A Coffee with Kerri Medina of International College Counselors
“Kerri Medina serves as the Director of College Counseling for International College Counselors”
Hello Kerri, how do you take your coffee?
Having grown up outside of Seattle, I love espresso and frequently start my day with a homemade latte.
What would you say are the most satisfying aspects of your work?
I really love building relationships and through my work I have ample opportunity to do so. I also really enjoy the entire application process and there is nothing more exciting than seeing a student I have worked with and care about achieve his or her goal.
And the most challenging?
I would say the most challenging aspect of my work is balancing everything and keeping my students on track. Most of the students I work with lead very busy lives, and as a single parent of a high school student, my life gets hectic too. When application deadlines draw near, things can sometimes feel a little overwhelming, but with my amazing team and good time management I’m able to get everything done well and in a timely manner.
Prior to your current position you oversaw the Women of Tomorrow mentoring program in public high schools. In this role was there a barrier that you felt you had to break through to help the female students you worked with look to the future with optimism and ambition?
The purpose of Women of Tomorrow is to reach at risk young women and help them reach their full potential. As such, the girls I worked with had many barriers, ranging from socio-economic to academic, that stood in their way. Through the careful mentoring and guidance that has taken place through the Women of Tomorrow Mentor and Scholarship Program, many of these girls have gone on to become the first in their family to graduate from high school and in many cases, subsequently graduate from college. The whole program is designed to ensure the young women involved are fully aware of all the opportunities available to them.
Do you feel that this barrier is being broken down?
I absolutely believe this barrier is being broken down, one young woman at a time. In the time I was with Women of Tomorrow I oversaw the distribution of more than half a million dollars in scholarship money distributed to young women from diverse, at-risk backgrounds. These young women are now studying and giving back to their community in ways they never knew possible. I have continued to work with Women of Tomorrow as a guest speaker in order to ensure that each of these amazing young women continues to have access to good information in regard to college, financial aid and scholarship opportunities.
What is the one thing most international students are surprised to learn about as it pertains to the US admissions process?
I think the whole application process comes as a surprise to international students. In many countries grades and activities are not considered for admission to a university. In fact, in many cases entrance exams determine placement. It can be quite a shock to see the holistic application process that takes place here in the United States. It can be very beneficial if I can start working with a student in their first or second year of high school to ensure they are doing everything possible to be admitted to the college/university of their choice.