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Meet Laura Villamil

Laura Villamil
Independent Counselor
Sacbe College Counseling (WI)

How did you move into the world of independent consulting? What made you decide to get into this field?
Prior to becoming an independent college consultant, I worked in higher education as a researcher and a professor of anthropology (I was a practicing archaeologist for almost 20 years). But for a variety of reasons, I decided to leave academia. It was while I was researching alternative careers that I came across college consulting and I felt it would be a very good fit for me. I thought my experience in and knowledge of higher education would be valuable as an independent college counselor. I also enjoyed working with and advising students and I knew firsthand the challenges college students face. To learn more about college counseling and to prepare for the move, I completed UCLA’s College Counseling certificate program, joined NACAC, and went through IECA’s Summer Institute.

What is your favorite part of the job?
I love getting to know each individual student. The last couple of years of high school is such an exciting time for students, so full of possibilities as well as uncertainties. They are about to embark on their first big adventure on their own, and I get to serve as one of their guides. To help each student through the process requires having a lot of very interesting conversations. Watching them learn more about themselves, their hopes for the future, and even their fears is fascinating to me. I find forging and nurturing these relationships very rewarding.

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
Being a member of NACAC has been essential for my professional development. I regularly take advantage of the many resources available (publications, webinars, conferences) to continue to learn about the college admission landscape. I also appreciate the opportunities to interact with school-based counselors and college representatives.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I like spend time with my family and I love to read and make crafts.

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
Odysseus because he has many qualities that I admire. He’s an adventurer, ingenious, tenacious, and resilient.

Describe yourself in five words.
Idealist, compassionate, intellectual, resourceful, and introverted.

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