Meet Carl Tippen

Headshot of Carl TippenCarl Tippen
College Counselor
Westlake Academy Charter School (TX)

What drew you to the world of college counseling?
Initially, my desire was to be a dean or director of admission at a selective school. I had worked in the admission office at the University of Texas at Austin as a student and professionally and then moved to work in admission at the University of Texas at Arlington. One day, I got a phone call from the director of college counseling at a selective private boys’ school in Dallas, TX. He asked me if I would be interested in coming over to college counseling. I was not truly considering it because it was not the path that I had designed. Well, he convinced me to try it and I took the leap. I enjoyed my time there; however, I had a desire to move outside of education and I did that for almost 10 years. After being laid off, I truly did some soul searching. My wife and I started discussing my next role and she told me that I seemed most happy when I was college counseling. Once I truly reflected on that conversation, I realized that she was right. I found my purpose and I am living it and loving it. Others saw it before I did, the greatest feeling is that when you find your purpose, everything else falls into place.

What is your favorite part of the job?
Educating and coaching families about the process and through the process. Watching students realize their dreams. I love putting students in position to be successful. I get pleasure out of helping families through this process.  

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
Through education and training. The most important part for me has been connecting with people from all over the world through NACAC. I truly enjoy going to the annual conference to learn what is happening, as well as connecting with new individuals and reconnecting with former colleagues. I am challenged every day and I am learning more each and every day. The various NACAC listservs, Facebook groups, etc. have shaped me and are continuously making me question myself, not in a bad way. NACAC is pushing me to become a better professional and person.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today?
Access and equity. I think there are so many variations of what this means and who could/should benefit. I think we have started down a path of making significant strides in providing access to postsecondary education for many students and families that never thought it was possible, but there is so much more work to do.

Equity is so much harder. There are so many variables that come with the process of equity or being fair. As an African American male, life has never been fair for me, so I have worked really hard to play within the system to change it/make it better for those behind me. My goal has always been to change the narrative because I have been given a gift to be able to help change what people see of me and others like me.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I am a huge sports fan, so I enjoy spending time watching games, going to games, and just being a part of the pomp and circumstance of it all. Also, I am very active with my church, especially with the higher education ministry, in which I have been a chaperone on several occasions for our annual college tour, and our scholarship ministry, in which I will be chairing this year.

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
Black Vulcan – an African American superhero who is part of Super Friends. I love that fact that he can travel at super human speed, control electricity, generate lightning bolts as a forcefield, and can travel back in time.

Describe yourself in five words.
Loyal, friendly, supportive, competitive, and encouraging.

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