Supporting Students in Building their College List

Katherine Pastor, 2016 National School Counselor of the Year and counseling department chair at Flagstaff High School and Bryan Contreras, vice president of K12 & education partnerships for myOptions® outline the critical components counselors and college advisors need to know that help students build a balanced college list in preparation for your school’s American College Application Campaign Event.

Presenters also shine a light on best practices educators can adopt to support students when helping them research colleges – whether that support is in person or virtual. In this session, attendees will learn key insights each student should consider as they research the variety of postsecondary options available and identify the institutions that best align with their academic profile, personal preferences, and family budget.

ACAC’s framework for successful college selection includes using myOptions for college match, college research and self-awareness; ACAC and myOptions’ College Match and Fit Worksheet; and an event where all seniors apply to college during a designated event – whether in person or online. The free myOptions student and educator tools will be highlighted and a more detailed session on how to utilize them to support your college application event and overall management of the process will be conducted during a September 22nd webinar.


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Bryan ContrerasBryan Contreras is the Vice President of K12 and Education Partnerships at myOptions, a non-profit education organization that is the nation’s largest free college and career planning program. He has twenty years of experience in college admissions and college counseling, and leads the organization’s secondary school engagement strategy. Prior to joining myOptions, he served as the Executive Director, KIPP Through College at KIPP Houston Public Schools for 12 years. There he designed a college and career-planning program that empowered KIPP Houston students to make educated decisions about their post-secondary plans. Tracking from 8th grade, 85% of the students in this program matriculated to college and 52% completed a degree within 6 years. Under his leadership he also helped build an alumni support program that serves more than 2000 alumni in college and career.

Beyond his primary responsibilities he sits on a variety of advisory boards, including- the Woods Project, University Houston- Downtown’s Scholar’s Academy (STEM initiatives), SixUp, and Hispanic Scholarship Fund (Advisory Council- Houston). He is also the founder of the United for College Success Coalition in Texas.

Katherine PastorKatherine Pastor is a school counselor and department chair at Flagstaff High School in Northern Arizona. In 2016, Katherine was selected as the School Counselor of the Year by the American School Counselor Association. Before coming to Flagstaff High School, Katherine worked at Northern Arizona University as a Financial Aid Counselor and Coordinator of Student Employment, and in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Athletic Department.

Lisa KingLisa King is the senior communications specialist for the American College Application Campaign, a national initiative of ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning. Prior to joining ACT, King served local, state and national nonprofits and education institutions through her communications consultancy, Lisa King Consulting, LLC. She specialized in brand management, media relations, social media and event planning. Before starting her consultancy she worked for the Michigan College Access Network, Michigan Nonprofit Association and Davis Brand Capitol.  

King holds a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University where she studied Integrative Public Relations and Public Affairs and completed the Leader Advancement Scholarship program. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in online strategic communication at Michigan State University. Lisa currently serves as a board member of Eastminister Child Development Center, is an emeritus board member of the Michigan Breastfeeding Network, is a founder of the CMU Volunteer Center Alumni chapter, and is a member of the Public Relations Society of America. She resides in East Lansing, Michigan with her husband and three children where they enjoy camping and exploring the outdoors.