Michael D. Carter, Ph.D.
Director of College Counseling,
St.Stephen's & St.Agnes School
Immediate Past-President of PCACAC (2013-14)
How long have you been in your current position at St.Stephen's & St. Agnes ? How long have you been there total?
I have been in the College Office of St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School for thirteen years, the past ten as Director of College Counseling. I have worked at St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School for a total of sixteen years, the first three as a member of the history department faculty.
How did you get started in college counseling/admissions?
Having served in the U.S. Army after graduating from W&L and doing some time in the corporate world before grad school and ultimately finding myself at SSSAS, I was open to the possibilities of administrator positions. Joan Holden, Head of School, approached me after Brian Leipheimer (now Director of College Counseling at Collegiate School in Richmond and a former PCACAC board member) announced that he was relocating to Richmond. She offered me the chance to become a College Counselor, which I was happy to take. I have been in that role ever since. At the time, Lisa Pence was the Director of the College Office and I learned a tremendous amount from her in my first three years as a counselor. When she left to take on the position of Upper School Director at Holton-Arms, I moved up.
What's your favorite admissions/counseling memory?
My favorite college counseling moment happens each year in December, when students from my high school who graduated in June, return to visit and tell the members of my office about all of their college experiences as freshmen.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue leadership in PCACAC and/or NACAC?
If someone were interested in pursuing a leadership role in PCACAC or NACAC, my advice is twofold; volunteer and step outside your comfort zone. What I mean is this - volunteer, but be undaunted about it - don't just fill out a form, meet people in the organizations, start conversations, and be persistent about your desire to serve. Second, be willing to take on responsibilities that you might not initially feel drawn towards. Any opportunity to serve, regardless of the capacity or issue involved, is a chance to gain experience and meet more people in the field. It also creates opportunities in the future.
If not working in admissions/college counseling, what else could you see yourself pursuing?
If not in college counseling, I would be back in the classroom teaching history and coaching.
What's one thing that most people don't know about you?
Most people probably don't know that I am an avid waterfowler. Anything involving ducks and geese immediately gets my attention. I am very involved in Virginia Ducks Unlimited, an organization that supports wetlands conservation.
What's a current trend or future issue you're passionate about right now? And why?
The current trend or future issue that I am most concerned about is the rising cost of college and how that will continue to dominate the landscape of the college process. Access to a higher education is becoming more and more difficult and I believe that there is a polarizing effect on our campuses that is already taking place.
*** To Celebrate Potomac Chesapeake's 50th Conference Anniversary, we're highlighting some of our current members. Each week until the conference at The Homestead in Spring 2015, a new member will be posted. Interested in participating? Email Aundra Weissert at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.***