Director of Guidance
Morristown High School (NJ)
You plan to retire at the end of this school year. How long did you work in the profession before deciding to retire?
I’ve been in the profession from 1983 until now.
Why have you chosen to stay active in NACAC after retiring?
It is the central hub for college admission networking. I don’t know of any other professional organization that has as its central core mission encouraging and facilitating communication between those who are on different sides of the desk.
What is your most memorable NACAC experience?
I was going to write about just starting out and leading a panel with an audience of about 500 people, or having articles published in the NACAC Journal of College Admission, or running a pre-conference workshop over 12 hours for advanced professionals. But really my most memorable NACAC experience was the time at the Louisville National Conference in 2010 where the singers at the conference social, Sugar and Spice, sat at our table during a break and Ed Custard invited them to have a drink in our room. While we were fast asleep at 2 a.m., we got a knock at our door from Sugar and Spice. We got up and laughed and drank with them until dawn.
How has the college counseling field changed through the years?
SO much! It was not really a big thing when I started up. There were no books or magazine or newspaper articles on the subject. Rarely did anyone ever talk about it, and it was as routine as getting a drivers license. Parents had almost no part in the process except for writing checks. College costs per year were about the same as an inexpensive car. Colleges were need blind, there was only one financial aid form, and you could figure out how much you would get in financial aid by the very public federal formula.
Most students did not stray far from home. I never heard anyone say they were stressed about applying to college or paying for it. There was no such thing as SAT prep, independent counseling, or an enrollment manager.
The most important change is there was not such a high bar to get into highly selective colleges. You could take risks by taking interesting courses in high school to really explore interests. Now there is almost an expected formula of AP or IB courses, which lets external agencies define what a student should learn—something I do not think is a great thing.
What advice do you have for other professionals who are new to the college counseling field?
Read and travel. Read everything you can (especially the NACAC Exchange) on the subject. Take every opportunity—whether on vacation, going to conferences, or joining college tours—to visit colleges. Be active in NACAC and network. If you are a college admission counselor, whenever you visit a high school, take time to meet everyone at a high school you visit, even if it is just to exchange business cards. High school counselors, do the same with college reps. Attend the Counselor’s College Fair at the NACAC National Conference and have an experienced professional take you around.
How will you spend your free time once you’re retired?
I plan on writing about education, particularly what is happening in public school education. There is a movement to really harm public education under the guise of educational “reform.” I don’t think most people, particularly parents, realize how pernicious many of the trends are. I do some word-of-mouth independent college counseling, but strictly hourly.
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