Rebecca ChabrowHeadshot of Rebecca Chabrow
Director of College Counseling & Academic Advising

Kohelet Yeshiva High School (PA)

What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
In college, I shadowed my former high school teacher, Dave Frick, who had since gotten his master’s degree in counseling and become a school counselor. I remember sitting in a meeting with a student who wanted to go to college, but her father wanted her to join the military. Dave suggested that she look at SUNY Maritime College because it combined a traditional college experience with military preparation, but did not have a mandatory service requirement after graduation. Seeing him find a school that specifically fit her circumstance inspired me to want to do the same for other students.

What is your favorite part of the job? 
I love when a student ends up attending (and loving) a college that I initially suggested based on my getting to know them. Since I have worked at schools with small caseloads, I use my M.A. in counseling background to get to know them better by taking two to three hours to interview each student. After these meetings, I am able to suggest schools they should consider that might not have been on their radar. My students have called me the “Queen of Spreadsheets” because I have created a massive spreadsheet with just about every data point imaginable and links to various profile pages, virtual tours, and supplemental essay advice for hundreds of schools. This spreadsheet is an expanded version of my College Virtual Tours spreadsheet (no longer updated) that went viral in the college counseling community during COVID, and was recognized by Forbes as one of the 7 Essential College Admissions Resources During Coronavirus 2020. I copy and paste lines from my master spreadsheet into individual spreadsheets for each student, totaling approximately 30 schools. I then encourage them to narrow that down to eight to 10 colleges for their final list.

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
Each time I have attended a conference, I come back with new ideas to improve my college counseling. Each year, I use Ethan Sawyer’s The Essay Guy exercises with my students to help them brainstorm essay topics. The Recs That Change Lives session I attended in Boston literally changed my life when I learned how writing bullet point recommendations can save so much time. Since returning from NACAC in Houston, I have already revamped my school profile to include all of the 14 most important elements outlined in the Rethinking the School Profile: Are We Sharing What Colleges Need? session. I was also inspired to start an Instagram account to better reach students and parents thanks to the Promoting Your School Counseling Program Through Social Media session presented by the counselors at Hightstown High School (NJ).

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today?
Obviously, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is an extremely important issue facing our profession and I applaud organizations such as NACAC, ACCEPT, and FairTest  doing such necessary work to promote different facets of these issues. On a more personal note, I have found that many schools are not very inclusive of the Orthodox Jewish students I work with.

While many of the nation’s most selective colleges have large Jewish populations, few have Orthodox students, who would bring diversity in mindset. This is because most colleges lack resources to support Orthodox Jewish students, such as Orthodox-supervised Kosher dining, Shabbat-friendly dorms, the presence of an Orthodox rabbi, and campus calendars that take Jewish holidays into account when scheduling major events or exams. I’ve also found that even schools that do have these supports do not know how to properly talk to Jewish students when recruiting them to emphasize that they are available. My goal within our professional community is to advocate for a more inclusive environment on college campuses and to educate admission staff on how to communicate effectively with Jewish students.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I’m a big foodie and love trying new cuisines when I travel, enjoying Philadelphia’s culinary scene, and cooking up my own dishes. I especially love when I can entertain and cook for large groups of people and am famous for hosting sushi soirées with all-you-can-eat sushi and an annual Friendsgiving.

I am also a huge Baltimore Ravens fan since I graduated from University of Delaware with Joe Flacco, who took us to the FCS National Championship our senior year. On Sundays in the fall, you can find me with the Philadelphia Ravens Roost #215, cheering on the Ravens with a beautifully diverse and welcoming group of fans with varying ages, races, religions, sexualities, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

What five words would you use to describe yourself?
Personable, understanding, organized, creative, and flexible.


Published Nov. 7, 2022