This month’s Member Spotlight features David Bennett, Associate Executive Director at UtmostU/Network for Young Adults Success.
How long have you worked in counseling?
How did you get into counseling?
My counseling career started as an Admission Counselor at Lake Forest College in 2003. (Fun fact: I got my offer to join the team the day before my wedding.) I then worked my way into leadership positions over 12 year to the role of VP/Director of Admissions, before moving on to become the Director of College Counseling at Legal Prep Charter Academy in Chicago’s West Garfield Park. In 2019, I moved to oversee the postsecondary success non-profit, UtmostU. I am currently helping to support a network of a dozen schools and CBOs that provide coaches for 500+ principally low-income, first-gen college and career young adults.
How long have you been an IACAC member?
How have you been involved in IACAC?
Over my years I have participated in a number of committees and initiatives, including the Admissions Practices Committee, presenting at annual conferences, the Scholarship Committee, the ad hoc Surplus Funds Committee, Bus/Bike ‘0 Fun tours, Project Reach recipient, and most recently assisting with the CBO SIG.
What do you love most about your job?
My first love is watching young people discover and appreciate their own potential and then helping them map out their plans. In my current role, I have been more focused on creating systems of support for young adult that have scale and reach that go beyond programs. I see amazing opportunities to connect resources for more collaborative work that can have deep impact on the most underserved students.
What is the most common college process concern you see among your students today?
As odd as it seems, I see many students overwhelmed by information. So much is being thrown at students and they have a very challenging time evaluating what is important to them. We often forget that young adults are mentally, emotionally, and intellectually developing, and we expect them to sort out all the data and voices to make big decisions. We need to give young adults more time. Becoming an adult is messy. As counselor and coaches we need to listen more and let the fit-and-starts of decision making be an acceptable part of the process.