Dean Jacoby
Director of College Guidance
Albuquerque Academy (NM)

What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
The real answer: I was lost as college graduation drew near. I didn’t know what career to pursue. The dean of faculty was a mentor. When I asked her for advice on working in higher education when I held no interest in earning a Ph.D. she said, “Admissions or development.” Encouraging students to access college seemed like more fun than asking for money.

The inspiring answer: I was born into a comfortable middle-class family because my grandparents were able to access higher education and change the trajectory of their family circumstances. My father worked in financial aid for a decade, my mother was a trustee at three schools—a middle school, a high school, and a college—and my brother is a college professor. Education is the family business.

What is your favorite part of the job?
Listening to young adults contemplate the purpose of their lives and helping them encounter opportunity is a gift and honor. Every person has a quality to value and my job is to hold space for and recognize it in each student.

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
I attended my first NACAC conference in 1995. The people I respect most in this profession have all been a part of NACAC. Connecting with and learning from them has been central to my growth as a professional.

As a founding member and past director of one of the affinity groups (Native Indigenous Peoples SIG), I must also give voice to the power of getting involved and connecting with colleagues and experts who want to have positive impact.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today?
Besides cost, I worry most about the unnecessary barriers confronting students in the college application process.

It feels like every college has a different process, requirements, timeline, and different deadlines for merit scholarships, special programs, and financial aid.

We need to centralize and simplify the application process in order to allow students to access college and appropriately match.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I coach soccer, watch YouTube videos about tiny homes (someday!), and travel to Mexico for my side hustle, Sunora Bacanora.

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
James Many Horses from Sherman Alexie’s short story, The Approximate Size of My Favorite Tumor, because he confronts life and death with courage, humor, and admirable self-awareness.


Published Jan. 29, 2024