An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Ari Worthman, director of college counseling

Pictured clockwise from top left: Frances Nan, Tom Campbell, Ari Worthman, Erin Foster. 

Last spring, I wrote about looking ahead to a “new normal” in college admissions. Since then, the college counseling office has been reorganizing, restructuring, and preparing to support students and families through college admissions’ changing landscape.

The most significant change in the office is the members of our staff. Because we hire some of the best counselors in the country, it’s common that they’ll be tapped for leadership roles at other schools. The departures of Associate Director Mal Goss (now director of college counseling at Abington Friends School outside Philadelphia) and longtime College Counselor Mark Kranwinkle (now leading a counseling program in Italy) are examples of this. These departures also provide an opportunity to re-envision the backgrounds and makeup of our team: what expertise and experience will best serve our students for the foreseeable future?

As changes rapidly unfolded during the 2020-2021 school year, the answer became clear: rebuild the college counseling team with college admissions professionals — individuals with recent firsthand knowledge of what makes applications stand out, who understand how changing standardized testing requirements impact decisions, and who possess their own network of college admissions officers that Lakeside could harness. We searched widely for some of the best student-centered admissions professionals who are excited to continue their work at the high school level.

I’m proud to introduce them to you!

Erin Foster arrived at Lakeside in February after nearly four years as assistant director of admissions at Washington University in St. Louis.

Tom Campbell joined us on Aug. 1 after serving four years as assistant dean of admissions at Pomona College in California. Prior to Pomona, he was assistant director of admissions at College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts.

Frances Nan joined the Lakeside community on Aug. 1. Nan began their career at Pomona College where they were assistant director of admissions for four years, preceding Campbell. They spent the ensuing five years as a mentor, advisor, and college counselor for underprivileged youth for various non-profits. During this period, Nan also served as an application reader for Barnard College and Stanford University.

Foster, Campbell, and Nan arrived on-campus with extensive knowledge of Lakeside. In each of their admissions roles, they had been the admissions officers for their colleges who visited Lakeside, met with our students, and reviewed their applications. You can read their full bios on Lakeside’s college counseling webpage.

Our team has recently begun reviewing drafts of Lakeside seniors’ college essays, and I’ve been deeply impressed by their perspectives, all informed by having read thousands of college applications. When we updated the office’s video guide to the Common Application, an electronic application platform accepted by almost 1,000 colleges, the new counselors provided invaluable insights. I’m excited for our seniors to benefit from their expertise, and for all families to learn from them over the coming months at upcoming College Talks and other college counseling events. (A full calendar of events is located on our Resources Page, accessible from Veracross.)

I’m excited by this new balance in our team: in addition to the higher-ed experience of Foster, Campbell, and Nan, we retain the knowledge and experience of longtime independent school educators Catharine Jacobsen, college essay specialist (and former Lakeside college counselor for 20+ years); Marcia Chaddock, college counseling operations manager; and me. With this team, Lakeside will continue to offer students and families the most updated and relevant advice about college admissions and support them in navigating the complexities of the college admissions process.

We’ll also be adding one more person to our team this fall. Lakeside is currently searching for a college testing coordinator, a newly created part-time position that will enable us to offer the ACT and SAT on campus to juniors every spring and to seniors in the fall. Prior to the pandemic, there was a shortage of test centers in the Seattle area; this shortage has only grown during COVID. Because many Lakesiders are strong testers, we want to ensure that every student can present this application component, if they choose to, even if testing remains optional at most colleges. This new position is a testament to Lakeside’s commitment to supporting our students in every aspect of the college process.

Please join me in welcoming Erin Foster, Tom Campbell, Frances Nan, and our soon-to-be-hired college testing coordinator to Lakeside!

Ari Worthman is Lakeside’s director of college counseling. Reach him and other members of the team at collegecounseling@lakesideschool.org.