David Le
Assistant Director of Admissions
American University (DC)

What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
I came to the profession relatively late and started my first job in college admission during my doctoral studies. As a first-generation college student, I admired my teachers deeply and dreamed of becoming an educator. As a professional flutist and college professor, I helped my students create college lists, prepare for auditions, and wrote many recommendation letters. Throughout the process, I realized how lucky I was to have teachers that helped me forge a path to higher education and became motivated to do the same. I enjoy mentoring and advocating for young people, so the shift to college admission counseling has been a very natural addition to my life!

What is your favorite part of the job? 
Getting to know students is the best part of my job! Applying to college is a pivotal time for many young people, requiring a great deal of self-evaluation, resilience, and risk-taking. It is incredibly rewarding to provide students with the tools to make informed decisions as part of a process that celebrates and acknowledges their remarkable contributions to our world.

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
NACAC and SACAC have introduced me to a network of supportive colleagues who share the same passion for student advocacy. I recently attended my first NACAC annual conference in Baltimore. After a challenging summer for our profession, I was inspired by the breadth of work everyone is doing. I was so humbled when Auna Hearne invited me to join as a presenter on the session “Beyoncés, Billy Porters, or Business Majors in the Marching Band: Advising College Bound Creatives.” Working with new colleagues and the enthusiasm of our audience reaffirmed my belief in the inclusiveness of the organization — NACAC values our individual strengths. Every member can contribute something!

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today? 
I believe that the growing public mistrust in higher education is our greatest challenge today. While there are multiple compounding factors for this, I am confident in our profession’s commitment to asserting the benefits that a college education can contribute to life and society.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
The flute and classical music continue to play a large role in my life. I still teach privately, perform recitals, and give masterclasses at universities throughout the United States. I’m also a huge foodie, so any new restaurants or recipes I try are featured on my Instagram stories. To counteract that, I spend a lot of time exercising! I’m lucky to live in the nation’s capital, which is rich in diversity, arts, and culture, so I enjoy a great balance of all my passions.

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
This changes often, but I’m currently binging all seven seasons of The Golden Girls while out on the recruitment trail…so my answer would be Sophia Petrillo! Her wisecracks are genius, but I admire the wisdom, love, and generosity she has for the other characters of the show.


Published Nov. 20, 2023