Independent Educational Consultant
The Comprehensive College Check (TX)
What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
I attended Austin College (TX) because an admission counselor believed in me. I didn’t have a lot of guidance at my public high school, and it was something I felt I needed to do for others. In addition, I had mentors who helped shed light on my skills and ability to aid others in this process. So from my first post as a university admission counselor to my work at an educational non-profit and as director of a CBO, teacher, director of high school college counseling, and now as an IEC, my three-decade journey through education has focused on creating access for students and families.
What is your favorite part of the job?
I recall being in an evening study hall with one of my senior classes. As I was working on an essay, another senior screamed across the library, “I got in! Mr. Miller, I got into Regis University!” I still get invitations to college graduations, requests for recommendations, and get stopped in local businesses by former students and parents, telling me about their pathway and where it’s taken them. You can’t ask for more reward than that.
How has NACAC played a role in your career?
I joined NACAC in 2003 to build upon the knowledge, networking, and camaraderie I found in TACAC. I knew it was the right move. I found an environment where I can learn, an association of thinkers with similar values toward educational opportunities, and programs and conferences to tie mentorship with fellowship. I have always enjoyed the sessions and feel fortunate to have taken advantage of the leadership opportunities to represent my regional ACAC.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today?
Too much is asked of the people with the fewest resources. Each year, public secondary college counselors are assigned larger counseling caseloads, deal with smaller budgets, and are tasked with “other duties as assigned,” which rob valuable time from students seeking guidance. In addition, we also see changes across the admission landscape. Unfortunately, staying in touch with “the new” is difficult enough among your local institutions, let alone the thousands of colleges across the US and internationally.
When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
Time with my wife and daughters is necessary. Viewing the world from their point of view is enlightening and fun. In addition, I love to tinker in the workshop, fixing, crafting, and building functional items for our home.
If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
When I was younger, I did typical boy things with my cousins, and we always read comic books. We always wondered why no comic book heroes looked like us until we found Hector Ayala-El Tigre Blanco. He was the first Marvel Latinx superhero, and even at that age, I felt seen. I am not saying I am a superhero, though you have not seen El Tigre Blanco and me simultaneously.