Independent Educational Consultant and Certified Educational Planner
Exploring College Choices LLC (CA)
What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
My high school counselor, Mr. Morton (“Cal Hi,” Whittier, CA) was my guiding light and mentor on my academic and musical journey. When it came time for college, he visited my immigrant parents and became a bridge to the world of possibilities when they wanted their first-born daughter to remain at home. Eight years later after earning my master’s degree in music performance, he and my parents proudly attended my faculty recital at my hometown college. He made a profound impression on my life.
I came from Japan when I was nearly 8 and one week later I started attending the nearby public school, not speaking a word of English. Because my father was away at work six days a week, I grew up becoming my mother’s interpreter, navigating the world of utility companies and such, way before I was old enough to do so. These experiences gave me insight and empathy with many of the first-generation students that I work with now.
I saw how my mother was disconnected from other parents and did not have the opportunity to be a part of the school community. I saw how passionately my parents wanted the best for me but did not know how to navigate the college admission process, or how to afford it. After my full music career, I wanted to return to helping families, much as Mr. Morton had helped mine.
I am now in my 10th year as an independent educational consultant. Joining WACAC (Western ACAC) and NACAC were some of my first steps in connecting with colleagues and gaining professional development. I also became a member of HECA and IECA. There is always so much to learn! I appreciate my fellow colleagues and their dedication to guiding families in the college admission process.
What is your favorite part of the job?
Seeing the look of pure joy and pride on the students’ faces when they realize, “I’m going to college!”
How has NACAC played a role in your career?
When I first meet families, I share NACAC’s Guide to Ethical Practice in College Admission and explain that this is an association comprised of high school counselors, college admission counselors, and independent consultants, working in solidarity to make sure that the students’ interests and academic success are our primary focus. I tell them of the importance of keeping up with the latest developments and that NACAC provides me the resources necessary to properly advise on the college admission process. Families are reassured by this knowledge and by the ethical standards NACAC sets to guide their experience. For me, NACAC provides the backbone of my work!
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today?
I see more than one challenge, but perhaps they are all linked:
1) Bringing education back to the center of the conversation as the key to a civilized government and society.
2) Correcting the misguided perception that a college education and experience are not worth the cost.
3) Starting access early and across all races and backgrounds.
When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
Read the news and watch Netflix TV shows and movies!
If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
Although not entirely fictitious, I find Miyamoto Musashi intriguing and inspiring. He was a 17th-century Japanese swordsman, philosopher, strategist, and writer. I grew up watching TV shows about him, so he seems fictional to me! But he is considered the sword-saint of Japan and authored The Book of Five Rings. He makes me feel that we can always find a solution.
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