Pat Cannon holds a MA in School Counseling, a BA in English, and is a Certified School Administrator. Pat worked at Highland Park High School as a Counselor for 33 years and was the Department Chair for the last 10 of those years. The City of Highland Park honored Pat with the Mayoral Proclamation for her service to HPHS
students and families. She was also honored with the 2010 and 2011 Teacher Recognition Award through the U.S. Department of Education.
Through her multiple roles, Pat has counseled thousands of students and families in the college search while overseeing the counseling and college counseling programs at Highland Park High School. Her knowledge of the college process is based on years of experience working with individual students and their families, program development and oversight, knowledge of high school curriculum, and deep knowledge of the process. She has expertise in working not only with high achieving students looking at the most selective colleges in the country, but also students with learning differences, special interests, and college transfer students. Her patience and understanding of the unique qualities of every student stem from a lifetime of experience and is committed to understanding the unique needs of students on the North Shore.
Pat has visited over 150 colleges throughout the country and is active in the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling (IACAC), and the Independent Education Consultants Association, Professional Member (IECA). She volunteers with College Bound Opportunities and serves on the IACAC Scholarship Committee.
Pat is skilled in working with all students but has an affinity for working with students who struggle with anxiety and depression. She created the Drop-In Center at Highland Park High School, (for student group and individual support), and has presented sessions at numerous national, state, and local conferences in the areas of student assistance, crisis intervention, and running successful support groups. Pat also taught speech and coached Congressional Debate for 33 years. She served as President of the Illinois Congressional Debate Association and holds a Third Diamond Key Award with the National Speech and Debate Association.
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Sandra Gilbert holds a MA in Counseling and a BA and MA in Speech/Communication
English. Sandra worked as a counselor
and college counselor in Deerfield-Highland Park, Stevenson, Palatine-Schaumburg, Evanston, Maine, and Barrington school districts for over 30 years.
Sandra served as President of the Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling (IACAC). She is also a member of the IACAC Past Presidents Committee. Sandra served on the President's Council and Government Relations Committees of the National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC). She is the recipient of the IACAC President's Service Award.
Sandra has presented on a wide variety of college admission topics to students and parents, and at state and national conferences. She remains active in both IACAC and NACAC and is also a Professional Member of IECA (Independent Education Consultants Association) Professional Member. Sandra has additional first-hand experience as an application evaluator for Northwestern University and as an Admissions Officer for Stonehill College, in the Boston area. She served as an Adjunct Professor at DePaul University's College of Education, training graduate students seeking a Masters's Degree in Counseling.
Through her experience, Sandra has helped thousands of students matriculate to college and personally visited over 250 college campuses across the United States and Canada. She works with students presenting diverse needs, from those with learning disabilities to gifted students and athletes, as well as students pursuing the arts. (Sandra created the program Passion for the Arts at Highland Park HS, for students interested in majoring in the Visual and Performing Arts.) She maintains close collegial relationships with college admission and financial aid officers at colleges and universities across the country.
Amy Belstra holds an MA in Counseling Psychology and Counselor Education and a BA in English Literature, with a minor in Music. She was most recently the Postsecondary Counselor at Libertyville High School for 12 years and worked as a school counselor and Postgraduate Coordinator at Cherry Creek High School (CO) for ten years. Before that, she spent 11 years working in college admissions at Alma College (MI) and the University of Denver (CO).
Amy is proud to be recognized as the 2022 recipient of the Illinois Association for Admission Counseling’s Patricia A. Kasowski award (the highest honor given by the organization), the Colorado Council Hall of Fame (2010), and as a Counselor That Changes Lives (2015). An active member of both IACAC and the National Association for College Admission Counseling, Amy currently serves on NACAC’s Nominating Committee and participated in a number of counselor advisory boards, including University of Michigan, University of South Carolina, University of Tennessee, and the National Merit Scholarship Foundation.
Amy is experienced working with a wide variety of students: recruited athletes, performers, academic all-stars, those with IDD, even students who worry their high school choices will define their college options. She firmly believes all students can find their college fit, and be both educated and transformed by the experience.
After a “gap year” post-retirement, Amy is excited to return to the magic of helping students realize their potential in their post-high school life, using her strong listening skills and knowledge amassed over 35 years in the college admission counseling profession.
Students work with their RCC professional, exclusively. We do not outsource our services.