How to get the most out of your summer

July 24, 2017
  • AACRAO Connect
  • Professional Well-Being
  • Career Navigator
Figure wearing a hat sitting under a tree in a grassy field as they read.

While the days of summer downtime in our offices are long gone, our minds and schedules remain locked into the academic year cycle. Summer remains a time when we take stock of the past year, reflect on our progress, and set new plans and goals for the fall. With a little intentionality, you can use the summer to help you and your staff be ready to tackle whatever challenges the new year will bring to your campus.


Read regularly: Do you have a summer reading list? In our academic departments, we tout the importance of interdisciplinary learning. We, too, should be engaging in that way in our personal and professional development. Some great recommendations from AACRAO:


Write regularly: Writing is an essential leadership skill; it can help you master the content, improve your critical thinking skills, and enhance your ability to communicate with your upper administration, your colleagues, and your staff. The more you write, the better you’ll get at it. And publication will help you to build your reputation as a thought leader in the field as well as enhance your resume. AACRAO provides a multitude of opportunities to publish:


Learn a new skill or update an old one: Books and articles only take you so far; sometimes you need a classroom experience to learn a new skill or update knowledge that might be getting stale. Conferences and training programs are also great places to grow your professional network. AACRAO has expanded the reach of our professional development programs by moving them around the country, making them more time and cost effective for our members.  

  • Check out the affordable offerings of  AACRAO On the Road, in Colorado, August 7 & 8 or Chicago, October 9 & 10.  

  • Visit our Upcoming Meetings page and plan the professional development opportunities for you and your staff for next year. We have even provided future pricing info that will help you plan your budget.

  • Look for upcoming webinars that will address our most current topics and issues, or view one of our archived webinars. Make the most of it and invite your staff and colleagues--and AACRAO’s webinars are free!  


Teach what you know: There is no better way to master something than by sharing your knowledge and skills to others. Teaching helps you to articulate core principles and makes you think about the material in new ways. AACRAO has a multitude of opportunities for you to share your knowledge with others: submit a conference proposal to teach a workshop or present a session, join the AACRAO International faculty, or propose a webinar.


Update your credentials: Are you thinking that it might be time to go back to school and earn that next degree or certificate to update your learning and be ready for that next job you are considering? Or maybe you want something a little more targeted? Consider AACRAO’s Strategic Enrollment Management Endorsement Program, SEM-EP. AACRAO's SEM-EP provides a well-defined, self-paced professional development program and career advancement track for in-service enrollment service professionals. And between August 11 through September 11, teams of three or more (individuals must be from the same insitution) who enroll will receive a 10% team discount! AACRAO membership is not required; to receive the discount, you must register using this link (will be available starting Aug. 11). There lots of opportunities available in the enrollment management field (15 openings in Jobs Online right now!), and the career paths from which these leaders are emerging are diversifying. The SEM-EP program can help you to tackle a specific practical challenge while earning a valuable credential and expanding your career opportunities.


In the end, the key to continued professional growth is to hone a learning mindset by planning and engaging in activities that develop you personally and professionally year round. Having a positive attitude towards professional development is vital. By setting aside time to learn on a regular basis, you are investing in both yourself and your institution.



AACRAO's bi-weekly professional development e-newsletter is open to members and non-members alike.