By Joe Garvey
Jared Mays, an admissions counselor at Old Dominion University, recently was named a Counselor of the Year by the Potomac & Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling (PCACAC).
The association is a nonprofit professional organization for those who work with students in the transition from high school to college. The award recognizes members who go above and beyond in their work with students.
"Jared clearly reflects the prestigious principles of the award," said J. Christopher Fleming, ODU's assistant vice president for enrollment and executive director of admissions. "Jared has made a significant impact on constituents in the admissions process, shown commitment to equity and access for all, and demonstrated thoroughness in his daily work."
Julie Perez, associate director of undergraduate admissions, echoed Fleming's sentiments.
"When I saw that there was a Counselor of the Year award, the first person that came to mind is Jared," she wrote in a letter nominating him for the honor. "On any regular day in the office, Jared can be found assisting students filling out their application, walking them across campus to their next destination or simply chatting with a family to help inform them about ODU."
William Gil, director of government relations for American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, recalled a campus visit in March with his son, a high school junior in Northern Virginia.
He wrote that Mays drove from his home in Virginia Beach through heavy rain on a Sunday morning - before he was planning to go to church - to meet with them. When the rain stopped, he led the family on an hourlong tour of campus.
"Jared's enthusiasm for ODU was evident and REAL," Gil wrote in an email to the Admissions Office. "He did a tremendous job representing ODU and putting ODU in the best light in the eyes of a young man planning his future. Everyone left very impressed."
Mays was hired in 2014 after earning a B.S. in communication and political science from ODU. He is also the director of communications for the ODU Coalition of Black Faculty and Administrators; chairperson for the Virginia Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers' (VACRAO) Legislative and Inter-Association Issues Committee; and a member of the Southern Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers' (SACRAO) Recruitment, Admissions and Enrollment Management Committee. He is former vice president of ODU's Student Government Association and served as a resident assistant in the Office of Housing and Residence Life.
The PCACAC, founded in 1964, aims to maintain high professional standards at both the secondary and college levels and to connect college admission officers, secondary school counselors, independent counselors, financial aid officers and educational organizations to discuss common concerns and explore ways to empower students.
Criteria considered for the association's Counselor of the Year award include:
- Areas of expertise.
- Impact on constituents in the admission process.
- Advocacy for students and colleagues.
- Commitment to equity and access for all.
- Thoroughness in their daily work.
- Innovation in the industry.
Jane Dané, ODU's associate vice president for enrollment management, also earned a Counselor of the Year award from the organization this spring.