Jami Silver
Director of College Counseling
Kingswood Oxford School (CT)

What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
I was a tour guide and senior interviewer as a student at Oberlin College (Go Yo!). When I graduated, I thought I wanted to be a teacher, but quickly realized I loved the one-on-one experiences with students and the opportunity to see young people in a holistic light. I want to say that I intentionally went to college admission counseling, but, honestly, I was in between teaching and figuring out what was my path, and Connecticut College offered me an interview. I knew the very first day of my job there that this was the field I was meant to be in, and I have never looked back.

What is your favorite part of the job?
The students, hands down. I love the first meetings with students, learning about their hopes and dreams, what they love to do, what matters most to them. The opportunity to work with young people at a transformative time in their lives is what keeps me going. I love seeing the college process as an experience that empowers them to make choices that are right for them and a step into adulthood.

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
I went to my first NACAC conference after I had switched from college admissions to college counseling in 2011, and the experience of being surrounded by thousands of my closest friends was rejuvenating. The network and connections I have made since my first year in the profession have been instrumental in my personal and professional growth. I love that I can call people across the country and around the world, my friends and colleagues, and they can understand the challenges facing students today. Honestly, NACAC has been a wonderful organization to be a part of and has led me to deep friendships across the profession.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today?
Unfortunately, I feel as though it is hard to pick one. But if I have to, I think about the mental health of the individuals within our profession — the professionals, students, the parents and families, etc. We are all struggling to find balance, understand what matters both in this process and for each of us, often losing sight of the humanity of individuals. I worry about the students who stress themselves out by doing too much; the children who allow their parents to do it for them; the families who lose sight of the fact that their children are the prize, not the college name; and the professionals who often carry it all on their shoulders.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I love to read; walk my dog, Yuki; sing karaoke with my husband; and cheer for my sons in all that they do. My husband just started his own business as a home improvement contractor, and that has honestly taken up most of my “free” time these days (I love being an entrepreneur!). Most of all, though, I love being around people. I love spending quality time with them.

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
Probably Hermione Granger — I love her intelligence, strength, and her ability to be herself. While not a fictional character, I wish I could have met Ruth Bader Ginsberg. RBG is definitely someone I admire.

 

Published March 4, 2024