Karen Crowley, Self-Discovery: What I Want v. Who I Am

The Path to Higher Ed is a SchooLinks hosted podcast community that explores trending topics and issues in the area of college and career readiness. Our featured guests are pushing education forward by constantly learning from, innovating and applying their college and career readiness practices. Listen to gain their insights and apply them to your own college and career readiness practices.



In this episode, we speak with Karen Crowley, Director of College Counseling at Portledge School. She is able to use her extensive background working in college admissions to inform her perspective on counseling the students at Portledge. This episode dives into the importance of self-discovery on a student’s path to college. Listen in as Karen discusses the juxtaposition of “what I want” versus “who I am” when determining right fit colleges.



About Karen Crowley


Karen Crowley began her admissions career at Boston University. She then served at the University of Pennsylvania as a Senior Admissions Officer where she was responsible for recruitment, selection and enrollment of students from the Long Island area. Most recently, she has worked at the Dalton School in Manhattan as both the Associate Director of College Counseling and the Assistant High School Director, and as the General Manager and Director of College Counseling at College Coach. She has been a member of the National Association of College Admissions Counseling, the College Board, the New England Association of College Admissions Counselors and the New York Association of College Admissions Counselors.


Karen has a Bachelor of Arts in Art History with a focus in American Studies from Boston University, and a Master of Arts from Teacher’s College at Columbia University in Sociology and Education. She currently serves as Director of College Counseling at the Portledge School.



About Portledge School


In May 1965, the trustees of the Alice K. Coffin Fund, Inc. gave 63 acres of the Alice S. Coffin estate, Portledge, and all the buildings on this land, to the adjoining Miss Stoddart’s School for Very Little People for the purpose of establishing a coeducational college preparatory day school.


Portledge found its early mission aiming at “providing an atmosphere of warmth and friendliness where the joy of learning and excitement of discovery are encouraged, shared and emphasized equally with the acquisition of knowledge, academic skills and the rigor of intellectual discipline.” The main residence was renovated during the summer, and Portledge School opened in September under the guidance of Headmistress Mary F. Jonathan with 100 children in nursery, kindergarten, first and second grades. A grade was added each year until the first senior class graduated in 1976.


At present, Portledge is a community of more than 460 students in pre-nursery through twelfth grade. Through all three divisions Portledge prides itself on strong student-teacher relationships, awareness of the development of young children and adolescents, and the structure and support that enable students to take risks and build confidence to meet high expectations of scholarship and citizenship. Against this backdrop, the school is continually re-examining and refining its programs to meet the needs of its families.



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