Kimberly West
Director of National Recruitment
University of Oklahoma

What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
I, like every other young child growing up, gave admissions presentations to my dolls and stuffed animals. Just kidding! I was initially drawn to this profession because of my love for my alma mater. The University of Oklahoma changed my life, and I wanted to show that possibility to other students. As my time in the profession lengthened, I had a greater passion to show the light of higher education to all students.

What is your favorite part of the job?
I don’t think I can narrow it down to just one thing. I love seeing the light in a student’s eyes when they are admitted or when their financial package makes higher education a reality for them. Secondly, I love working with new professionals entering the admission world and helping them develop the skill set needed to reach their professional goals!

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
My first NACAC conference was in Austin in 2007 and I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of people there! Intimidating is the only way to describe it. However, attending the conference made me realize that this was more than just a job on the way to another position. We were changing lives and not just the lives of the students we serve, but we also greatly impacted our colleagues too. I left feeling rejuvenated and turned that feeling into energy to get involved in NACAC and TACAC. My experiences in these organizations strengthened my self-confidence and desire to make an impact wherever possible. My involvement in NACAC and TACAC has also helped me create lasting friendships with colleagues all over the country.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today?
In our country today, the importance of higher education is slipping away quickly. Today, probably more than ever, students can be “successful” without a degree. Overall, fewer people are attending college. It is imperative that we find a way to stay relevant and better communicate the value of higher education. The world of higher ed tends to move a snail’s pace when it comes to change, so it is time to start adjusting now!

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I simply love spending time with my family—both the one I was born into and the one I created with my husband and two young boys (Kaden, 3, and Kyler, 2)! Also, I recently started my own professional development consulting company where I work with teams, groups, and organizations creating a new mindset in their work. Presenting to them and reinvigorating their work brings me such joy!

What five words would you use to describe yourself?
Genuine, funny (my husband would disagree), optimistic, easy-going, and empathetic.


Published Oct. 10, 2023