Bronco Spotlight: Anthony Perez
Admissions Counselor at Western Michigan University
I serve the southwest Michigan territory and Indiana. I am responsible for reviewing applications, transcripts, and other materials submitted for a student's college application to WMU. Part of my role is traveling to high schools and college fairs hosted within my territory, in addition to scheduling high school visits, where I speak to juniors and seniors regarding WMU’s academic opportunities.
What activities, resources, or people helped you prepare for your career?
I had many mentors throughout my graduate experience that helped point me in the right direction. Dr. Ramona Lewis encouraged me to consider my career aspirations and review some of my past assignments to see what other areas of higher education I could work in. My internship with Louisiana State University gave me a unique experience with conference management and event planning. However, the most impactful individual on my professional journey is Scot Conant; he mentored me during my time as the Recruitment and Outreach Specialist for the Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering. Scot helped me learn valuable skills that have become extremely helpful in navigating my first recruitment season in admissions.
Which of your skills had the biggest impact on your success?
Customer service and relationship building are two of the most salient skills that I use the most when I am on the road going to college fairs, high school visits, or speaking with families. This job also requires attention to detail and ability to work well in a team. We rely on one another especially during peak seasons. If someone needs some support reviewing applications or discussing a student, it helps to have conversations with coworkers to ensure that you are making the decision with the student's best interest in mind.
What experiences impacted the choice of your career path?
I saw graduate school as an opportunity for me to try different things. Don’t underestimate yourself, I made a hard decision to leave my graduate assistantship because I wanted to expand my skills and explore other functional areas. However, that meant job searching and looking for another graduate assistantship or full-time job. I ended up landing my first full-time position with the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
What advice do you have for others pursuing a career similar to yours?
Don’t be afraid to try new things and do some introspection to evaluate your passions and goals. Take the chance on yourself even if you don’t know everything you need to know when going into a new position. I didn’t know anything about engineering, let alone chemical and paper engineering! However, when looking at the job description I found that there were qualifications that I met and others that I could develop on the job. The answer will always be “no” if you don’t ask or apply. Do what makes you happy and not what others tell you to do. If you know it’s something you are passionate about and it doesn’t feel like work, I would argue that you found a good fit. It may take some time, so be patient with yourself and the process. Finally, don’t forget to talk to your network, you never know what kind of connections folks have that they may be able to connect you with.