Meet Allie Kerns

Allie Kerns
College Counselor
Trinity High School (KY)

How did you get your start as a college counselor?  
When I was in college, I worked as a campus tour guide and student assistant to the president. Being in an office every day where I saw the inner workings of a university sparked my interest in working in something related to higher education. After graduation, I worked for my alma mater as an admission counselor for six years. During that time, I obtained my master’s in higher education administration, thinking that I wanted to become a director of recruitment or admission one day. I realized near the end of my master’s program that my passion was actually working directly with postsecondary-bound high school students and that I didn’t want to be in university administration. Fortunately, one of the high schools in my territory - that I had worked very closely with for a few years - was seeking a new college counselor. I interviewed and was offered the position and have had the time of my life working every day with my students. There was definitely a learning curve, but the transition has been incredibly worthwhile.

What is your favorite part of the job?
I love seeing the students and getting to know them. These guys have so many facets of their personalities, and I feel as if I learn something new about them every day. They’re constantly keeping me on my toes, which I appreciate.

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
Both Kentucky ACAC and NACAC have been instrumental in my professional development. KYACAC recognized qualities in me that I had not seen in myself and they gave me a chance to further develop my skills. Not only that, but both organizations have allowed me the opportunity to learn best practices from people across the world. Without the education provided through KYACAC and NACAC, I sincerely doubt I’d be as knowledgeable or have as many unique people to turn to with questions. I am grateful every day for the resources, education, and family that both organizations provide.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today?
Student stress and pressure relating to the college search and application process. I’ve seen more stress from my seniors this year than I have in the past. These students have so many messages coming at them from a plethora of sources that it is difficult to get them to take a deep breath and stay calm. Pressure from peers, parents, high schools, social media, postsecondary institutions, etc., has changed the landscape and the search process for many of my students. We talk a lot about average student-to-counselor ratios, and I think working to make those ratios better will help us be able to lessen student stress and pressure.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I love to stay busy, so I always have additional side jobs on my calendar. I judge gymnastics competitions, coach a dance team of 65 senior boys, and I moonlight as a bartender for concerts and athletic events in the city. Each of these activities is a blast because I get to experience so many different types of people. Outside of these activities, my boyfriend and I are working on renovating our two 100-year-old homes. I enjoy cooking, and I have two super-sweet and fluffy dogs who love to play and go on adventures.

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series. She’s fierce, brilliant, loyal, and brave – all qualities for which I strive.

Describe yourself in five words.
Motivated, organized, introverted extrovert, and evaluating.

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