Laura O’Neill: Former Admissions Officer Guides Class of 23’


Maddox Wade

College and Career Readiness: Volunteer College Counselor Laura O’Neill helps students gear up for the upcoming season of college applications and decisions.

Campus tours, college applications, and homework-filled late nights culminate in the recipe for senior year. The stress of planning one’s future while balancing a social and academic life can seem impossible. However, Dubs have nothing to fear, thanks to their new volunteer College Advisor Laura O’Neill. Swooping in the save upper-level students from the perils of Common App, O’Neill promises steady guidance and an open door.

After graduating from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, O’Neill worked at Accenture in the Human Resources (HR) department. An excellent job opportunity, the position allowed her to gain experience in various working environments and find positions she would be most adept at. Several years later, O’Neill moved to Atlanta and began to work at Piedmont Hospital in HR. She switched to part-time after the arrival of her three children before signing on as an Admissions Officer at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). “As students, it’s valuable to hear from someone that has worked directly at a college,” said senior Virginia Brewer. “We all trust her advice and respect her greatly.”

O’Neill began as a seasonal employee at Georgia Tech before working full-time for the next nine years, citing the university as a highly collaborative workspace. She enjoyed reading each essay with a fellow officer and discussing potential admissions with her team. However, Covid threatened the fulfillment she had received from her in-person position. As quarantine hit, it moved to remote and remained that way through 2021. She found herself disconnected from the work environment she loved and stuck behind a computer screen every day. “Covid took away the intimacy of working at Georgia Tech,” said O’Neill. “After my work environment didn’t change last year, I knew it was time to turn the page.”

Now, O’Neill can be found in the College and Career Center three days a week, helping students attain admittance into their dream schools. After her daughter, Isabella, graduated from North with the class of ’22, O’Neill felt that giving back to the community that had helped her daughter was an excellent way to reenter the college field. “So far, it’s been a nice change to be on the other side of college applications and return to in-person connections,” said O’Neill. “I always give students my number or email, and receiving updates with acceptances has been incredibly fulfilling.”

At North, O’Neill’s focus has been on helping students tell a story with the limited slots on their activity sheets. After years of experience, she understands better than any of the applications that will draw a reader’s eye. Above all, she wants students to realize that college should be fun and not stressful. She says there is no one perfect college fit for a student; if you don’t get into your dream college, you can chase your dreams at another school. “Working with Ms. O’Neill has brought me so much peace of mind throughout this process,” said senior Liza Fagin. “I know I’m in good hands and will end up where I need to be.”