Covid-Era College Advising

Friday, February 19 | 1/12 PM Central

As with many aspects of life, the coronavirus has reshaped the college landscape, altering the college admissions process and voiding the value of historical data in a now ever-changing environment. What will happen with testing? How will grades be weighted? What colleges will offer in-person classes? How do we make predictions and best advise students? The new normal for college admissions advising seems elusive, so what do we do in the meantime?

Hear from both the high school and college sides of the admissions process as we wrestle with these questions together and glean from the wisdom of those working in the trenches. Join Deanna Ducher, founder and long-time director of the college advising program at Hillsdale Academy; Becky Priest, founder of the college advising program at The Cambridge School and long-time college financial aid expert; and Zack Miller, the Senior Director of Admissions at Hillsdale College, as they share their decades of experience both in high school admissions and within the college ranks.

Deanna Ducher

Deanna Ducher serves Hillsdale Academy in rural south-central Michigan as the College Counselor and teaches American history and civics. She joined the staff of Hillsdale Academy in August 1999 and initiated the College Counseling office that year when the original K-8 school began phasing in grades 9-12. The Academy graduated five students in 2001, and this June will graduate a class of 23, bringing the total number of graduates to 326. These students have attended a wide variety of selective colleges, state universities, trade schools, U.S. military academies, private Christian and non-denominational colleges, community colleges, and have served in all US military branches, including the Space Force. Deanna is a first-generation college graduate, so personally and through the Academy, she learned and built all aspects of the college application process from the ground up. Before joining the Academy, Deanna served Hillsdale College for two and a half years as an admissions counselor, recruiting from her native suburban Detroit. That experience gave her excellent perspective when she moved to the other side of the desk, managing the college search process for high school students. Off campus, she spends time in amateur photography, orchestral viola playing, travel, cycling, reading, and podcast listening.

Becky Priest

Becky Priest is the College Counselor at The Cambridge School in suburban, hi-tech San Diego, where the last eight years she has seen the design and build-out of the college counseling program and the school’s first four graduating classes, with college acceptances that include some of the most highly selective in the country. She brings over two decades of college financial aid experience, having worked in the Financial Aid Office at Washington University in St. Louis, and in the San Diego area at college admissions firms and in private consulting. Becky was delighted to have received the blessing of collaboration and help from experienced counselors when transitioning to the high school side of the desk and loves opportunities to continue that collegiality, sharing the learned experiences of fellow counselors. She and her husband have one son in college (a member of Cambridge’s third class) and have provided leadership in their church in the areas of teaching, music, mentoring high school and college students, international student ministry, and missions. She is currently serving on the Classic Learning Test’s Board of Academic Advisors.

Zack Miller

Zachary Miller is Senior Director of Admissions at Hillsdale College, where he has spent the last ten years in various roles within the office. He is also a 2011 graduate of the school, earning Bachelor of Arts degrees in History and French Literature. In his role, Miller manages the day-to-day operations of Admissions and leads a team of three other directors. He also coaches the boys’ varsity basketball team at Hillsdale Academy. He is married to another Hillsdale graduate, Heather (Lantis) Miller, and the two have a 9-month old son, Conner, and a three-year old golden retriever, Lucy.