Counseling director reflects on his new role

Despite learning curve, Emery is up to the task


Ava Amos

Director of counseling Mr. Duane Emery, along with the other counselors and the admissions staff, have used technology to communicate with the incoming freshmen and their parents.

Ava Amos, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Over the years, director of counseling and financial aid Mr. Duane Emery has had many positions while working here. He shared his personal career path both at this school and at other institutions. 

Before he came here he worked in college admissions for four years, three years at DePauw University in Greencastle and for a year at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. 

Emery joined the Cathedral family in August,1999, when he said that he wanted to make a switch to college counseling. One of his former admissions colleagues and one of the first college counselors at this school, asked Emery to apply for a newly created counseling position. “My first two years (at Cathedral I was a) college counselor, then for five years I was the vice president for enrollment management, then for three years I was the vice president for advancement, then for 10 years I was the vice president for enrollment management again and now I am in my first year as director of counseling and director of financial aid,” Emery said. 

He said that he really enjoys the college counseling component of what he does. He said, “It’s pro/con. The college counseling I really like because I get to have such awesome conversations with seniors and I get to help them go through that process of choosing what hopefully is the right college for them, so getting to know the students in that way is something I really enjoy,” he said. 

On the other hand, he said that he loves admissions as well. “I got to know almost every student and family coming to our school and I’m going to miss that and not being in admissions anymore,” Emery said. 

He added that he feels he is most effective in the admissions role. Emery said, “I think I’m really good at building relationships, and I think I’m pretty good at seeing the big picture of the school. I think I’m good at analyzing data to make changes in the admissions process.” 

Emery said that the school’s enrollment was at a high of 1,293 and at a low of 1,104 during his time working in enrollment, and the average number of students was 1,231. He said, “The part I disliked about (admissions) is it’s a pretty pressure packed position because 85% or so of the school’s operating budget comes from tuition, so there’s kind of a constant pressure to have enough students in the building to do the things we want to do financially, so there’s a little more pressure to that position than others.

“In advancement, I really liked knowing that I was helping financially for everything that was going on at the school, but I didn’t like the fact that I didn’t have nearly as much interaction with students. In counseling, I really like the constant interaction with students, but I don’t like not being as involved in big picture strategic things about the school. In enrollment I was involved in the highest level strategic conversations and I’m not involved in those as much in counseling,” he said.

At one point in time Emery the school briefly and then came back. He said, “(I) went to St. Richard’s Episcopal School here in Indianapolis. I went there and was their director of admissions for about half a year, and then I had the chance to come back to Cathedral as vice president for advancement,” Emery said.

In this new role in the counseling department and as a college counselor, Emery gave some advice to the Class of 2021 for the upcoming semester. He said, “Start doing your research in earnest, thinking about what you want in a school and then utilize online search tools to start identifying colleges. So start getting a list of colleges, start doing your research and try to start at least visiting some this semester. Another thing to do is to start planning to either take, during this semester or right at the end of this semester, the SAT and/or ACT for the first time.” 

Emery added that since he’s new to the counseling role and serving as the director of the department, he’s still learning and getting used to that position. He said, “I think I’ll eventually be really good at that but there’s a little bit of a learning curve there for me.”