Meet Nicole Ellis

Headshot of Nicole EllisNicole Ellis
School Counselor
Highland Park High School (IL)

What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
When I was in high school, I had a really close relationship with my school counselor that was influential for my entire high school experience. I was also always the go-to person in my friend group who would listen to problems and provide advice—my mother would jokingly tell me I needed to get paid for it! Fast forward to undergrad, I did an internship at Evanston Township High School (IL) in their academic support center which further solidified my desire to provide both academic and social-emotional support to students from an asset-based mindset, helping them maximize their potential.

What is your favorite part of the job? 
The favorite parts of my day are sitting with students and learning from them. I do this job because I like to build relationships, so any part of my day that includes a student meeting, even the tough meetings, are my favorite part. Also, watching the ah-ha moments happen for students is pretty great!

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
I learned about NACAC through my husband who is an admission counselor and was part of the association prior to me joining. I would go to random workshops, but finally joined this year with the conference in Seattle. I love networking and making connections and being a part of NACAC allows me to do that and grow professionally.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today?
I think the biggest challenge facing our profession today is balancing the demands of the workload and job with our own mental wellness. Balance is a word we hear often, and if often coming from us to our students. Although we encourage this with our students and colleagues, we are not always the best at mirroring this behavior which can be challenging. We are a profession that cares so much and works tirelessly to support our student populations, but sometimes we forget to give that grace to ourselves.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I am a pasta aficionado and I love trying different Italian restaurants in the city. I also love reading, date nights with my husband and friends/family, and trying my hand at different recipes (even when they don’t turn out that great).

What five words would you use to describe yourself?
Persistent. Empathetic. Flexible. Innovative. Change-maker.

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