By. Athena Skoufias('18)
With the start of a new and exciting school year, the Bullis community is thrilled to welcome Philip Weisgold to our campus. Mr. Weisgold joined the Bullis Community in the early summer of 2017 as the new Assistant Director of College Counseling and has an office in the college counseling suite on the 1st level of North Hall.
Prior to coming to Bullis, Mr. Weisgold had years of practice in the college admission scene, working at Muhlenberg College for five years as an Assistant Director, Senior Director, and Associate Director of Admissions and Financial Aid. Although he is new to the role of being a college counselor, Mr. Weisgold is excited and enthusiastic about helping our Bullis seniors navigate through the college application experience.
As a teenager who was born and raised in Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania, Mr. Weisgold did not know what he wanted to do for a living, but he always thought that he would attend a big name university. His interest with colleges at a young age even inspired him to pitch the idea to have his Bar Mitzvah theme to be about colleges and universities, where each table would be a specific school such as Ivy League Schools. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. But as a high school senior, Mr. Weisgold started to familiarize himself with smaller, liberal arts colleges (instead of big name schools) that would accommodate, and not restrict, his undecided major. Out of the 15 schools that Mr. Weisgold visited while searching for schools, he ended up applying early decision to the school he first visited: Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania, where he attended college for four years. After graduating from Muhlenberg, Mr. Weisgold worked in several positions at the Muhlenberg Admissions and Financial Aid desk for five years.
While working in admissions for Muhlenberg College, Mr. Weisgold’s job required him to visit high schools in certain areas to recruit perspective students. “Travel season”, as Mr. Weisgold explained it to be, is a 6 to 8 week trip in the Fall where colleges send the admissions representatives to high schools in their designated “territory” of interests, in hopes to promote the school to prospective students. While working for Muhlenberg, Mr. Weisgold’s territory included the DC area, Virginia, and Maryland. During his five travel seasons, Mr. Weisgold visited Bullis every year and became a familiar face to the college counselors, including Ms. Kittel. Mr. Weisgold said that every time he visited Bullis “everybody was so friendly and welcoming”.
Around his fifth year of working for Muhlenberg, he decided that he wanted to start a new employment direction, but one that still involved an interaction with students and the college process.
By becoming a college counselor, Mr. Weisgold says he is no longer confined to “wanting kids to pick Muhlenberg, but instead helping kids decide where they want to go” and helping them travel through their changing lists of schools until they reach the perfect fit. Mr. Weisgold was attracted to Bullis for a number of reasons, said Weisgold, “its proximity to Washington, DC, it is a coed school, no religious affiliations, its independent school vibe, and its strong emphasis on academics, athletics, and arts”.
Though Mr. Weisgold isn’t new to the college application process, this is his first year working on the high school side, and can understand why some students would be apprehensive about having a first-year college counselor. His advice: “Give me the chance to get to know you and I’ll do the same you. If we get the chance to get to know each other, the more prepared I am to advocate for the student to their colleges.” Mr. Weisgold has an open door policy and is always ready to listen to students about their days, concerns, struggles, and anything else. He wants students to be comfortable and trusting around him and his work instead of adding more stress and anxiety onto their college application experience.
When Mr. Weisgold isn’t working on students’ essays or sending transcripts, he is usually on the hunt for cool, trendy restaurants. “If anyone reading this article has any good sushi, Chinese, and American diner restaurant recommendations please let me know,” said Mr. Weisgold. He can also be found texting, Snapchatting, face timing, or hanging out with friends, cooking, and, like all reasonable humans, watching reality TV shows. His favorite shows include Big Brother, The Challenge, and all of the Real Housewives shows. In the future, Mr. Weisgold believes that he might go back to school to receive his graduate degree in counseling, but for now he is determined to help Bullis students find their home for the next four years.
“I want students to know that I am here to help and not make you feel bad about yourself. I really want to empower students and make them feel good about what they’re doing. I also want the Bullis community to be proud of our seniors and where they go,” said Mr. Weisgold.