As part of this month’s focus on “alternative” careers, PDO is featuring interviews with alums who are in non-practicing jobs. This week, we feature Michelle Rasich, Director of Financial Aid and the Associate Director of College Counseling at Rowland Hall.
1. What is your job title, and how would you summarize what you do?
I am the Director of Financial Aid and the Associate Director of College Counseling at Rowland Hall, an independent K-12 school in Salt Lake City. As the Director of Financial Aid, I create and maintain all Financial Aid Application materials and information for families with children in grades K – 12. The Rowland Hall Financial Aid Committee consists of me, the Head of School and our Chief Financial Officer who together make all financial aid and scholarship decisions. Annually I am responsible for reporting Financial Aid and Scholarship outcomes to our Board of Trustees and accreditation organizations. As the Associate Director of College Counseling, I oversee and participate in the college planning program for grades 9 – 12 which culminates in the processing of college applications in the fall and winter of the student’s senior year. Our program provides a very personal touch with many opportunities for one-on-one or small group meetings with parents and students, and requires close and on-going communications with college admissions professionals across the country.
2. How did you find this job?
I attended law school with the goal of working in Higher Education Administration. My first job out of law school was at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California where I served as the Dean of Residential Life/Assistant Dean of Students for five years. I found this job posting in the Chronicle of Higher Education, which is one of the best resources for finding openings in Higher Education.
3. What do you love about what you do?
I love so much about all of the positions that I have had. I love working with students, being a member of an educational team, programming college planning resources and information, and helping families understand their options in affording a Rowland Hall and/or college education. For the last ten years I’ve been on a K-12 campus and I do love the academic calendar. The quality of life benefits that stem from the academic calendar for me and my family have been invaluable.
4. What did you do before law school?
I attended law school immediately after graduating from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. While at Bowdoin, I worked in the Dean of Students Office which is where my passion for student affairs began.
5. When you came to law school, what did you think you wanted to do?
Upon the advice of the Dean of Students at Bowdoin College, I attended law school with the intent of pursuing a career in high education administration. I selected law courses that had any relevance to students and/or education and choose other courses with the goal of developing my critical reading, research, and writing skills—all skills that I’ve utilized every day of my career.
6. Did you ever practice law on behalf of clients? If you did, do you use that experience in your current work/does it help you in any way?
I have not.
7. Do you ever wish you were practicing law? Why or why not.
I do not imagine a time in my future when I’d practice law. I love the work that I’ve done over the past 20 years and see myself always working in education administration positions.
8. What advice do you have for law students (class selection, job searching, life)?
Think about the skills that you’ve honed during your law school years and creatively apply the skills to a career/field that you are interested in. What field wouldn’t want highly educated individuals with these sharply polished skills? Apply, apply, apply! You won’t know the directions that your degree will take you or the opportunities available if you don’t apply.