Q & A with Ariana Pistorino with Neelam Savla interviewing on behalf of WACAC

Over the next several months, we wanted to help you meet WACAC. How, you ask? We’re bringing you WACAC member spotlights to help us all learn more about the passionate individuals within our education field. This week we’d like to introduce you to Ariana Pistorino, college counselor at Louisville High School in Woodland Hills, CA.


WACAC: How have your previous professional experiences brought you to your current position as Director of College Counseling at Louisville HS?


Ariana Pistorino (AP): I was fortunate to work for several different types of institutions that have provided me with a unique background to now work with high school students. I worked for a Community College, a Women’s College, an East Coast Division I University, and most recently an International University. I found myself very familiar with Higher Ed options. Whether it’s talking about going abroad, staying in-state, battling an environment w/4 seasons or the myths of women’s colleges I can speak from personal experience on those campuses. Transitioning to a College Counselor position has allowed me to utilize all that experience in helping young women determine the best option for them.


WACAC: After many positions at various admission offices, what made you want to switch to the other side of the desk?


AP: It came down to 3 C’s: Consistency. Counseling. Chuck.

Consistency:  After years of traveling and living the nomadic admissions life I was ready for more consistency in my life.

Counseling: My favorite part about Admissions was always the student interaction. Working with prospects or admits, whether it be for my institution or encouraging them to look elsewhere that was a fit was increasingly becoming where I felt fulfilled. I was becoming less and less interested in the enrollment management side of admissions. Now just working with students all day is pretty great!

Chuck: I just got married this past June and the thought of going through another recruitment cycle repeatedly away from him didn’t sound too fun!


WACAC: What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about making a switch to the other side of the desk?


AP: Part of what has made this transition so enjoyable and absolutely the right decision for me, is the school I work for. I feel incredibly lucky to have landed at Louisville, a Catholic all girl school, where female empowerment, leadership and faith are at the cornerstone of all we do. I would encourage those thinking about making the switch to seek out high schools, public or private, that share similar values to theirs in its mission and student population.


WACAC: How would you describe your personal approach of working with students?


AP: My personal approach to working with students is to meet and value them right where they are. Whether that’s at the top, middle or the bottom of the class, validating what they bring to the table seems to be the right perspective when looking forward.


WACAC: What advice would you give to new admission professionals?

AP: Join and be active with your local ACAC.

Make friends on the road! Introduce yourself to the reps next to you at college fairs.

Invest in the Admissions profession- follow trends in higher ed, attend conferences, seek out mentors


WACAC: How has your involvement in WACAC affected your professional career?


AP: My involvement in WACAC has provided me with a group of professionals that challenge me to do my best, encourage me to give back and offer a sound board for issues/trends in the profession. It has been invaluable to my practice and formation in education. The WACAC family has provided me with several mentors that I have and continue to call upon for advice and support. It’s also allowed for numerous PD opportunities through attending and presenting at Conferences/SLCs.


WACAC: What are you looking forward to the most for this academic year?


AP: I am greatly looking forward to celebrating our senior’s acceptances! It’s exciting to think about celebrating their hard work and achievement!


WACAC: If you could eat just one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

It would have to be what I call Mexipino food! Mexican/Filipino fusion. Chicken adobo tacos? Yes please!!!