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Meet Leslie Thatcher

Headshot of Leslie ThatcherLeslie Thatcher
Director of College Success @Perkins
Perkins School for the Blind (MA)

What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
I love working with students, individually and as a group, to explore how their unique personalities and skills fit into our complex world. I began in the field many, many years ago, after getting my teacher credentials, but not feeling inspired by teaching in the classroom. The world and process of postsecondary planning, and the motivation around college admission, helps take students from just doing the work to engaging in exploring their future, whether or not that includes college. I love empowering students (and their families) to think creatively, and impactfully, about how to plan out next steps, especially when it may not necessarily be obvious.

What is your favorite part of the job?
Watching students grow in their sense of themselves and in their confidence.

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
I’ve been involved on and off with NACAC since 1990, when I joined the admission office at Lewis & Clark College (OR); I attended my first national conference (and regional ones) in those first few years. I even had the chance to attend an AMMI (Admission Middle Management Institute) in Pittsburgh. These conferences helped me understand the enormous potential of this field to do good, and how I could make a career in college admission and related services. Regional ACAC conferences have really upped my game in the last five years; I try to get to them whenever I can. To this day, I lean on things I learned in those early conferences, and still remain connected with wonderful colleagues (and former students who are now colleagues!) from those early days.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today
Equity of advising and access, including thoughtful and appropriate planning, to enable access.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do? 
Gardening (flowers, mostly!), walking and hiking, and being on the water in whatever boat I can get in!

What five words would you use to describe yourself?
Passionate. Creative.  Eclectic. Committed. Caring.

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