Last year, for #ASCA14 in Orlando, I wrote up some key ASCA tips for first timers. Some highlights include planning ahead, getting social with your fellow attendees, and using the time as a great networking event. The biggest tip is to be realistic – don’t take on too much. These tips continue to be only more relevant at this year’s ASCA 2015 in Phoenix.
This year’s 5 Top ASCA Tips for the Noob 2.0 will build on those tips from last year to help make your ASCA experience awesome!
Planning ahead here is just as important as ASCA 2014 in Orlando. If you haven’t been to Phoenix in the summer – it is HOT. Like 110-115 degrees hot. The main difference other than an extra 20 degrees than Orlando is that Phoenix has a dry heat and is going to
be at least a little more comfortable without all the humidity.
That being said – be sure to pack your bags appropriately. Light weight, loose clothing will help you keep cool. Be sure to throw a light sweater and pants in the bag though too because many times hotels overcompensate for the heat by chilling the rooms you will spend hours in to frigid temps.
[Tweet “Getting my #ASCA15 tips for n00bs lowdown from @CounselingGeek #scchat”]
Tip 2: Save money – take public transit or Uber!
If you are flying in – you will fly in to Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport. This is a major hub for US Airways/American and Southwest airlines so flights may be easiest and cheapest flying one of those carriers. If, like me, you will be attending LDI – you may need to check a bag. Since Southwest checks 2 bags with the cost of the ticket – it may make more sense to fly SWA, even if the ticket is a little more expensive.
Once at the airport – don’t rent a car or take an expensive cab. There is a light rail connection that makes it easy and cheap to get to the hotel. You can also grab an Uber for pretty cheap. This link will take you to the Downtown Sheraton’s site for info on getting to the hotel, but below are the main ways to get here.
Get more info about your Phoenix transportation options here.
- Approximately $20 to $25
- 24 hours
- 15-20 minutes
- Taxis are readily available at the taxi station in the ground transportation area outside baggage claim.
- 13 USD; for one-way transfer
- 24 hours
- (800) 258-3826
- SuperShuttle departs from PHX to downtown every 15 minutes, in ground transportation’s designated shuttle area outside baggage claim. Travel time varies as the shuttle stops at several hotels in downtown Phoenix. ( ASCA Discount – click here! )
METRO Light Rail
- 1.75 USD; per ride; $3.50 per passenger for an all-day pass
- Varies please contact the hotel directly
- 40-50 min
- (602) 253-5000
- Take the METRO Light Rail shuttle bus from the airport to the light rail train stop. Proceed on the light rail to the Central & Van Buren Station. From there, you can catch a cab or walk three blocks east to the hotel at 3rd Street & Van Buren.
- Fee: ~$12-16 per ride (can split cost if you have more than 1 in your party) one way
- Get the Uber app to get picked up.
- About a 20 minute drive
Each year, ASCA’s conference app gets better and better. The app this year, the app is already released so you can start reviewing sessions, add the ones that make the cut to your personal schedule, and follow the social happenings through Facebook and Twitter*! There is also a handy list of things to do or places you may need to find under the “Around Here” icon. This app is also available if you are going to be #notatASCA15 – you can still get handouts and resources from home!
My fourth tip is to join the conversation through social media during and after #ASCA15 (that is the yearly conference hashtag). If you just search #ASCA15 in Twitter or Facebook, you can follow nearly any conference session you may not be able to be in.* This is great because many folks, especially on Twitter, will “live tweet” key points from different sessions – this way you can be in two (or 8) places at one time!
Participating on social media also provides for great new connections that continue throughout the year. I use my Twitter and Facebook PLN (Professional Learning Network) almost daily throughout my school year. It is awesome and want to see more people get involved. This is the one cure for PADS (be sure to check this link!).
My fifth and final tip for ASCA 2015 is to get out and about with your fellow counselors. The conference doesn’t stop when the last session is over for the day. Find some new colleagues (or invite yourself along) and go out to dinner, get some libations, or explore the city together. This is a great way to make and solidify new connections in another realm than school counseling. While educators tend to harp on all things education at any social gathering (just ask my wife!), try at least one night to not talk shop and enjoy conversation about life with new friends. Don’t forget to swap information so you can keep in touch.
By following these tips – you can have a great #ASCA15
I hope these five tips for school counselors attending the American School Counselor Association’s 2015 National Conference is helpful whether it is your first or twentieth conference.
Do you have any more tips or want to show some support for ones that stand out? Leave a comment below to add to this resource. Be sure to share with your friends and colleagues to make sure they have a great ASCA experience.
Want to help counselors get to ASCA 2016 next year? Donate $5 or more (the cost of a really tiny latte nowdays) to the School Counselor Community Scholarship 2016.