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Meet Hege Ferguson

Hege Ferguson
Florida State University

How did you become the director of admissions at Florida State University?
My story is a little unusual in that I came to Florida State University as an international student from Norway some 27 years ago and never left!  I first started working in the office of admissions as a student employee. Once I earned my bachelor’s degree, I was hired to oversee the processing of international applications. Later I was promoted to an admissions officer and received several other promotions throughout the years before finally taking on the role as the director of admissions in July 2015.  Never in a million years would I have imagined that I would be serving as the director of admissions at a major research university in the US. My original plan was to earn my bachelor’s degree in international affairs and return home to Norway to join the foreign service, but I am very glad for the direction my life took. It has been a wonderful journey.

What is your favorite part of the job? 
I don’t know that I have one favorite – there are so many things that I enjoy in this position.  I feel fortunate to be able to connect with new students and their family members every year and to be a part of their journey in the search for a best fit college. Every student has a story to share and it is a great privilege to get to know these students. I also very much enjoy working with my friends across the desk.  The support from the guidance counselor community is so important in this job, and I feel fortunate to be able to count a number of guidance counselors as my friends.  I also greatly enjoy working with the office staff and assisting them in their professional and personal growth.  This is a fast-paced and, at times, grueling job, but I am fortunate to be working in an office where we have lots of creative and innovative people that always strive to do better. They inspire me every day to do my best.

How does NACAC play a role in your career? 
SACAC and NACAC have always played a big role in my career by providing a framework for professionalism and allowing me to get to know and learn from others in similar roles. The resources made available by NACAC are invaluable to the professionals on both sides of the desk and add legitimacy to the profession.

Do you have any advice for professionals who are new to the field? 
Get involved and ask questions.  It is so easy to feel intimidated and overwhelmed when you first start in this field, but you will find that people are very friendly and want to help you.      

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing counselors today? 
The number of students assigned to a guidance counselor is a huge challenge, particularly in the public schools.  I would also like to see more support for professional development for guidance counselors, including being able to attend a NACAC conference. 

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do? 
Spending time with my husband and two kids is very important to me.  We love to travel and experience new places together. I am also a ferocious reader and love to snuggle up in a big chair with a great book, a cup of tea, and some chocolates.

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why? 
Growing up in Norway, I was introduced to the literary works of Astrid Lindgren at an early age. I love all her books, but Pippi Longstocking was one of my favorite characters growing up. While Pippi was always a little different from other children her age, I admired her for being so resilient, kind, and funny.  Reading about Pippi’s adventures always put a smile on my face.

What five words best describe you? 
Loyal, determined, kind, strong, and independent.

Is there anything else you would like to add? 
Treat everyone you meet with kindness and respect -- you never know when you will meet them again.

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