Matt McGann
Dean of Admission & Financial Aid
Amherst College (MA)

What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
As a first-generation college student, going away for college changed my life. I’ve been trying to pay it forward ever since. In college, I advocated for students as president of the student government and through service on policy committees. As a young admission officer, I was thrilled to visit schools and meet students who were ready for an opportunity. And today, I hope to make college enrollment more equitable for all students.

What is your favorite part of the job?
I love finding ways, big or small, to push our work toward greater equity. Policy changes like Amherst’s move away from legacy preferences have gotten a lot of news coverage, but I am at least as proud of the enhancements we have made in financial aid and in student support.

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
NACAC has helped me to feel a connection to the greater profession and our shared work to benefit students. I love my NACAC colleagues!

The conferences hosted by NACAC and its affiliate organizations have been a big part of this.¬†My first professional presentations came back in 2005, at the NEACAC conference in Boston and the NACAC conference in Tampa.¬†Since then, I’ve made it a point to attend as often as possible for the learning, the colleagues, and the¬†camaraderie.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today?
Today, I am worried about all the ways that students‚ÄĒespecially students of color‚ÄĒget messages that they are not welcome on our campuses. Students deserve the opportunities they have earned, and it is up to us as professionals to ensure equity in college enrollment and success.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I enjoy puzzles¬†(e.g., The New York Times daily crossword),¬†games (e.g., Wingspan), trivia (e.g., LearnedLeague), and the¬†like. I also enjoy spending time with my family‚ÄĒplaying games together, cooking and eating, and going to my¬†boys’ concerts and soccer games.

What five words would you use to describe yourself?
Optimistic. Committed. Analytical. Pragmatic. Heart.

 

Published Aug. 21, 2023