Cory Bailey
Senior Admissions Coordinator
Mississippi State University: College of Forest Resources and College of Agriculture & Life Sciences

What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
College admission counseling definitely found me. While approaching graduation with my master’s degree in counselor education with a concentration in student affairs, I was eagerly applying all over the place and to various types of jobs within higher education. Ultimately, my first professional job was in the undergraduate admissions office at The University of Georgia and the rest is history. Within two to three months, I knew something was missing: the transformative student interaction. So, within the next year, I transitioned back to my alma mater at Mississippi State University where I currently serve on the academic college side. I can now help recruit students and get to know some of them a little better when they choose to participate in the ambassador program I oversee.

What is your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part is building the relationships with students and parents while recruiting, then being able to maintain that relationship over four years until graduation. On more than one occasion within that four years, I’ve had parents come to visit their son or daughter and contact me to go have lunch or dinner while they are in town. We celebrate the highs of earning different scholarships, on-campus jobs, or internships and even get through the lows together such as car accidents  or even deaths in the family. By the time graduation hits, we’ve all been in this college journey together and it’s truly a full-circle moment for me which can be sad but very rewarding at the same time.

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
NACAC and my regional affiliate, SACAC, serve as my compass. Both organizations help me recharge in just the right moments. Additionally, the work, goals, mission, etc., are always student-focused. I am better because of the resources, webinars, and other professional development tools that are regularly provided—it all builds the confidence and skills I need to adequately serve my students.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today?

I don’t know if it is “the” biggest challenge, but I think burnout is a top five challenge facing our profession today. Prior to COVID-19, caseloads were already at an all-time high. Then, the pandemic started and all of a sudden, the virtual operating world took over and really hasn’t backed down. Now, we have our face-to-face responsibilities as well as virtual meetings. Aside from the day-to-day workload, our students are also still dealing with everything from the trauma from a global pandemic to the ever-changing college admission standards to an unsettling political climate. With the endless to-do list and everything going on around us, it is easier to dismiss our own personal mental health and well-being and focus on helping everyone else than it is to take some personal time and resist burnout. This is where I’m very thankful for NACAC and SACAC because the relationships I’ve built along the way remind me of my “why” and help me learn new strategies for taking some me time.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I’m currently working on a dissertation so free time outside of work is honestly very rare; however, while Starkville, Mississippi (aka StarkVegas), is not a true metropolitan like Las Vegas, I still enjoy experiencing new restaurants and dishes around town with friends. Attending MSU athletic events is always at the top of my list. Then on occasion, I love to take weekend trips.

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
If I could be any fictional character, I think I’d have to go with Elijah Mikaelson from The Originals. He is very unpredictable but I also see him as very misunderstood. His past circumstances are reflected in his mean behavior, but beneath the surface, he’s really a kind, selfless, and empathetic friend who is loyal to a fault. His loyalty and care toward relationships is exactly how I see myself, whether it be with friendships, family relationships, or even mentorships.


Published April 17, 2023