This month’s Member Spotlight features Miguel Perez, Graduate Student at Northeastern Illinois University.
How long have you worked in counseling?
How did you get into counseling?
I’ve been a highschool teacher for the past nine years and I noticed that I have a real connection with my students by listening and understanding them. I was interested in helping my students in an academic, social, emotional and post-secondary manner when a former colleague encouraged me to do research in a particular counseling program in my area. I began to take courses at Northeastern Illinois University and I enjoyed a lot of the topics that were discussed in my counseling courses. I began to see the benefit of using these skills with students and how it is having a positive effect on their lives.
How long have you been an IACAC member?
How have you been involved in IACAC?
Committees: Conference First Timers, Conference Project Reach, Conference Registration and Hospitality, High School Counselor Professional Development, Illinois College Fair, Scholarship, Special Interest Groups: Hispanic and Latinx Professionals
I’m also planning to present a workshop at the next conference about postsecondary strategies with my professor and other students.
What do you love most about your job?
Everyday brings something new and exciting to do in and out of our counseling office. I love meeting with students to talk about the college admissions process as well as hear about the successes they’ve had in being accepted. Talking with students about how it’s so easy in applying for college and how they should be excited about the opportunities that are within their reach. I’m extremely grateful to hear that 1 student I have known for three years I assisted in applying to her first choice University and she was finally accepted. Just hearing that news makes me extremely proud of the work that I’ve done to help all of these two.
My counseling supervisor has told me so much about the college admissions process that it was an easy transition from moving into this profession. With her mentorship, I’ve gained the confidence in what the appropriate steps are in assisting students prepare for the next chapter of their lives.
What is the most common college process concern you see among your students today?
The current pandemic has brought on many more challenges that students don’t need to face and it demonstrates the importance of a post secondary counselor and that every child deserves one. Students need to have a hand in the college search process. I always tell my students that it’s okay to feel a little nervous because this is a big step that they are taking. With over 4,000 kids in our school, it is very hard to connect with every one of them because they are all unique and special. We want to spend the time to assist them whenever we can, however with the amount of caseloads, credits and other factors it’s hard to have that one-on-one time in terms of college readiness. This year we’ve met with 100% of our seniors in our counseling caseload to talk with them about their post-secondary plans and to make sure they had taken the right steps in that direction. I enjoyed working with every one of them because all of their decisions are unique to their own needs.