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Meet An Admissions Counselor: Joy Biscornet

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Joy Biscornet

Written by Joy Biscornéton July 20th, 2018

I got my first taste of admissions through my undergraduate work-study at Lafayette College where, in addition to filing a lot of paper, I interacted with students and families as a tour guide and admissions panelist. However, it was only when I was away from a college environment working as a Civil Engineer that I realized how much I missed working with students at this important time in their lives. I spent the first part of my admissions career working at small liberal arts colleges on the East Coast, before joining the undergraduate admission staff at Boston College where I reviewed applications to all four undergraduate programs. After more than a decade working in admissions, I wanted to have more insight into the student experience in the college process. My curiosity took me to Northern California where I worked as a college counselor at Castilleja School, a highly selective private girls high school, helping students apply to the most competitive colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. After my time at Castilleja School, I moved to the Midwest to manage the undergraduate international admission process at a large public university, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where I reviewed applications for admission to the College of Engineering. Through these experiences I’ve had the privilege of traveling across the nation and around the world (20+ countries), meeting and working with students and families to share my knowledge and expertise of the nuances of the college process.
Learn More About Joy
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 an educational 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 Joy Biscornet. Where are you from? New Rochelle, New York Where did you go to school? Lafayette College What did you study? Civil Engineering, with a minor in American History. I specifically sought out a college experience in which I could study engineering without having to sacrifice my love of history and foreign languages. Attending a small liberal arts college with a fully accredited four-year engineering program allowed me to satisfy the very technical side of my academic interests. At the same time, I studied Russian and Japanese, and debated some of the biggest events in our country’s history with peers who had no interest in engineering whatsoever. That balance was vital to my development as a lifelong learner. Where did you work? I have experience on “both sides of the desk.” I worked in the admission offices of Ursinus College, Lafayette College, Boston College, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Through these experiences I’ve gained insight on the admission practices at small liberal arts colleges, a medium sized private, religiously affiliated university, and a large state university. I was also the Associate Director of College Counseling at an all-girls school in Northern California. What are you reading right now for fun? I love cheese and I am fascinated by how four basic ingredients can produce literally hundreds of varieties of cheese. I’m currently geeking out on milk chemistry and history as I enjoy The Science of Cheese. You have a free weekend and carte blanche to go anywhere and do anything. What do you do? This is a no brainer! I would visit the Loire Valley of France to enjoy some delicious goat cheese before heading to Provence to take in the beauty of its lavender fields. What was your favorite thing about college? Getting involved in a sport that wasn’t available at my high school. Joining the crew team was not only a great way to try something new and make friends as a freshman, but it also helped me manage my time. I learned very quickly I had to prioritize my day so that I could study, attend practice, sleep, and spend time with friends.  What about your college experience was different from what you expected? I didn’t expect my professors to take such a genuine interest in me and to be so willing to help be achieve my goals. Getting to know my professors outside the classroom enhanced and deepened by academic experience. What’s your philosophy on college admission? Finding the best fit is the key to a memorable college experience. Brand name doesn’t guarantee happiness and success, but fit does. What aspect of the college admissions process do you most enjoy working on? I love the essay. It’s how I really get to know a student. Witnessing a student’s growth through his or her essay drafts and the sense of accomplishment that comes along with the final product is so much fun for me. What is the most common mistake you see from students that can easily be fixed? The most common mistake I see is not having an open mind in the college search process. When students start the process with preconceived ideas or biases they close themselves off to great options. How do you encourage students to look beyond the schools they know to find hidden gems? Be open-minded. You never know what you will find or learn about yourself in the process. What in your mind makes a good college essay? For me, a good college essay is one that, when I am done reading it, makes me want to meet the student who wrote it and have a conversation with them. What would you say to your high school self if you could coach him/her through the process? Be honest and true with yourself. Don’t make decisions based on what is right for other people. Listen to your mom; she’s only trying to make life easier for you. Don’t wait until the last day to submit your applications. You will make yourself miserable. To learn more about Joy, visit her bio.

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