Flintridge Prep's College Counseling Office Gets Both Sides Now

Published : Friday, March 23, 2012 | 7:51 AM

Gloria Diaz Ventura, Prep’s Co-Director of College Counseling

Prep’s Class of 2013 is beginning the formal college admissions process — with a new counselor to guide them. Gloria Diaz Ventura, who became Prep’s Co-Director of College Counseling in January, has already met with parents and students in the junior class. Ms. Ventura, who graduated from Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy and UC Berkeley, has professional experience on both sides of the admissions process. As an admissions officer at USC (’02-’06) and Stanford University (’06-’09), Ms. Ventura saw that, “there is a physical reaction in face-to-face interviews where you can see the student’s excitement about a college or an activity. There is an energy to every application, “it literally breathes through the file” and explains why a student is the way he or she is.

“In admissions,” continues Ms. Ventura, “we would consider competitive vs. compelling candidates. The competitive candidates have strong numbers and test scores; the compelling students demonstrate balance between the quantitative and qualitative. Their applications introduce a new piece of information with every turn of the page. Their essays and short answers outline authentic interest in areas meaningful to the student, and also demonstrate an impact in the world around them. Compelling candidates were the ones that made it through in the end.”

Ms. Ventura took her insights as a college admissions officer to the high school side of the process, working at Poly for two years as their Co-Director of College Counseling before coming to Prep. She is adamant about finding a great, genuine match for each student’s college experience. To that end, she has told her juniors, “Think of yourself as an inventor, with a unique invention. That invention is you, and you are looking for a funder. Don’t change your invention, “find a funder who believes in you. You want to be happy together.”

Among Ms. Ventura’s many responsibilities will be aiding scholar-artists and scholar-athletes as they manage the college process, which can mean portfolios, auditions, and recruiting visits added to the calendar. In every situation, she’ll be helping students and their families find the right fit. She believes applications to college should showcase sincerity and uniqueness, and she aims to help Prep students create genuine documents of their lives so far. “Students thrive in areas they are passionate about pursuing, in high school as well as in college. My job is to be objective, to be a coach and an advocate. I’m here to help.”

Ms. Ventura will share counseling duties with Co-Director of College Counseling Mrs. Vanessa Walker-Oakes, Director Emerita Mrs. Joanna Hartigan, College Counselor Mrs. Mary Ellen Jamison, and Assistant Director of College Counseling Mrs. Sharon Briffett. Says Mrs. Walker-Oakes, “Ms. Ventura brings to Prep not only her wealth of first-hand experience on the college side of admissions, but also her warm spirit and love of counseling young people. We were friends long before we became colleagues, and so it has been twice as wonderful to have her join us!”

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