Meet Julio Mata

Julio MataJulio Mata
Director of College Counseling
Francis Parker School (CA)

What drew you to the world of college counseling?
Honestly, the biggest draw to college counseling for me was the opportunity to build relationships with students and families. After almost 10 years of working on the college side of the admission process, I was eager to invest more time with the students and families that I worked with. Also, after meeting so many great college counselors from around the country, I knew this was a group of people I wanted to belong to as well.

What is your favorite part of the job?
Right now, my favorite part of the job has been celebrating the victories my students have alongside them. Whether it is submitting their first college application, receiving a scholarship, or putting the finishing touches on a college essay they have worked on for weeks or months, these moments are unique to counseling, and things I never got to experience on the college side. These student victories always bring a smile to my face.

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
NACAC has been instrumental in helping me connect with others who believe in the crucial role that higher education plays in society and want to do their part to create an equitable path for students to access it. Whether it was meeting like-minded college reps at college fairs, learning from experienced professionals at conference sessions, or being given a platform to present on topics I care about deeply, NACAC has allowed me to connect with so many people that motivate me to keep advocating for causes I believe in.

You’re a longtime member of NACAC’s Latino/Hispanic SIG. Why is the SIG important to you?
I attended my first SIG meeting at NACAC’s 2015 National Conference in San Diego. The SIG is important to me because it has become a great way to connect with other Latinx admission and college counseling professionals across the country. As a group that represents the fastest growing population of college students in the country, it is extremely important for us to have this space to come together, discuss the issues that affect this community, and support those who are doing good work for Latino/Hispanic students across the country. And from a professional perspective, joining a SIG can help scale down NACAC. Groups like the Latino/Hispanic SIG provide an avenue to get more involved and build up your personal network of colleagues.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today?
I think the biggest challenge we’re facing is the rapidly rising costs of postsecondary education. Long-term inaction on this topic has made it so going to college means going into significant debt for many low- and middle-income families. The short-term solutions attempted through financial aid and scholarship policies at colleges and universities are simply not doing enough to address the systemic issues at play.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
When I’m not working, you are likely going to find me traveling to a corner of the world unfamiliar to me, attending a concert at any of my favorite venues in San Diego, or enjoying a cup of coffee and a book somewhere.

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
If I could be any fictional character, it would have to be Scrooge McDuck because I’ve always wondered how he managed to dive into his money vault without seriously injuring himself.

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