Amanda Levin
Assistant Head Teacher, University & Careers Counselor
Modern English School Cairo, Egypt

What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
As a teacher of seniors, I have always been sort of adjacent to this work and I began to see how supporting students through this process was a combination of some of my favorite aspects of teaching and coaching. In this role I am able to advocate for students and families, share information, and empower our next generations of college students. Working in diverse school communities at home and abroad I have also seen the impact that the dynamic nature of college admissions is having on students and families. In my role I can take away some of the mystery while at the same time reminding my stakeholders that we are all in this — experiencing and learning — together.

What is your favorite part of the job?
The best part of this work is the opportunity to guide, inspire, and positively impact the lives of students. You get to help them discover their passions, strengths, and goals, and assist them in making informed decisions about their future. As I build relationships with my students, I am able to support them by fostering personal growth and self-confidence, and I get to be a part of the joy and success of my students as they embark on their chosen paths. At schools like MES Cairo where I am now, the student population is such that I have a chance to contribute to shaping the future of a nation in massive flux by encouraging individuals to pursue fulfilling careers and higher education at home and abroad.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today?
The rapidly shifting landscape of higher education offers a lot of challenges in this work. I think some of the most significant challenges are the huge increase in application numbers that puts so much pressure on students to stand out that they sometimes forget how amazing they truly are, and the rising cost of education that is making higher education nearly impossible for a lot of students. This will have lasting detrimental effects as it continues, but it is absolutely heartbreaking to work with students whose barrier to higher ed is purely financial. Putting these two things together, the cost and the competitiveness (especially for selective schools that seem more important than ever with students and families feeling like if they are going to go into debt for years they would rather it be for a degree from a school everyone will recognize) also reminds me of the intense pressure on students to succeed and the toll this can take on their mental health and well-being.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
As cliché as it is, I love to travel — and these days I often travel for work, which has been super rewarding as well. I have a pretty regular yoga practice and that is something I always return to when things feel out of balance. And as I am overseas at the moment, I enjoy taking time to catch up with friends from home and around the world when the time zones allow for it.

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
The Cheshire Cat. Honestly, he just seems like he has it all figured out and is the most content dude ever. Plus, the whole disappear and reappear (but always leave them a smile) is kind of awesome.


Published Aug. 5, 2024