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The Aquilian

Mr. Gallagher guides seniors into their next step: college life

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Mr. Patrick Gallagher also helps with school retreats like Kairos.

As the 2021 school year approaches its fourth and final quarter,  seniors have begun to finalize their college decisions with the guidance of friends, family and especially their college counselor. In the midst of a pandemic with most communication being done in a virtual setting, director of college counseling, Mr. Patrick Gallagher ensured that these students received the adequate help and guidance needed to take their next step into college life.

A photo of Director of College Counseling, Mr. Gallagher. (Photo from gonzaga.org)

After graduating from Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland, Mr. Gallagher started to expand his knowledge of the college admissions process having started his career as an admissions counselor. After 16 years working in undergraduate admission in prestigious schools, such as Georgetown, Mr. Gallagher used his experience to land his current job of director of college counseling at Gonzaga.

“The more years that I spent working in undergraduate admissions, I learned about enrollment management, college curriculum, college budgets and all the variables that go into bringing in a college class. I found it very interesting. I enjoyed the intricacies, nuances and the data used to recruit a class,” Mr. Gallagher said.

With years of experience as a college admissions counselor, Mr. Gallagher has helped countless Gonzaga students shape their college applications to best achieve their goals. As director of college counseling, Mr. Gallagher helps students make other important and more complicated variables of a student’s application apparent to colleges to help boost their chance of admission.

Online College Counseling Photo (Photo from onlinenetworkofeducators.org)

“Admissions in the United States is not necessarily a straight up meritocracy. Colleges are looking to build a community and have different priorities when reviewing applications that are unique to that institution. For example, every college has enrollment goals and initiatives that an applicant cannot control ranging from demographics, scholarship, gender, intended majors and Board of Trustees initiatives,” Mr. Gallagher explained.

With social restrictions in place due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, Mr. Gallagher has taken steps to make college counseling as accessible as possible to students. With the short notice and unexpectedness of the pandemic, Mr. Gallagher was surprised at how well Gonzaga was able to adapt and cooperate with students and their families when it came to college counseling.

“Fortunately, everything we do and have added to the college counseling program has been done virtually. Gonzaga has handled the virtual learning environment extremely well, and the Classes of 2020 and 2021 have been great and incredibly responsible in the application process,” he said.

Conducting work online over a screen has proven to be a challenging task for many due to the difficulty to communicate with one another. However, Mr. Gallagher has and will continue to implement ways for students to remain engaged in the college application process through virtual events such as student and family meetings, workshops, college fairs and even virtual college visits.

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