Guiding Collaboration with College Counselors

By LeeAnne Lavender, PeerSphere Storyteller

Pearl Noh, one of two hosts of the new PeerSphere peer learning community (PLC) for college counselors, stands out because of her commitment to student success and her rich background in counseling. Her first online session as a PLC host not only attracted a significant audience but also created a positive and exciting launch for the online counseling community.

Pearl has been at Nanjing International School (NIS) for three years, where her primary focus is college counseling. She has a unique understanding of the needs of the Third-Culture Kids (TCKs) who make up a significant part of the NIS community.

These students, many of whom are enrolled in the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) and Diploma Programme (DP), often face challenges when transitioning to universities abroad. Some thrive in their new environments, while others find the experience different from their expectations.

“It’s so important to identify students’ strengths and passions to find the right fit among thousands of universities worldwide,” says Pearl.

Pearl brings this mindset and enthusiasm to her PeerSphere PLC, which was evident in the first online session in September. Almost 30 people are registered for the PLC, and about half of those people attended the first session to meet each other, get to know Pearl and her co-host John Liu (an experienced college counselor and Head of Pastoral Care for YCYW China), and contribute to ideation for future sessions. The feedback Pearl received from the first session was overwhelmingly positive and encouraging.

“On the call, a fellow counselor who had attended the EARCOS counselors’ conference in Bangkok recognized me and said that the EARCOS session I led had provided him with a fresh perspective,” says Pearl. “It was so nice to hear that, and also connect with this person again in the PeerSphere community!”

During the inaugural session, Pearl shared a best practice related to Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) and its alignment with her school’s mission and vision. She also delved into her personal professional goal of creating a more accessible college counseling program, especially for students with learning disabilities.

“Life is about making connections, like joining dots,” says Pearl, who is excited about the connections established at the start of this year’s PeerSphere PLC journey and the many collaborations that lay ahead.

Pearl in her office at NIS and with the class of 2023.

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