ACCIS Programs

Each year, the ACCIS Program Team plans and coordinates professional development programs for the benefit of our members. Information about each of these programs is below.

Are you a college/university interested in hosting an ACCIS program? Email Linda Pierre, Director of Member Services and Operations or Emmi Harward, Executive Director, to discuss!

*Read about the Cancellation and Refund policy for all ACCIS Programs.

Blackberry River Retreat

The Blackberry River Retreat is a three-day experience designed for college counselors at independent schools. Held originally at the Blackberry River Inn, the retreat Is now in its fourth decade and became an ACCIS program in 2024. The retreat is both remote, quiet, introspective, mindful of creature comforts, and also a challenging experience that is intense, self-directed, and focused. While there are many opportunities in the field to discuss trends, programming, and hot-button topics such as testing or the Common App, this retreat focuses more on those moments when the checklist is pushed aside and listening is required

For further information, contact Blackberry River Coordinators Jeff Kurtzman or Amy Selinger.

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College Tours

ACCIS collaborates with colleges to host multi-campus tours specifically for ACCIS members. We seek out existing tour partnerships interested in providing a program for ACCIS members. ACCIS member tours remain on hiatus. 

For further information, contact Emmi Harward.


Known for in-depth conversations and intimate size, the ACCIS Colloquium offers an opportunity for independent school college counselors to discuss issues impacting our professional lives with colleagues from around the nation. With just 35-40 attendees, the Colloquium encourages discussion, sharing of best practices, and the opportunity to visit colleges in different regions of the country.

For further information, contact Colloquium chair Charley Burkly.

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Equity & Innovation Summit

The Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Committee is excited to bring you ACCIS’s Equity & Innovation Summit (formerly DE&I Colloquium). In this critical time for us to engage together in the important work of equity and justice as an Association, we offer the Summit to join together in discussion and discomfort. As college counselors who are guiding and advising future generations, we must continue our own education. 

For further information, contact DEIB Co-chair Jazmin John.

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Office Assistants Program

This unique opportunity for college counseling office/administrative assistants features the discussion of best practices in working with the counselors, families, processes, and information technology at the heart of our college counseling profession. During each program, 35-40 participants gather for two days of dialogue, idea exchange, and collaboration. Participants depart having gained knowledge and a network of colleagues for continued professional communication and support.

Meetings are hosted by an ACCIS member school, often with guest speakers from or a visit to a nearby college or university, in addition to other guests. A sample agenda and sample discussion/small group topics are linked for review. Each program will differ based upon participant input. 

For further information, contact Emmi Harward.

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New Directors Workshop

Offered in summers of odd years; will return in 2025

In order to support new college counseling office directors within our member schools, ACCIS offers the New Directors Workshop, an intentional gathering to assist our organization’s directors of college counseling (or equivalent titles) who will start the next academic year with 0-3 years of experience in that role. This program is geared toward those with prior college counseling experience in schools; for directors brand new to college counseling in independent schools, the New Counselor Workshop may be the preferred choice but is not a prerequisite for this program.

For further information, contact Emmi Harward or New Directors coordinator Constance Lumumba-Perez.

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New Counselor Workshop

The New Counselor Workshop (formerly known as the Pre-Institute) is designed for college counselors who are new to the work, whether shifting from another role in independent schools, moving from college admission, or approaching the role with other experience. This small gathering of 40-45 participants, led by seasoned ACCIS-member faculty, focuses on essential skills, knowledge, and strategies for guiding students and families through the college search, learning about college options, and networking resources for continued professional growth. 

The New Counselor Workshop takes place on the weekend preceding the Summer Institute in June, beginning Friday afternoon and concluding by Sunday noon.  Attendees may choose to register separately for the Summer Institute. 

For further information contact New Counselor Workshop chair Chad Fulton.

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Summer Institute

The ACCIS Summer Institute is a “must-do” professional development event for independent school college counselors.  Approximately 300 ACCIS members gather for three days in June for informative and thought-provoking presentations led by fellow members, and roundtable discussions highlighting best practices, innovations, and fundamental challenges in our profession. Prominent thinkers, writers, and educators set the tone through keynote presentations and open dialogue with attendees. Opportunities to tour nearby colleges as well as the host campus, plus informal networking and social opportunities, make the Summer Institute a comprehensive, reinvigorating, and influential experience. 

The Summer Institute is usually held in mid- to late June starting on a Sunday evening and concluding by Wednesday morning. 

For further information contact Summer Institute chair Lesley Klecan 

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