Joan Canzone

Joan Canzone

Admissions Counselor

“I’ve traveled to dozens and dozens of colleges, all over the world, and I always take pictures,” says Joan Canzone, senior counselor at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California. When she meets with high school students, she often has a slideshow handy. “I love to bring it out and walk kids through the photos,” she says. “When they see me excited about a school, then they feel it, too.”

It’s that sense of contagious excitement that makes Canzone truly love what she does. Although she’s worked in various parts of school administration, and at all grade levels, she believes her talents are best used serving teens at this age. Canzone can relate to them — and she can get them to relate to her as well, she says. In her current role at Notre Dame, she handles personal, academic and college counseling. “I’m not just a college counselor by day — I’m all three at my school,” she says. “I help students find themselves.”

It’s a role she didn’t experience in her own life. Canzone, born and raised in New York City, went to Herbert H. Lehman High School in the Bronx — a huge public school, some 4,000 students strong. At the time, the school had one college counselor — who Canzone never met. Coming from such a dense urban area, with few resources, and with parents who had no college education of their own, she says going to the local college was just assumed. She was a high-achieving student in a school that wasn’t so high-achieving. “And now I have two master’s degrees,” she says. “I did it.”

I’m not just a college counselor by day — I’m all three at my school.  I help students find themselves.”

Canzone sees her role as helping students similar to her, at that age, to dream as big as their talent allows. For the group of 11 scholars she worked with in summer 2018, she is that constant voice of encouragement. “The one-on-one sessions were priceless,” says Canzone. “By the second and third week, they were really opening up.”

Canzone is there for the practical matters as well — fine-tuning essays, advising on new majors, helping with lists of dream schools. “I tell students every day, a lot of the stress of the process comes from the unknown,” she says. “My job is to help you understand the process, break it down and manage it together, step by step.”

To future Scholars: “Your family, your friends, your counselors, we can suggest things to you that you’d be great for, but only you truly know what makes you happy.”