Associate Director of College CounselingThe Lawrenceville School (NJ)NACAC member since 2011
Founded in 1810, The Lawrenceville School offers a comprehensive,
coeducational program for more than 800 students, grades nine through
post-graduate, who come from 33 states and 33 countries.
There are lots of parallels between my undergraduate experience at a
liberal arts college and life at a boarding school. It’s one of the
reasons that drew me to the role of college counseling in a residential
high school. Most special of all is getting to know students in a
variety of contexts, as the relationships you cultivate with students
can only grow stronger when they stretch beyond just a singular focus of
college counseling. I have worked with students through their college
process who were formerly my academic advisees as ninth graders or those
I coached on an intramural team, and seeing those students grow from
their first year on campus to the last is incredibly rewarding.
I have been conscious about creating time in my schedule to take care
of our dog, Penny, who requires lots of long walks. While I may miss
out on some human interaction at lunchtime, it’s a great release from
the day to be able to take her outside and collect my thoughts as I move
into the afternoon. I realize this is only possible due in large part
to working at a boarding school, where I live right off campus!
Each time I’ve entered the search for a new role, I have informed my
supervisors ahead of time. Some young people are hesitant to keep their
managers in the loop, but they are ultimately going to be the ones who
will endorse you. After two years working in my first admission role, I
went with my gut and told the dean of my plans to seek new opportunities
and he couldn’t have been more supportive. There is no reason not to
share your ideas and aspirations with your supervisor. You can only
benefit from tapping into their expertise about what an admission office
might be looking for in its next hire. Looking back on it now, it
doesn’t feel like I even took that big of a risk in doing so.
One of the best things about this field is how many people have been
willing to offer guidance along the way, and I am grateful for a network
of hard-working, caring people who I can turn to for advice. The first
mentor I sought out was Jim Richardson, who at the time was the director
of admissions at Holy Cross (MA). As a tour guide, work-study student
worker, and senior interviewer in the admission office, we crossed paths
often. I sought his advice when I pursued a job in higher education as a
graduating senior, and he coached me from the initial stages of
searching for jobs to the interviews themselves. Jim has since also
moved to “the other side of the desk” and we are still in touch more
than 10 years later.
One of the most confusing aspects of the process for students and
families is managing the wide variety of application timelines,
requirements, and deadlines across different institutions. The
difference between early action and early decision versus “single
choice” and “restrictive” early action is complicated. I would love to
see colleges collectively decide on offering one kind of early action
plan and then stick to the same timeline of application due dates and
decision release dates.
If you ask for it, students will be the first to help keep you in
line with what’s relevant. For example, the use of “YOLO” is no longer
cool according to a senior I work with.
Vice President for Enrollment ManagementMonmouth College (IL)NACAC member since 2014
Monmouth College is a private liberal arts, college offering majors
in the natural sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities.
Immense; and usually with wine, yoga, a sense of humor, and my best
attempt at humility. Recruitment is incredibly challenging in today’s
market, and you’re tasked with articulating the challenges to your
trustees and campus community, but then figuring out how to overcome
them and do well anyway. Marketing does not create demand, as much as I
wish it did. I try to be radically candid with my president, my staff,
and others across campus so we can make informed decisions rooted in
optimistic, but ultimately realistic, expectations.
Every woman gets to make her own decisions about what’s best for her.
But watching so many admission offices hemorrhage talented women has
made me cringe since the beginning of my career! I really hope more
women consider sticking with admission. And as managers, I believe it’s
on us to give them reasons to stay. We must find ways to evolve as a
profession and at the individual office level so that women see
opportunities for themselves beyond their mid-20s and after they have
children, if that’s what they choose to do.
Once you truly believe that the college search is about each student
finding their own best fit, it’s easier to see how your alma mater may
or may not be that for any one person.
What I value most is the understanding—no one can celebrate or
commiserate with you like someone who’s been through it. I reach out to
my network constantly—when I want to brainstorm, when I’m stumped by a
particular challenge, when I need a pep talk, when I have a funny story
to share. I find the admission and college counseling communities to be
incredibly supportive, and especially in a high-pressure job, it’s such a
gift to have a network of people who have your back.
A keen interest in data and reporting, strong written and verbal
communication skills, mental toughness, a developmental approach to
management, a firm grasp on budgets and finance, a sharp command of
politics and persuasion, and a commitment to their institutional
mission. That said, in my experience, many of these things, along with
patience, humility and emotional resilience, are learned on the job. I
also recommend a strong partner at home, if you are interested and can
find one. My partner is a mental health counselor, so that’s a bonus if,
like me, you have zero chill by nature.
I struggled with this earlier in my career, but eventually I realized
that I’ll never be as productive or creative if I’m mentally and
emotionally sapped all the time. Plus, my work is important to me, but
so are my friends, my relationship, and travel. Having a rich and
interesting life outside of work makes me a more productive VP, and a
better and kinder boss. It also sets an example for my team, and being
away empowers them to handle things in my absence. And if you’re still
unsure, just Google an image of Valencia, Spain, and then think about if
you would rather be there or reading applications.