Wednesday, January 14, 2015

50 for 50: Kim Ball

Kim Ball 
Associate Director of College Counseling
Collegiate School (VA)

How long have you been in your current position at Collegiate School? How long have you been in admissions/college counseling?

I have worked at Collegiate for 8 years, and have worked in admission and college counseling for over 15 years.

How did you get started in college counseling/admissions?

Quite by accident, as is the case for many.  At the completion of my Master's program in Higher Education Administration, I focused my job search on student life positions, but I ended up accepting an admission counselor position at Johns Hopkins University, having never really worked in college admission.  I loved the varied nature of the job and the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people.  After 6 years on the college side, I decided I wanted greater interaction with the students over time, and so pursued college counseling positions.  I also have had the great fortune of working with tremendous mentors at Johns Hopkins, Indian Springs School (AL), and now, Collegiate, all of whom have encouraged me to pursue my passions.

What's your favorite admissions/counseling memory?

Admissions lends itself to funny stories / war stories, particularly amidst travel seasons - probably too many to detail here.  I do love reminiscing about those with former colleagues.  I don't know that I have a favorite memory, but I love my job because I am able to be part of students' lives and watch them grow and overcome challenges.  Whether a former student in my first college counseling group that has herself become an educator at a Kipp School in NYC, or a former student whose mother passed away a day before he received news of his acceptance to his dream college, or a student who thought she would never be able to afford college and realizes that her dream will in fact come true, these stories remind me that my job as an educator is fulfilling and that I have an opportunity to help guide young people during a very special time in their lives. 

If not working in admissions/college counseling, what else could you see yourself pursuing? 

For two years, I did try the world of marketing and business, and found that education was a much better fit.  I actually don't ever see myself straying from this field.

What's one thing that most people don't know about you?

I have a fear of roller coasters and most amusement rides; although I will begrudgingly ride them for my children.

What's a current trend or future issue you're passionate about right now? And why?

I am really passionate about college access, and the potential of engaging students in more privileged communities to help other less advantaged students with the college process.  In my mind, it could be mutually beneficial.  A collaboration could help students who do not have exposure to the college process by providing information and guidance.  And, for students who do have this knowledge but perhaps just go through the motions of the college application process, it could provide some real opportunity for reflection and appreciation.

*** 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 to get started.***

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