Co-Director, College Counseling
Severn School (Severna Park, MD)
How long have you been in your current position at Severn School? How long have you been in admissions/college counseling?
This school year is my third year at Severn School. Prior to joining Severn, I served as an admissions officer for a total of six years at the University of Mary Washington (VA) and Regis College (MA).
How did you get started in college counseling/admissions?
After completing my MFA in Creative Writing at Emerson College (Yes, that degree does come in handy when writing letters of recommendation. I’m kidding, of course!), I was determined to teach writing at a college. One of my grad school professors reminded me about the volunteer work I’d done for Emerson during new student orientation. He mentioned admissions as a path to “getting my foot in the door” at a school and then trying to teach after establishing myself for a year or two. Little did I know that working with students closely as a counselor would become a passion that rivals teaching.
What's your favorite admissions/counseling memory?
There are so many of them to choose from! The memories that stick out the most all have one thing in common: first generation students. As an admissions officer and as a counselor, there are few feelings better than helping students (and their families) realize that a college education can change their life and it is within their reach.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue membership in PCACAC and/or NACAC?
Take full advantage of these supportive, knowledgeable, and fun groups! I reach out to my fellow PCACAC members with questions frequently and they are quick to share valuable insights that help me to best serve students. NACAC offers a tremendous body of resources that have furthered my growth in the counseling profession on both sides of the desk.
If not working in admissions/college counseling, what else could you see yourself pursuing?
Teaching poetry workshops to children, teenagers, and senior citizens. I am able to pursue this at Severn where I teach our creative writing class. There’s a great deal of crossover between teaching writing and counseling students! Listening skills and reacting to emotion are important in both fields.
What's one thing that most people don't know about you?
My childhood dream was to go to law school and eventually work in government or become a judge, but after college I turned down a scholarship to law school and took a year to figure out the next move in my career path. That was scary; I’m still in awe of the support and guidance my parents gave me during that period in my life.
What's a current trend or future issue you're passionate about right now? And why?
Concussions and their impact on the teenage brain. I suffered through a few of them when I was a child and now I see some of my students struggling to deal with the lasting effects of concussions. New research on the subject is changing how we treat students and help them to return to learning. I’m very curious to see how admissions officers and college counselors work together to support students suffering from concussions, especially when these injuries occur at inopportune times during the college application cycle.
*** 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 email@example.com to get started.***