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Meet an Admissions Counselor: Aysha Wong

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Aysha Wong College Coach

Written by Aysha Wongon June 23rd, 2022

I started my career as a freshman admissions counselor at the University of Florida, where I grew my passion for higher education while recruiting students and evaluating applications from the three largest counties in the state. I also took on the challenge of leading the planning and execution of large-scale recruitment and yield events targeting underrepresented and underserved student populations. I sought out opportunities to expand my knowledge as an assistant director of admission focused on international admission. In that role, I recruited and evaluated both undergraduate and graduate applications for students applying from all regions of the world. I also created and optimized our international student recruitment and yield strategies while collaborating closely with the international student services office, Graduate School, and academic graduate departments to develop admission policies and guidelines that best served students of all backgrounds. Although I have worked with students from every corner of the world, my specific interest and focus included students from Latin America and the Caribbean. I also served on the university student petitions committee, the admission rescind committee, and the admission merit scholarship committee during my time at the University of Florida.
Learn More About Aysha
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 Aysha Wong. What do you do for fun or to relax? To relax, I usually make my way outdoors and enjoy hiking the least challenging trail I can find, kayaking or snorkeling Central Florida’s beautiful freshwater springs, and hanging out at the beach. For fun, I love visiting the nearby theme parks for an adrenaline rush, watching productions at our local playhouse, eating whatever the spiciest dish is on a new restaurant’s menu, and playing board games with my family. What are you reading, watching, and/or listening to lately?  I’m currently reading, and very much enjoying, The House on the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. I enjoy the fantasy, science fiction, true crime, and dark comedy genres of literature. I recently started watching Barry and Moon Knight. I’m listening to a wide variety of true crime and interview podcasts, with my current favorites being Criminal  and Terrible, Thanks for Asking. Do you do any volunteer work? If so, what, and are there certain causes that are close to your heart? I currently volunteer at our local animal services division and our humane society. I have a soft spot for animals, especially cats, and foster animals whenever I can. -- Where did you go to college and what did you study? I studied at the University of Florida and earned my Bachelor of Science in Advertising with a minor in Business Administration. What was your favorite thing about college? Was anything very different from what you expected? My favorite thing about college was having the ability to experience the diversity of thought that comes with being in a learning environment that includes people from a wide range of geographic, socioeconomic, and ethnic backgrounds. It gave me the opportunity to discover perspectives I’d never encountered and approaches to life I’d never considered. It opened me up to a world that in many ways seemed out of reach previously and to people that impacted me, and continue to impact me, deeply. Having been a first-generation student, my expectations around what college life would be like were based on the limited knowledge my high school friends shared with me and the broad portrait my high school counselor was able to paint for me. Although there were instances where my expectations and reality aligned, I think I underestimated many facets of college life. Most of all, how important it is to be proactive and a self-starter on a college campus. College campuses often have robust support systems in place to ensure that their students have everything they need to be successful, but it is often the student’s responsibility to seek those resources out when they are needed. Once I got a grasp of this and understood my role in my own success, I was able to flourish. 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 encourage my high school self to broaden her horizons during the college search process. Instead of only considering and applying to colleges and universities that were the “it” institutions amongst my peers, I wish I would have exercised the introspection necessary to discover institutions that were truly the right fit for me. I think the college search and application process is a deeply personal process that should be based on an individual’s intrinsic needs, desires, and goals. -- Where did you work in admissions and/or counseling? I worked at the flagship university in Florida, the University of Florida, located in Gainesville. What aspect of the college admissions and/or counseling process do you most enjoy working on? I get the most enjoyment from working with students on crafting and refining their essays and application question responses. I find helping a student look inward and realize where they shine to be rewarding, and I derive satisfaction from reading essays that accurately depict the depth and breadth of a student’s character. What in your mind makes a good college essay? First and foremost, a good essay must be authentic and a true depiction of the writer’s voice. I want to walk away from an essay feeling like I know in some form or fashion who the writer is and where they may fit in the grand scheme of life. A good essay should also be thoughtful and intentional. It should showcase the writer’s understanding of their own unique and compelling personal characteristics and perhaps even offer a glimpse into the “why” behind the “who.” It will also utilize strong writing to capture and retain the reader’s attention, and employ adept storytelling to show, instead of tell, the writer’s viewpoint. How do you guide and nurture students through the college list process, from initial research to narrowing the final list? When traversing the college list process, I encourage a student to begin with self-reflection to gain an understanding of their own personal motivations, needs, and desires as they relate to the college experience. I lead them through the self-exploration required to determine what “fit” really means to them and help them discover how their academic goals, personal preferences, and requirements for success intersect with what institutions offer. Should they encounter unfamiliar concepts or need context to further their understanding of how they may fit into the higher education landscape, I act as a resource and knowledge base they can pull from, and direct them to external resources that may also meet their needs. When it’s time to finalize their list, I offer them reassurance that the choices they are making, albeit difficult, will ultimately be the right ones if they approach the process with honesty and forethought. How would you describe your counseling style? I’m very much a listener and my counseling style is a direct reflection of that. I do my best to create a deep understanding of who an individual is, what their intrinsic motivators are, and what their specific needs and desires appear to be. I look for ways to connect with them on a human-to-human level so they feel comfortable and supported as they navigate a complex and sometimes overwhelming process. I utilize self-reflection and introspection as the foundation for how to move forward with the process and make myself available as a trusted resource and guide along their journey. I foster a climate of trust, honesty, and empathy, which allows me not only to encourage a student to be true to themselves, but also creates a sense of calm and confidence for families as a unit. To learn more about Aysha, visit her bio.

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