Director of admissions admits she likes her job


POSTED: Monday, December 01, 2008

Lori Carlos has fond memories of her days as a student at Maryknoll School, which is one reason she enjoys working there as its director of admissions.





Lori Carlos

        Title: Director of admissions


Job: Organizes and implements programs related to admitting students to Maryknoll School



“;That's what's nice about the school setting, since it's where many of us had some of our best childhood memories,”; she said last week.

Carlos attended high school at Maryknoll, a private Catholic school with almost 1,400 students that offers classes from pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade.

After Maryknoll, Carlos obtained a bachelor's degree in communication and psychology from another Catholic school, the University of San Francisco, then returned to Hawaii to work as a marketing analyst for First Insurance Company of Hawaii.

A couple of years later, an opportunity arose for her to work at Maryknoll, and she jumped at it. She started in the school's development office, working with alumni to help raise school operating funds, then shifted two years ago into its admissions office.

“;I, of course, applied, like many others did, and was eventually selected,”; she said.

Part of her credentials to qualify for the job included doing similar work when she was attending USF.

  “;I worked in the admissions office at USF,”; she said. “;I did school tours, and that's something I still do today for prospective students and their parents.”;

The former Lori Kern is 39 and married to Stephen Carlos (”;my high school sweetheart”;), with whom she has three daughters—two of whom attend Maryknoll School. The family resides in Mililani.

  Mark Coleman: What is your work title?

Lori Carlos: I'm the director of admission for Maryknoll School. We're pre-K through grade 12.

Q: What does that mean you do?

A: Basically I'm responsible for organizing and implementing anything related to admissions.

Q: How many students are there at Maryknoll School?

A: We have 1,372 students.

Q: I suppose you've met every one.

A: I'd like to think so. At least in the past two years that I've been doing this.

Q: Do you actually screen students, or does the school pretty much welcome anyone who applies that can afford it?

A: We go through an application process, as all other private schools do. And my role in it, truly, is to learn as much as possible about a student and provide that information to our admission review committee. They're the ones who make the decision. I get to meet people and gather all the information necessary.

Q: How many people are on that committee?

A: Oh, gosh, it varies by grade level, but it consists of teachers and administrators.

Q: Is there a limit of the number of students you can take?

A: From an enrollment standpoint, yes, but we get a lot of applicants who are interested in our school.

Q: What kind of information about the students do you look for?

A: Basically, beyond the information we look to gather, we look at a student's academic progress, as well as requiring interviews or testing that we administer.

Q: What kind of research do you have to do for each student?

A: Everyone goes through an application process, so as I mentioned, academic records from their previous school, report cards, along with teacher-reference reports. Those come from their current teachers.

Q: Are students coming in at all grade levels?

A: Pretty much. Our major entry levels are kindergarten, sixth and ninth (grades). But we take applications at all grade levels, because sometimes we have an opening at third or fifth, or you name it.

Q: Do many of the students come from public schools?

A: Yeah, I would say we have a good percentage coming from public schools, as well a handful of students that come from smaller Catholic schools.

Q: It's a religious school, isn't it?

A: Yes, we're a co-ed Catholic school.

Q: Do you have to be Catholic to attend?

A: No, it's not a prerequisite. Only about 50 percent of our students are Catholic.

Q: What is your average work day?

A: Oh, gosh. I'm kind of an early bird, so I get in about 7 a.m. And, you know, when it's not too busy, I'm usually leaving about 4 o'clock. But when we're super busy, in the midst of applications and testing, then, you know, 5:30 (p.m.)

Q: Do you work all year?

A: Yes, I'm a year-round employee, so when we're not in admissions, it's work in planning for the upcoming year, whether in advertising or brochures, or planning special events.

Q: How much of your job is desk-bound?

A: It depends on the time of year. The great part about fall time would be going out to meet with parents and prospective students. And then January through May, I am pretty much chained to my desk, whether it be fielding phone calls from parents about the process or about their child.

Q: When you say “;going out,”; what does that mean?

A: That would be visiting other Catholic schools, that go to just eighth grade, to talk to their eighth-graders, or going to admissions fairs.

Q: Do you go to homes?

A: No. these would be as a member of HAIS, the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools. We collaborate and hold admission fairs to meet prospective families.

Q: So it's both people coming in and you going out?

A: Yeah, and therein lies my main goal, which is to bring Maryknoll to life for these students and families, so we can both make an educated decision as to where a student would fit in.

Q: Do you have anyone working with you in admissions?

A: I do. I have a great team. Two full-time assistants, who probably are the real bosses (laughter)—Gayle McEntire and Pat Mosskal.

Q: How long have you been working at Maryknoll?

A: I've been here for 14 years. I started in the development office, working with alumni, and then going on my third year as director of admissions.

Q: “;Development”; means raising money?

A: Yes—fundraising and friend raising, we call it.

Q: What were you doing before you joined the school?

A: Before I came to Maryknoll I was working for a local insurance company as a marketing analyst—First Insurance. They're a great company. And it was nice to work with them in the corporate world for a while. But when I saw an opportunity to come back to Maryknoll, it was kind of a no-brainer, especially considering that I have two children of my own attending Maryknoll.

That's what's nice about the school setting, since it's where many of us had some of our best childhood memories—like the first day of school, and the Christmas program, and in Hawaii, I guess, the May Day program. You get to relive those memories. So it was an opportunity to come back—and give back.

Q: You attended Maryknoll?

A: I did—the high school. Actually, I've gone to Catholic schools all my life, from first grade to college.

Q: Where were those?

A: I went to Our Lady of Good Counsel, in Pearl City, from first- through eighth-grade, and then continued on to Maryknoll for high school, and then a Jesuit college, the University of San Francisco. And, actually, I worked in the admissions office at USF. I'd forgot all about that. (Laughter) I did school tours at USF, and that's something I still do today for prospective students and their parents.

Q: How did you get into admissions at Maryknoll.

A: Like I said, I did it at the University of San Francisco, whether tours or processing applications, and when my predecessor (at Maryknoll) was moving to the mainland, I kind of jumped at the opportunity, to promote another place that I love. I promoted USF, and now I promote Maryknoll.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: Truly, the people. They're very passionate. They're people who love what they do. It's great to work in a place where people feel the same way as I do.

Q: Is there anything you dislike about your job?

A: Not really. I can't even come up with something. On my worst day I couldn't, I truly couldn't.