By the time your children get into upper school, few people will be more important in their lives than Emily Allen, Cape Cod Academy’s Director of College Counseling. CCA is, after all, a college preparatory school sending 100% of its graduating class to colleges and universities around the world. Setting your kids up to make a successful transition into their next big academic step is what Emily does.
Emily got her BA from the University of Florida, a Masters in English from Cal State, and a second Masters in Counseling at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. Once she married her English teacher husband, Steve Morison, the couple was offered jobs overseas. And that was that. They became global, teaching and college counseling in Jordan and in China. CCA has Chinese students, so you see how Karma's web was being spun here. In addition to college counseling, Emily has been appointed Director of International Programs at CCA.
Remember Emily's degree in counseling. It is not just a job of connecting dots and inserting kids in the best slots. College admissions may be tougher now than it's ever been, and in college counseling, our students' first curriculum is themselves. How can they know what college is right for them until they can articulate who they actually are, where their strengths and weaknesses lie, and what they want to become going forward? "It's about listening and understanding all the factors in their lives," Emily says. "Listening is a huge part. Then questions. That's the counseling part. Insight leads to better choices."
When Steve and Emily's daughter was old enough to decide to do her college work here in the states, the couple started looking at American schools for themselves, too. Luckily for CCA, both of them ended up here. "CCA seemed like a good school," Emily says. "There were good academic programs being offered plus I liked the faculty. They are very committed to working in a very personal way with the kids...and they have high expectations."
"CCA kids are genuine and friendly," she continues. "They have a real sense of place. They’re invested. Look at all the community-service they do!"
CCA’s small size gives Emily the chance to counsel students personally and thoroughly, not only to clarify their strengths and goals but also to give them extensive feedback on their college essays. (Her 16 years as an English teacher comes in very handy here.)
Once CCA seniors have decided where they want to go, it is Emily's job to orchestrate the process to the students' advantage. Here, CCA kids get not only the benefit of her experience but her detailed knowledge of what each college is looking for. Each application must not only show the applicants in their best light but be framed in ways best suited to the tastes of each school. Luckily for CCA students, Emily enjoys all this immensely.
The flip side of what Emily does with CCA students is the never-ending process of establishing herself with the colleges the kids want to go to. She visits hosting college representatives on site, attends college fairs and events, and builds their regard for CCA so they will be ready to tip the balance in a student's favor based on their confidence in CCA.
Emily's extensive foreign experience lends itself to a setting like CCA. Her familiarity with Chinese culture uniquely positions her to assist Chinese students attending CCA and their families. Looking ahead, she sees a chance to expand to additional foreign markets without losing the vital essence of CCA, the wonderful Cape kids with sand between their toes, studying with, befriending, and learning from students from around the world.
In summary, Emily wants this for each graduate: "That their college process was one of their best experiences. They got to know themselves better, worked hard, had more fun and less stress than they expected, and emerged happily college-bound and confident in their future success."