Laurie Kiguchi
Independent Educational Consultant
LK Educational Consulting (CA)

What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
Like many IECs, I had another life before college admission counseling — in my case, a career as a biologist working with marine and terrestrial plants and ecosystems. This involved working with university researchers, environmental educators, college undergrads, and high school students. On many occasions I provided guidance to students on their interests in science, drawing on my interest in counseling (psychology was my double major as an undergrad).

Eventually I shifted my biology focus to fun endeavors rather than work. Around the same time, I learned about the field of independent college admission counseling from an old friend who had just become an IEC. This aligned with my interest in helping students as well as my front row seat to university administration via my husband’s career.

I completed the UC Berkeley Graduate Certificate in College Admissions and Career Planning; earned an Educational Counseling specializing in College and University Counseling; joined WACAC, NACAC, HECA, and other college student support organizations; founded the Monterey Bay College Counseling Consortium (a group of school-based and independent counselors in the Santa Cruz/Monterey area); and became active in WACAC and HECA professional development. I am motivated to help students understand themselves and their many opportunities; reduce stress and misconceptions about college; and learn as much as I can about all aspects of the world.

What is your favorite part of the job?
I love helping students to gain confidence in themselves — to understand their interests and strengths, learn to believe in their abilities, and build optimism about their future. I really enjoy getting to know them, earning their trust, and sharing laughs.

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
NACAC has been invaluable in understanding the context of college admissions and the many facets of higher education. While I am always curious to learn about majors, programs, research institutes, and campus activities, I also value learning about the factors driving higher education goals, priorities, institutional missions, pedagogy, student development, and learning. It’s fascinating to see how these factors play out within the broader social context and how they in turn influence how we advise students.

The key to developing this understanding is learning from people. I appreciate the opportunities NACAC provides to make connections — with college admissions directors and staffs, academics and researchers, college counselors of all types, and industry representatives. I am especially grateful to two exceptional mentors — Katy Murphy and Peggy Hock. I was fortunate to connect with Katy and Peggy early on and will always be grateful to them as role models and for their dedication and commitment to preparing knowledgeable, ethical, and professional counselors.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today? 
I believe respect for education, respect for others, honoring ideas and viewpoints, and providing access to higher education form the foundation for our profession and yet are severely threatened in our current social and political climate.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
So many things! I like to spend time with family and friends, be active outdoors — swimming, hiking, mountain biking, sailing, botanizing — and make the world a better place in whatever small ways I can.

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
Elizabeth Zott from Lessons in Chemistry, because I admire her scientific mind, dedication to her research pursuits, and courage to fight for gender equality. She is completely unafraid to stand up for what she believes is just.


Published March 11, 2024