The National Association for College Admission Counseling is acquiring the Character Collaborative, a nonprofit that encourages the use of character attributes in prospective college students’ applications. 

NACAC will use the collaborative’s resources and membership to launch a new “Character Focus” initiative to “support college admission counseling professionals as they advance their practice of elevating non-academic factors and character-related attributes in the admission process,” according to a press release from the association. 

The acquisition comes roughly a month after the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action, potentially driving admissions officers to rely on the personal essay as a means of ensuring diverse classes. In his majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts conceded that institutions should be able to consider race as a factor only as it impacts an applicant’s lived experiences, which are most likely to be expressed through essay responses. 

“In light of the SCOTUS decision, this [focus] is even more important today than it was when we started this organization seven years ago,” Robert Massa, co-founder of the Character Collaborative and chairman of its board until 2022, wrote in an email to Inside Higher Ed. “With NACAC as a platform, the emphasis can be one hundred percent on helping admission officers develop consistent and measurable ways to assess student character as a part of a holistic admissions process.”

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