• Think long and hard about where your true passions lie, and then follow them.
• Decide on the right time to go back to work. For de
Chatellus, it was when her kids were in high school
and more self-sufficient.
• Keep your skills up to date by attending professional conferences and workshops.
The College Counselor
Heidi de Chatellus, Insights to College
WHILE HELPING THE ELDEST of her three children through the college
application process, Heidi de Chatellus had an epiphany.
“I realized how complex this process can be for parents,” she says, “and
thought there was a real need out there in the community for quality help.”
After 10 years of being a stay-at-home mom, she got a certificate in college admissions and career planning at UC Berkeley (cost: $4,000) and put
out her shingle as an independent college counselor. As part of her training, she interned in the college counseling office at Lycée Français in San
Francisco to gain hands-on experience working with students.
Her job is more than full-time. “I work from my home office, more hours
than I care to count,” she says. “My mornings are focused on researching,
keeping abreast of developments in education and reading student work.
The rest of the day is spent meeting students and families.” She also travels
quite a bit, visiting more than 150 colleges around the country and meeting
with admissions officers on a regular basis.
Her favorite part of the job? “I really get to know the students I work with
because I spend so much time with them over the course of a year or two,”
de Chatellus says. “And I love seeing how happy they are when they receive
the acceptance letters from their first-choice schools.”