College and Career Center Specialist Lisa Neumaier welcomes students for free college counseling


Ezra Thaler

Lisa Neumaier works from her desk, where she assists students with their college application process.

Archie Williams offers various free programs to assist students with college concerns; especially the College and Career Center. Its services are similar to the support of a private college counselor, with a few differences. 

Archie Williams College and Career Specialist Lisa Neumaier has friends in the private college counseling profession. While she respects the work they do, Neumaier feels she can provide the same assistance to students.

“I’ve had students who come meet with me every single week of their senior year, and we talk about [their] next steps… [I] help organize what they should do based on those deadlines,” Neumaier said. “I can do similar things [as a private college counselor]. It’s just the student has to take the initiative to come walk in here and make an appointment with me. Some students aren’t as diligent about doing that.”

In recent years, Neumaier noticed a spike in students using private college counselors. She feels this is a domino effect. 

 “It’s not the students who are making those decisions to have a private college counselor; it’s their parents. I think parents, particularly in a county like this, were influenced by what other parents are doing,” Neumaier said.

Although Neumaier feels she can assist students in the same concerns as private college counselors, she acknowledges that the hours of one-on-one counseling are beneficial for some students. Some students may be more inclined to stay on track with their college application process if their parents are paying for it to happen.

“They have the luxury of having all day long to research colleges while they’re on the treadmill. I have long meetings with students, but I have a lot of different students that I have to meet with so I can’t give them that full-time that [private counselors] can give. I do still feel that we can provide all the services, between me and the counselors… that a private college counselor does,” Neumaier said. 

While Neumaier respects most private college counselors, she has heard of some counseler’s questionable practices.

“It appears that some [private college counselors] put too many reach schools on people’s lists. The other thing I’ve heard is sometimes private college counselors will take credit for the students getting into those schools. It’s the student who gets themselves admitted to college, not me or a private college counselor,” Neumaier said.

Neumaier supports families who crave the consistency of a private college counselor, but her door is always open for students who would like similar assistance free of charge.