Meet Robert Kostrzeski

Robert Kostrzeski
Co-Director of University Guidance
Awty International School

How did you become the co-director of university guidance at Awty International School?
I learned about Awty and its dual offering of the IB and French Baccalaureate (bac). Being a French speaker, coupled with my international and professional experiences, they offered me the job. About 39 percent of our student body is international students and about the same number looking to study outside of the US. It seemed like an excellent fit.

How does your job differ from more traditional counseling jobs?
Awty is a bit of a hybrid. It is in the US, but with the interest in pursuing undergraduate education outside of the US, we are unique. We are more similar to some of the international schools with in the US or some of the French-speaking schools in the US. The breadth of global university knowledge is imperative. It is common that our students apply to multiple university systems worldwide. I also think the cultural nuance is more potent on our campus than other independent or public schools. Clearly, we all have different types and levels of diversity – many schools do, but having as many dual-citizens, students on F2 visas and permanent residents in our microcosm stands out. Also, everything we publish must be translated to two languages. The bilingual nature at Awty is also what brought me here. All this and we are in a bubble in the state of Texas. The juxtaposition is just wonderful.

What keeps you in the admission profession?
Students. Honestly, over the years I have felt something in our profession morph. Perhaps this is, in part, correlated with the use of technology to market to our students and families. Some things move too fast, but it is the conversations behind closed doors which continuously motivate and inspire me. To be a part of a student’s educational and inner journey to me is a dream come true. I just want them to know they have a sounding board and that they are ok. I worry a lot about our students. They are my touchstone, if you will. They are my reason for working so many years in college counseling and admission.

What is your favorite part of the job?
I would have to say the same as before: students! Talking with them, eating lunch with them and giving them my phone to create a new “fresh” playlist for me. Also, them making fun of me when I try to use their vernacular.

How has NACAC helped you as an admission professional?
I enjoy everyone having a voice. I particularly admire and appreciate those who sit on the board and various committees. I use resources on the website and always see what the president may be saying given current events and our political climate. I normally attend the International ACAC conference, but Awty tries to attend NACAC as well each year. I have Whatsapp groups of NACAC professionals in my phone. They are my go-to people. They are my “call a friend” lifeline, even though I don’t get a million dollars or win cash in a cab.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I’m about as boring as they come because I just like being a dad and hanging out at home with Waffles our dog. I do love travel and movies. I just try to keep up with our 3.5 year old, Oliver. He keeps me busy and on my toes. I do try to volunteer on professional boards/committees mainly to serve the idea of equity and access in my own small way. I also like crispy bacon, 72% dark chocolate, and French fries with mayonnaise.

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