In college I studied business. My mom was a teacher and I actually wanted to go into education but was talked out of it because there were so many teachers and not enough jobs at that time. I even did a graduate course in Norway at the University of Oslo in Special Education. At 15 I started working as a camp counselor at Pepperhill Farm Day Camp in Nicholasville, Kentucky, and worked there for 17 years eventually becoming the camp director. When I decided to leave camp, I was offered an opportunity to work in the Admissions Office at my alma mater, Transylvania University. After 10 years at TU I was offered a similar position at Hollins University, which brought me to Roanoke, and ultimately to North Cross.
How did you transition from admissions to college counseling?
They call that transition “moving to the other side of the desk.” After two years in the Admission Office at Hollins I was promoted to Associate Director which I enjoyed but it was more event planning and marketing and less interaction with the students which is what I liked the most about my job. North Cross was actually part of my territory and I heard they were looking for a college counselor. I hoped it was my opportunity to “move to the other side of the desk!” I got lucky and was offered the job.
What is the college counseling process in the upper school?
I will meet with anyone at anytime, but each spring I meet with every junior and at least one of their parents or guardians. At that time I have them fill out a nine page questionnaire. The questionnaire has a lot of the same things you would see on a college application. This gives me an opportunity to learn more about each student, and the completed questionnaire has everything they will need organized and ready to begin filling out college applications in the fall. During the year we have about 35-40 colleges visit on campus. If a student is even the slightest bit interested in attending that college or university I encourage them to attend, ask questions, and introduce themselves to the college representative. What most people don’t realize is that these representatives are usually the ones reviewing our college applications, so the school visits are a great opportunity to make an initial connection. I talk to the students about “personal PR” and help them ask the right questions to get the most out of these visits and if a school has an interview process I will help prepare students for interviews as well.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I like having conversations with students and their parents about colleges and their goals for the future. I love when I can help students find a school that fits their personality, and it’s awesome when a student gets to go to the school of their dreams. Of course, that doesn’t always happen. It is a very sensitive time for our students and their families. My goal is to make it as easy as possible for our graduates. I also love keeping in touch with them throughout their college careers. I tell them that I run a full-service operation and will do anything I can for them throughout college.
How does our college counseling program differ from other schools?
Because we are such a close community North Cross students really benefit from a program like this. This is my only job. At larger schools the counselors are responsible for everything from scheduling classes, to helping students with emotional needs, and helping with college counseling. Not to mention they are trying to help hundreds of students. I really get to know each student and their family and have a true understanding of what they are looking for. I also really enjoy going to see North Cross concerts, plays, art shows, and athletics. It helps me get to know students further and gives me a better understanding of how they fit in our community; which allows me write a specific and personal recommendation letter for every student as I work closely with each of them throughout the entire process.
How many different colleges have students attended from North Cross with your help?
Starting with the class of 2007, North Cross students have attended over 105 different colleges and universities.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I love all things Kentucky! I’m a huge UK fan. I love horses and horse races, especially the Kentucky Derby! I actually have every derby glass from 1974 to 2015, and some my mom had from the 40s and 50s. I love traveling to see my friends and family in Kentucky and beyond. My dad and brother live in Nashville and my other brother lives in West Hartford, CT with his family. I’m also a big fan of Snoopy and the other Peanuts characters.