Ryan Stanley
Associate Director of Admission for Access & Inclusion
Babson College (MA)

What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
I started my professional career as a television news reporter and would never have thought I’d end up in college admission. I quickly realized that I didn’t have the vocation for journalism that I’d thought I had back in the day. Kudos to any folks out there slumming it as a small market local TV reporter—I don’t know how you do it. Stay strong. I had been a tour guide in my undergraduate years and oversaw a 125-person ambassador program at the time so knew that this is something I would enjoy and be good at. As a first-generation college student myself, I turned to this work to contribute to making this system more equitable and accessible.

What is your favorite part of the job? 
I used to absolutely love recruitment travel season. As the years go on, though, the novelty of that has faded—although there is still nothing better than meeting students where they’re at, teaching them about an amazing opportunity, and watching them grow excited. The human connection innate to this process will always be something special. Nowadays, my favorite part of the cycle is yield season. Welcoming students and families to campus and helping them navigate their big decision will always be amazing. As I’ve taken on a leadership role in our admission office, I’ve grown to love the challenge of our work. Schools like mine have made tremendous strides, but it is still very frustrating at times. Being in community with NACAC members, school counselors, CBOs, and our campus partners in order to work toward a better tomorrow is what keeps me going.

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
NACAC has been a guiding light for me as it relates to professional development. Even if I can’t be at every conference or every formal event, I can dive into the reports, policy briefs, and other resources. I also realize how important the NACAC guidance and professional development is for colleges and universities that may not have the well-developed enrollment management offices and practices that many of us are privileged with.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today? 
I worry most about two things: the pending U.S. Supreme Court cases challenging race-conscious admission and the unsustainable financial model many higher education institutions rely on. The Supreme Court appears poised to deliver a decision that will greatly alter the important work that we do, particularly those of us in selective college admission. On the financial front, the cost of providing an education to students coupled with constant sticker price increases and continually rising discount rates—at some point doesn’t add up. I worry about the fate of colleges that serve the large portion of students that schools like mine don’t reach.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
When not working, I love to spend time with loved ones and my dog (who also does happen to be a loved one). We’ve recently moved from downtown Washington, D.C. back to a suburb of Boston—so the dog is enjoying the grass and more natural walks. This happens to be closer to my family on Cape Cod, so I have been enjoying seeing them more often and being closer to the beach!

What five words would you use to describe yourself?
Reliable, curious, observant, rule-follower, and news-and-elections-obsessed.


Published Nov. 21, 2023