Jeremy D. Cortez
Executive Director of College Success
Young Women’s Preparatory Network (TX)

What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
Growing up as a Hispanic first-generation student from a single-parent family with an incarcerated father, I faced significant challenges in the college admissions process. This experience drew me to college admissions counseling for three main reasons:

  • I want to help other students overcome the same challenges I faced. I know firsthand how difficult it can be to navigate the college admissions process, especially for students from marginalized backgrounds. I want to use my knowledge and experience to help other students achieve their college dreams.
  • I want to give back to the community. I understand the importance of education and its power to transform lives. I want to use my skills as a college admissions counselor to help Hispanic and first-generation students access and succeed in higher education.
  • I want to make a difference in the lives of young people. I believe that every student deserves the opportunity to achieve their full potential. I want to use my position as a college admissions counselor to help students develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in college and beyond.

What is your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of the job is building relationships with my students and families. I start working with students in sixth grade and witness their transformation from eager middle schoolers to accepted college students, matriculants, and graduates. Our organization’s to-and-through program allows us to maintain these relationships throughout the student’s college journey. While data may lead to many accolades, the graduation invitations, photos, and texts I receive from grateful students and parents make this job truly rewarding.

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
Ten years ago, in 2013, I attended my first NACAC conference as the college success advisor at Talkington School for Young Women Leaders in Lubbock, TX. Working in a rural West Texas school made it difficult for colleges to visit our campus, but NACAC gave me access to college resources and helped me rethink how I could best serve my students. Attending NACAC conferences annually has given me the confidence to present at local, state, and national conferences. As I have grown in this profession, NACAC has also helped me network with colleges, post job opportunities, and grow as an individual.

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

  • The increasing cost of college. College costs have risen faster than inflation for decades, making it difficult for many families to afford a college education. This is putting pressure on colleges to admit more students who can afford to pay full tuition, which can decrease diversity.
  • The increasing complexity of the college admissions process. The college admissions process has become increasingly complex, with many colleges requiring students to submit various application materials, including essays, extracurricular activity lists, letters of recommendation, and supplemental questions. This can be a daunting task for students and their families.
  • The need to assess students holistically. Colleges are increasingly moving away from focusing on standardized test scores and GPAs and toward a more holistic approach to admissions. This means colleges look at various factors, including students’ academic achievements, extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation. This can be a challenge for colleges, as it requires them to understand each applicant and the school they are located in.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?

  • College Football Season! Wreck’Em Tech!
  • Orange Theory Fitness – Have to stay healthy.
  • Reality TV Junkie – VPR fans DM me!!!
  • Traveling with friends and family

What five words would you use to describe yourself?

  • Strategic
  • Organized
  • Initiative
  • Relater
  • Passionate

Published October 9, 2023