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Meet an Admissions Counselor: Alexandra Rendon

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Written by Alexandra Rendonon July 5th, 2022

I began my career in admissions at Mount Saint Mary’s University as an admissions officer. While at the Mount, I gained experience working at a women’s college and worked with students from California, Washington, and Oregon. I also managed several campus programs for high school counselors, financial aid and scholarships, and onsite application days. After leaving the Mount, I took a position in the undergraduate admissions office at the University of California San Diego where I worked with both domestic and international high school and transfer students. I gained extensive experience in application evaluation and became a team leader, providing application review training for our evaluations team.
Learn More About Alexandra
We’re bringing back our popular series, Meet an Admissions Counselor, where we introduce students and families to a different member of the College Coach admissions team. Drop in to see what we’re reading, where we went to school, and our strategies for beginning the college essay. As you work with us to find a college admissions consultant who best fits your needs or the needs of your child, we will help you consider the personality and working styles that will bring out the best in you or your student. Today we introduce Alex Rendon. Where are you from, where have you lived, and where do you live now? I grew up in beautiful Orange County, home to some of California’s most beautiful beaches. After graduating high school, I moved down the coast to San Diego, and my next move took me to Los Angeles. While living in L.A. I enjoyed exploring different neighborhoods, sampling some of the many amazing restaurants, and being in the entertainment capital of the world. After a few years, I moved back to San Diego, which is truly home now. I love living here because of the great weather year-round and active outdoor culture. What are you reading, watching, and/or listening to lately? I’m a big fan of audiobooks and podcasts. You’ll typically catch me with an NPR podcast going on in the background when I am driving, running errands, or walking my dog. Some favorite books I have read recently are The Alice Network, The Thursday Murder Club, and Educated: A Memoir. My favorite genre is historical fiction but I’m always happy to receive great book recommendations.  What do you do for fun or to relax? One of my favorite things to do on the weekends is try new coffee shops. I also enjoy hiking and spending time outdoors with my family, whether it’s going to the beach or camping in the mountains. Testing out new recipes also brings me joy. I’m a messy cook and hate doing the dishes, but I love cooking for friends who are willing to pitch in with the cleanup.  What are some of your interests—things that fascinate you or send you down internet rabbit holes, or things you love to learn more about? One of my majors in college was history so I enjoy learning about the past. Local history I find especially interesting because it can better help you to understand your own community. I always enjoy exploring a neighborhood to see its historic homes and learn more about its past. I also find myself scrolling through food blogs way too often, especially around lunchtime. Do you do any volunteer work? If so, what, and are there certain causes that are close to your heart? I’m not currently involved in any volunteer work but in the past, I have volunteered with my alma mater as a scholarship reader for alumni-endowed scholarships for continuing students, and served on the board of directors for my local Girls Inc. chapter. I also have a rescue pup, so animal rescues and organizations that support animal welfare are near and dear to my heart. -- Where did you go to college and what did you study? I attended the University of San Diego where I graduated with a double major in Business Administration and History along with a minor in Spanish. What was your favorite thing about college? Was anything very different from what you expected? In college I really enjoyed having more freedom in choosing my own educational path. While I enjoyed my high school classes, there weren’t that many options to choose from when creating a schedule. In college I could choose from a huge variety of classes and tailor my schedule to my own passions.  What would you say to your high school self if you could coach them through the research and application process? What would you have done differently? I would tell my high school self to ask for guidance and be open minded when learning about different colleges. My first job in higher education was at a women’s college and it was such an empowering environment where I think I really would have excelled as a student had I thought to apply. I recommend all students approach their college search with an open mind and try not to fall into stereotyping schools. Do your own exploration rather than relying on what you think you know and be open to new experiences. -- Where did you work in admissions and/or counseling? I began my career in admissions at Mount Saint Mary’s University, a small Catholic women’s College in Los Angeles. I spent two years at the Mount where I managed counselor programs, conducted onsite application days, and managed recruitment territories in California and the Pacific Northwest. My next adventure took me back to San Diego where I worked at University of California, San Diego. In my seven years at UC San Diego, I worked with both domestic and international first year and transfer students. I also managed territories in the Pacific Northwest, Arizona, and California. What aspect of the college admissions and/or counseling process do you most enjoy working on? I most enjoy assisting students with the application process. In my years in admissions, I have read thousands of applications and always hated to see missed opportunities on those applications. I enjoy helping students showcase their talents and feel confident knowing they did their best to share their authentic self with the admissions committees who are reviewing their applications. What in your mind makes a good college essay? There’s no algorithm for the perfect college essay but the best ones I have read center on something the student is passionate about because those are always the most authentic essays. I love to see when a student’s excitement about a subject or activity jumps off the page. It doesn’t matter if it’s the soccer team, volunteering, a part-time job, or any other subject under the sun; when your enthusiasm is apparent it can be contagious to the application reader. How do you guide and nurture students through the college list process, from initial research to narrowing the final list? I like to start the college list process by asking questions and getting to know my students. From there it’s a collaborative process. Ultimately the student is making the final decisions of where to apply; I’m just here to help them ask the right questions and assist them in narrowing their focus. How would you describe your counseling style? I am an active listener who likes to ask a lot of questions. I appreciate getting to know the students I am working with on a personal level and am excited to see them succeed. I am organized and like to measure progress and track accountability by completing tasks on a to-do list. To learn more about Alex, visit her bio.

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