016 national school counselor of the year; Adam Castro, vice president for enrollment management at Bloomfield College in New Jersey; Dr. Nancy Singer, associate vice president for student success and completion at Salt Lake Community College; and Dr. Josh Reidy, former vice provost and chief strategy officer at the University of North Dakota, discussed the need to improve communication and collaboration between K-12 school counselors and higher education teachers, admissions, and student support professional.

Panelists also agreed that more data sharing is needed so that high schools will have better information on how to improve academic preparation to help their students avoid remedial coursework in college, and to gain insight into the outcomes of students who go on to college.

Pastor said she and her high school colleagues struggle to help students whose parents are overly involved in the college admissions process and those whose parents are not involved at all.

Some parents fill out all the college paperwork and financial aid forms, research colleges, and push their children toward a certain college, regardless of whether it is a good fit, academically or otherwise. “Sometimes I ask my students, ‘Did your mom dress you this morning, too?’ On the one hand, you are excited that the parents are involved, but wish they would let their kids decide. On the other extreme, you just wish some parents would return your phone call.”

Once students are on campus, the higher ed panelists said, they also struggle to figure out how much student support they should provide versus helping students transition to adult responsibilities. Reidy said his campus has had good luck engaging with student leaders as mentors and several panelists said summer bridge programs and mandatory first-year programs have increased student retention and given students a solid start in college.

Following the panel discussion, attendees watched video presentations featuring three finalists for Hobsons Education Advances Awards, and Smith announced Ramapo College in New Jersey as this year’s winner.

The award, determined by an independent panel of education experts, includes a $2,500 donation toward the institution’s student success programming. Ramapo College is using Starfish by Hobsons to encourage student success and has seen an increase in the number of students meeting regularly with their advisors each semester. Finalists for the award, who will receive $1,000 each, were Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and the University of Missouri.

To learn more about the award winners, read our press release.

The new interactive closing session contest, Take 5!, brought energy into the room as participants had only five minutes to share one idea. The winner, who will receive a free trip to Hobson University 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana, is Paul Allen of the University of South Carolina. 

We want to thank all of our participants, partners, sponsors, and staff for joining us for the 2016 Hobsons University and making it such a special time for sharing, learning, networking, and rejuvenating! We look forward to seeing you again next year!

For photos from day three, visit our Facebook page.

And, revisit day one here and day two here.

Save the date for the 2017 conference, which will be held July 17-19 at JW Marriott Indianapolis, Indiana. Subscribe to our newsletter to learn about early bird discounts, speaker and session details, and other special promotions.

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