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Member Spotlight: November 2021

Member Spotlight: November 2021

This month’s Member Spotlight features Natalie Rubino, School Counselor at Glenbard West High School.

How long have you worked in counseling?
13 years

How did you get into counseling?
After college I worked as a corporate event planner. It was a fun and exciting job right out of college where I got to travel a ton. At the two year mark, I started to feel like I needed to do something more fulfilling as a career. My older sister’s friend, Marla Engleman (counselor at Barrington HS), suggested that I look into becoming a high school counselor. That summer, I decided to take an intro class at NEIU and the rest is history!

How long have you been an IACAC member?
14 years

How have you been involved in IACAC?
– Bus/Plane O’ Fun participant (since 2008)
– Annual Conference attendee (since 2009)
– Conference presenter (2013, 2017, 2019)
– Past Committee involvement: Summer Tours, Technology Ad Hoc, Professional Connections Committee
– Summer Tours Committee Chair (2013-2015)
– Summer Tours Committee Member (Since 2015)
– Executive Board Council Team Director – Secondary (2017-2019)

What do you love most about your job?
What do I love most about my job? Oh gosh, everything! I come to school each day and don’t feel like this is a job. As a generalist counselor, I have the opportunity to work with students and families in a variety of situations and I enjoy doing something different everyday. Advising students on the college admissions process and talking about colleges is my favorite part of my job. I am passionate about helping our First Gen students. I have been blessed to work with an amazing school counseling team and at a school that truly values the work of our department. I find networking and collaborating with college admissions colleagues absolutely energizing. I am a forever-student and enjoy attending professional development opportunities whenever I can. Involvement in IACAC has been critical to my growth as a counselor. The IACAC collections and the people I have met along the way are more than just colleagues, they are mentors and life-long friends.

What is the most common college process concern you see among your students today?
At the end of each year, we conduct a senior exit survey and the college essay is consistently the most common college process concern among our seniors. Some students feel overwhelmed trying to start their college essay and usually struggle deciding on a topic to write about. For some, just the idea of the essay can be a debilitating task. Many kids find themselves writing an essay they think the college wants to read, rather than writing an essay on a topic that is meaningful and interesting to them. At West, we have been fortunate enough to collaborate with our English department to develop a curriculum of brainstorming and essay writing activities as early as Spring of junior year. Last year, we involved college admission reps as guest speakers for the English classes and it made a huge difference in their essays. Some of my favorite college essays I have read have been about the simplest topics where the personality and the essence of the student shines through. I enjoy working with students on their college essay by helping them to share their passions, be vulnerable and find their voice.

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