MEDIA, Pa. — Jeremy Branch, Penn State Brandywine’s senior assistant director of enrollment management, recently completed a one-year term as president of the Pennsylvania Association for College Admission Counseling (PACAC). Branch is just the second University employee to ever serve as PACAC president and is the first from a Commonwealth Campus. He will stay involved with the organization at the leadership level as immediate past president — lending his expertise throughout PACAC’s transition period.
PACAC is a nonprofit association of more than 1,200 school counselors, college admission counselors, independent education consultants and other professionals responsible for guiding students through the transition from high school to college. Branch has been an involved member and leader within the organization for more than a decade.
“PACAC is a professional development organization that supports, educates and advocates on the behalf of students and professionals within the counseling space in both high school and college,” Branch said. “We are an organization that provides education, training and professional development to our members. We also do a lot of advocacy work at the state and federal levels.”
As president, Branch oversaw everything from PACAC’s budget and professional development offerings to the organization’s strategic plan and navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. One of Branch’s largest goals during his tenure was to leverage technology to bring professional development programming to PACAC members during the pandemic.
“This past year, we offered 17 virtual professional development programs to our members, and eight of those programs were specific to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), which was a major part of my presidency,” Branch said. “I wanted to make sure that DEI was specifically addressed in our association, from the professional development programming to the individuals who were offering those sessions.”
Another major part of Branch’s strategy was offering an array of virtual college fairs in the fall and spring as a service to students and their families, knowing that prospective students didn’t have the same opportunities to visit colleges during the pandemic.
“We offered virtual college fairs during evenings and weekends, giving not only colleges opportunities to engage with students, but more importantly giving students and school counselors the ability to network with colleges,” Branch said. “I am really proud of what we were able to accomplish considering all of the challenges we faced.”
A longstanding, accomplished member of the campus community, Branch joined Brandywine in 2007 as a counselor in the admission office. Today, he is helping guide prospective students and their families through the college admission process.
Branch is also a Penn State alumnus and attended the Brandywine campus. He graduated in 2006 with a degree in communications.
So what inspires Branch most about being an admissions professional and serving an organization like PACAC?
“The students! That’s the reason why I work in admissions. I love being a positive influence on them,” Branch said. “Learning how I can do better by students and helping guide them throughout their college journey is what motivates me to continue this work. And I would not be the professional I am today without PACAC.”