Shereem Herndon-Brown
Chief Education Officer
Strategic Admissions Advice (MD)

What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
If I think back to even middle school, I have always been curious about types of colleges. It started with loving college basketball in the 1980s and 1990s, and gradually became an interest in academic specialties. When I graduated college and worked at two independent schools, I had great mentors who encouraged me to do college counseling. I loved the interaction with the students, I actually liked writing letters of recommendation and I learned so much by visiting schools and researching them.

What is your favorite part of the job?
Now, I like building lists and brainstorming essays for students. Understanding that they’re at a pivotal point in their lives and want to make the “right” decision, I like listening to them and their parents’ questions and concerns and providing suggestions, strategies, and solutions.

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
I went to my first NACAC conference in Indianapolis in 1998. I even went to the pre-conference session Tools of the Trade. So much information was shared, so much advice and energy were offered about how I could be an effective college counselor that I was in awe. NACAC as an organization, and all of its participants, have always been super supportive. Even as a I transitioned from school counseling to independent counseling, I have always leaned on NACAC as a primary resource to do my job most effectively.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today? 
Transparency. I know colleges are inundated with applications and, in many ways, are in the profession of “sales and marketing” but once upon a time, I built relationships with people and schools that saw me as a peer, not as a customer or a leech. Colleges need us counselors just as we need them, and I want us all to be clear and direct with each other about application requirements and protocols. As adults, we should trust each other more and work in the best interests of the students.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I watch sports like it’s a religion. I need to be more active as an adult athlete more than a young adult athlete watcher! I read a fair amount and devote a lot of my time to journaling.

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
Way before Marvel was a household name, I was an avid comic book reader. I love the idea of being a mutant, like the X-Men, and my two favorites are Sunspot (who draws his strength from sunlight) and Colossus (who is massive, super strong and invulnerable). Sunspot can be a hothead and very moody and Colossus, despite his strength, is super sensitive. Both are just like me!