A class for college counseling? New director says why not
New head college counselor says mandatory meetings for juniors and seniors will make process easier for everyone
Though he thinks the college application process is like a separate, “really challenging” course for seniors amidst their other responsibilities, Mr. Jordan Moss, new Director of College Counseling and Academic Advising, hopes to make the process less stressful and more manageable for Shalhevet seniors.
And in fact, he has made it a course, for both seniors and juniors. Seniors usually meet during Thursday FLEX on a mandatory basis, and he said juniors would also sometimes have required classes this fall.
“The purpose is to break down the college counseling process into small, bite-sized pieces, so the process is not overwhelming,” Mr. Moss said. “That way you can navigate it much easier, you can ask questions much easier and we’ll be able to disseminate a lot of information to all of the students – and then inside our offices, we’ll be able to actually do the work.”
Originally from Cleveland, Mr. Moss has worked in admissions and college counseling for nearly a decade, most recently at Brentwood School for four years as Associate Director of College Counseling and earlier for four years at Milken with the same title. He replaces Mr. Eli Shavalian, who left to direct college counseling at Milken.
He earlier worked in the admissions departments of Stanford and Yale universities as a “seasonal reader” and “outside reader,” respectively, of applications, and at UCLA as a “holistic review reader,” in all cases evaluating applications for freshman admissions. .
Mr. Moss attended Washington University in St. Louis, where he majored in English and stayed for three years after graduation working as Senior Assistant Director of Admissions.
He then moved to Los Angeles to attend USC, earning a master’s degree and license in marital family therapy along with a credential in PPS – Pupil Personnel Services – in school counseling.
My goal as a counselor is to meet you wherever you are with the process, help you along, and basically hope that wherever you end up – and doesn’t make a difference to me – I just want you to be happy.” — Mr. Jordan Moss, Director of College Counseling and Academic Advising
My goal as a counselor is to meet you wherever you are with the process, help you along, and basically hope that wherever you end up – and doesn’t make a difference to me – I just want you to be happy.”
— Mr. Jordan Moss, Director of College Counseling and Academic Advising
“I love working with students, I love working with adolescents,” Mr. Moss said in an interview Aug. 22. “I really enjoy, you know, I get a kick out of it… working with parents, working with guardians and helping them navigate the part of the process as well. It’s really the counseling and the relationships that you build.”
At this point, Mr. Moss has reviewed college applications for seven cycles – around 7,000 applications in all, he said – and counseled high school students through the process for eight years, and said he’s found that everyone has a different story to tell.
“And every student has a different narrative because you guys are all different,” Mr. Moss said. “So my goal as a counselor is to meet you wherever you are with the process, help you along, and basically hope that wherever you end up – and doesn’t make a difference to me – I just want you to be happy.
“That’s my goal when it comes to college counseling – realistically is happiness,” he said.
He said a good effect of the Covid pandemic was to increase student interest in gap year programs.
“Students couldn’t really go to college – remember the first year of Covid?” said Mr. Moss. “But then you had a bunch of students be, like, ‘Well my my freshman year isn’t gonna be the traditional year so why would I go?’ So then you had many more students doing gap year type programs, so students are now more open to possibly experiencing a gap year program.”
Mr. Moss moved to Los Angeles for graduate school at USC, following his girlfriend there. Formerly Ilana Kellerman and a graduate of Shalhevet’s class of 2003, she is now Dr. Ilana Moss.
Throughout his undergraduate college years, Mr. Moss also worked as an emergency medical technician (EMT) and said that it is not that different from being a college counselor.
“Just like this profession, like being a college counselor, you help people, but you help people in a different way, right?” Mr. Moss said in an interview.
“I like helping people more behind a desk – from the perspective of like the social issues, the emotional issues, the academic issues, writing, anything related to admissions,” Mr. Moss said.
Mr. Moss said he would also be working alongside the Israel Guidance team to help advise for gap year programs.
Outside of college counseling, Mr. Moss roots for all Cleveland sports teams with his favorite being soccer.
“I’ll always watch soccer,” Mr. Moss said, “girl’s soccer, men’s soccer, college, doesn’t make a difference. Love watching, love playing.”
He has two daughters, and also likes to read, pay attention to the news and current events, and listen to all genres of music.