Member Spotlight: Sarah Loring de Garcia

Member Spotlight: Sarah Loring de Garcia, GEM Award Winner

Name: Sarah Loring de Garcia

Title: Independent Educational Consultant (but hopefully soon I’ll be a Certified Educational Planner… just waiting for my exam results!)

What drew you to the world of international admissions?
I moved to Mexico in 2002 as a science teacher at the American School Foundation of Monterrey, and met my dear friend Monna McDiarmid (currently at UWC ISAK Japan) who later became my roommate. She was the College Counselor, and I remember thinking that her job looked so interesting! When she left ASFM, I applied for the position and was hired in 2006. I did all six courses of the UCLA College Counseling Certificate program in seven months, and did my practicum on the job. It was a huge change, but I’ve never looked back. I love this work. 

What is your favorite part of the job?

Essentially, this work is all about helping young people make the first adult decision of their lives - what to do next, after high school. I love getting to know my students and being the “matchmaker” who helps guide them toward the next big thing. That part of the work has only grown since I left the school in 2017. As an IEC, I have fewer students (40 instead of 165), no faculty meetings to attend, and I no longer have to write 90-105 letters of recommendation per year. I have time to “deep dive” with each individual student so I really get to know them and support them better. 

How has International ACAC played a role in your career?

I am always amazed by the smallness of the world of international teaching/counseling/admissions. Six degrees of separation simply does not apply - connections are everywhere! The people are incredible. Even though it took nine years to get my school to send me to an International ACAC conference, once I finally went, I was hooked. I saw familiar faces everywhere, gathered into one place. As a school-based college counselor, I didn’t really have time to get more heavily involved than just being a member. Now, as an IEC, it’s been great to finally have time to “say yes” to things - joining the Admission Practices committee, being a faculty chair for the 2018 Latin America Regional Institute, being on the pre-conference faculty, and compiling resources to share like the International Test Optional list. My connections used to lift me up all the time, helping when I had questions or struggles. Now I get to give back to others more.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today?

We are standing at a crossroads, and we know it. In this moment, so many factors in our work are hitting critical tipping points - BIG questions of ethics and equity are confronting us, from the NACAC CEPP to Varsity Blues, the Harvard case, disruptive forces like Duolingo and the test optional movement, and so many more. What are we going to do about it all? I think that “Hack the Gates” is on to something, and I can’t wait to see how it evolves. 

When you aren't working, what do you like to do?

My family is everything to me. I love spending time with my husband and 9-year-old daughter. Becoming an IEC has allowed me to be more present (less exhausted) for them. I’m in two book clubs, an international women’s club, and I also love to swim.

What place is on your travel bucket list?

This might sound weird, but I really love going on cruises. Mostly because I love seeing different places, and I hate having to pack and move to a different hotel. With a cruise, you move into your room one time, and then every day when you wake up your whole “hotel” has picked up and moved to a new destination! So count me in for anywhere that a cruise ship can take me. (If I could jump in my time machine, I’d go back and do semester at sea.)

Describe yourself in five words.

Helpful, Honest, Organized, Quirky, Relaxed

Sarah is the recipient of the International ACAC Going the Extra Mil
e (GEM) Award for 2019. For more information about GEM, please visit the program website.

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