Transylvania admissions director to take message of college accessibility to national level

When the National Association for College Admission Counseling meets in Louisville this September, Johnnie Johnson will not only share his passion for providing access to higher education, but he will put Transylvania University on the radar of high school guidance counselors across the country.

Johnson, Transylvania’s director of admissions and interim vice president for enrollment, will play host at the national meeting through his role as the group’s newly elected state affiliate president. As one of the convention speakers, he’ll address an audience of possibly 7,000 or 8,000 attendees.

Also as president of the Kentucky Association for College Admission Counseling, Johnson is a voting member of the national organization, someone who helps make policy for all of the affiliates.

KYACAC is a professional organization that “brings together those who work with students as they make the transition from high school to postsecondary education,” according to the group. “The goal of KYACAC is to serve college-bound students within the commonwealth and to improve their access to higher education.”

All of Kentucky’s four-year public and private colleges are involved with the organization, as are various high schools and community colleges.

In addition to, say, making policy about college recruiting efforts, the group provides opportunities for members to get to know one another. “It’s a good way to make connections and network throughout the state,” Johnson said.

The more high school guidance counselors interact with their college admissions counterparts, the better they will be able to advise students on attending a particular school after graduation.

Another KYACAC networking opportunity — a counselor information exchange — is coming to Transylvania in August. Representatives from schools in Fayette and surroundings counties will visit (and tour) campus while receiving admissions-related updates from about a dozen colleges.

Through KYACAC, Johnson hopes to increase this interaction between high school and college counselors. “One of my goals is to try to get more high school guidance counselors involved,” he said. Johnson especially wants to bolster participation of public schools, which are underrepresented because they often don’t have access to as much funding to get involved as private schools. KYACAC will offset some of the cost for public school high school counselors to attend the national conference, for instance.

“We’re trying to grow the organization as much as we can,” Johnson said.

The Cornell College graduate also serves on the board of the YMCA of Central Kentucky’s Black Achievers program, which regularly meets at Transylvania.

Additionally, Johnson on Monday was named the university’s interim vice president for enrollment.