Chris Rodriguez
Associate Director of College Counseling
The Lovett School (GA)

What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
The need to pay my rent! I had the (mis)fortune of finishing graduate school at the University of Georgia in the fall of 2009, which coincided with the recession and a bleak job market, especially for the nonprofit positions for which I’d been training. I began casting a wider net and fortunately was invited to interview for an admissions counselor position at Mercer University (GA). They believed, for some reason, that this quirky introvert would be ideally suited to talking to people for a living, and here I am still in the field 15-plus years later.

What is your favorite part of the job?
Despite the cloud of bleakness hanging over our profession — one that seems to grow darker and more threatening every year — the one constant that keeps me returning to the office every morning is the opportunity to help students. No matter their background, every student has a story and the potential to grow in unexpected and magical ways during the college process. When students trust me to be this person, I treasure being their guide and teacher on this fraught path. There is nothing better than seeing students transform along the way into confident, independent young adults ready to take on the world.

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
In the giant spiderweb that is the admissions multiverse, NACAC is the nexus point for everyone. On both the admissions and high school sides of the desk, NACAC has connected me with mentors, colleagues, and friends. Whether attending in-person conferences, watching educational webinars, or serving on ad hoc committees, I’m constantly learning and growing both personally and professionally within the organization.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today?
Whenever we as an industry make tangible progress toward achieving true equity — relaxed testing policies, improved financial aid access, expansion of recruitment efforts into new territories and groups — the hydra of privilege reveals a new head with which to defend itself. Until everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, LGBTQ+ identity, gender identity, and every other aspect of background and core selfhood, can equally access and benefit from higher education, we will have hard work to do.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I wear many masks, sometimes quite literally — I cosplay as 20-plus different characters at conventions, volunteer events, and on Instagram (@shortdudecosplay), most frequently as Captain America, Indiana Jones, and Daredevil. I also try to see as many movies in the theater as I can (around 50 a year) and am never without several stray books tucked into random pockets and bags.

What five words would you use to describe yourself?
Goofy. Cinephile. Pragmatic. Metronomic. Skeptic.


Published July 15, 2024