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Director of College Counseling

Job Details

Shady Side Academy Senior School - Pittsburgh, PA


Classification: Full-Time; Year-Round; Exempt

Reports to:    Head of Senior School

Supervises:   Associate Directors of College Counseling and Office Coordinator to College Counselors

Position Description

Shady Side Academy seeks a strategic and dynamic Director of College Counseling who is eager to inject inspiration and innovation into a thriving College Counseling Office (CCO) and school community. The Academy offers a unique and valuable education that is relational, cultivates a balanced worldview, and leverages real-world learning experiences that will prepare graduates to become ethical, humane leaders in a rapidly changing world. Accordingly, this role will gracefully balance high-level institutional priorities with the daily management of a team. Additionally, this position will be charged with rethinking and reinventing CCO programs and practices in service of a growing and diverse population of students and families. 

Responsibilities include:

Institutional and External Community Building

  • Aligning College Counseling processes and programs with the Academy’s mission and values 

  • Clearly articulating the vision of the CCO and its approach in guiding the student college search process to various stakeholders

  • Proactively and strategically cultivating relationships with a wide range of colleges through campus visits and tours and by networking with college admissions and college counseling professionals

  • Ensuring effective and timely communication to all stakeholders 

  • Collaborating with the Head of School and Senior School Administrative Team to identify student and family needs, sound structures, best practices, and school policies to better support students 

Student and Family Partnership

  • Advising and supporting 30% of the junior and senior class through all phases of the college process with warmth, compassion, and cultural competence

  • Developing educational programming throughout the year to support families and students through the college process

  • Demonstrating responsive leadership across the department in an effort to serve a diverse group of students and families throughout the college process

  • Writing effective letters of recommendation that highlight each student’s academic strengths and individual journey

  • Demonstrating deep knowledge of scholarship opportunities and of the financial aid process as it relates to individual student need

  • Continuing to build partnerships between parents and the College Counseling Office that center on each student’s unique journeys and processes

Administrative Duties

  • Hosting annual college fair and visiting colleges and universities to promote the understanding of SSA’s unique academic program, student life, and extracurricular opportunities

  • Annually reimagining and publishing the school profile

  • Presenting annual CCO reports to the Board of Trustees and Senior School

  • Tracking and analyzing matriculation and testing data

  • Supporting and developing the college counseling team, with a continued effort to grow and improve office and individual practices

  • Regularly examining the college counseling office’s systems, programs, and processes 

  • Regularly engaging in ongoing learning, professional growth, and reflective practices

  • Other duties as assigned by the Head of the Senior School


Skills and Qualifications

  • High emotional intelligence and cultural competence

  • Excellent communication and management skills

  • Confidence and humility to advocate for and embrace new ideas, welcome feedback, and build consensus

  • Ability to hold boundaries and confidentiality and to lean into difficult conversations

  • Commitment to creating a culture of inclusivity in the college process for all families

  • Deep appreciation for the growing needs of students and families and an openness to lead with compassion and innovation

  • Leadership that inspires confidence and draws upon the knowledge and experience gained through significant work in selective college admission and/or independent school college counseling

  • Desire to stay current on college processes, admission procedures, and financial aid programs through current research, association memberships, and networking

  • A well-developed professional network in the college counseling and college admissions field

About Shady Side Academy

Shady Side Academy is a pre-k through grade 12 private school in Pittsburgh, PA. At Shady Side, we make room for students to make their move. We believe learning should be expansive and exciting for our students, so they can be the architects of their own adventure. We empower teachers who love teaching, so students can feel the joy in every classroom. We go beyond standard education, so graduates will be ready for college and everything after. Moving with intention. Moving with confidence. We move with the world, so our graduates do too. Visit the school’s website at