Ode to an Admission Rep


My youngest children—twins my wife and I adopted in Kenya during our 14 years there—are just beginning the college search process.

They are now 16, and my daughter and I went on a college tour last week. We visited two large public schools and two small private schools. We got up at 3 a.m. to make a flight, and our first school was a very large public university. It was a great tour, and our rep had gone beyond expectations to make it personal for my daughter. But then, something extraordinary happened.

The director of admissions took us to lunch. I had never met him, and although we had exchanged emails before, I really didn’t expect that he would have time to do something like that. It soon became obvious that he had a gift for drawing kids out, and with everything he had to do, the only thing that seemed to matter was my daughter. It was such a wonderful meal.

We thanked him, and began our long drive to the next school. I encouraged her to sleep, but before she fell asleep, she sat up and said, “He made me feel so important.”

My daughter had a rough start to life. She, along with her twin brother, was abandoned at birth.

As I drove, I thought about what a tough beginning she had, and how someone who didn’t know any of that somehow made the time to make her feel special.

That director of admissions may never know how important his act of kindness was. When he has his performance review, no one will know what he did; he won’t be rewarded for it.

But I knew.

Lots of grateful tears kept me company while my daughter slept.

NACAC member Steve Peifer serves as director of college counseling at The King’s Academy (FL). He is a recipient of the CNN Heroes Award for Championing Children (2007) and the NACAC Excellence in Education Award (2010). Peifer is the author of “A Dream So Big.” Read more of his work on page 62 of the winter Journal of College Admission.

2 thoughts on “Ode to an Admission Rep”

  1. Steve, my wife and I are in the process of adopting (including one teenager) and will be driving them to visit colleges soon. We look forward to moments like this as well. Thanks for sharing such a sweet moment.

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