New Associate Director of College Counseling describes a winding road to his field.
Instead, his passion for debate led him gave him aspirations to be a lawyer. But as the time to decide where he would devote his studies drew nearer, the economic climate demanded fewer lawyers. He talked with several lawyers and found that most, if they were given the chance, would “not do it over again.”
Mr. Chris La Tempa was raised in a small town in northern New Jersey and attended a small public school. When it was time for him to choose his destination for higher level education, an “absolute love for dynamic and engaging discussions” drove him towards Lafayette College.
Ultimately, he chose to major in American Studies with a concentration in social justice and a minor in psychology. Upon graduating Lafayette, he found himself on the path to a secure, well paying job in retail.
“I hated it. Retail just wasn’t for me,” he said.
La Tempa’s following career move was all about “being in the right place at the right time.” He returned to Lafayette to visit a friend working for admissions, and met a woman putting in her two-weeks notice that same afternoon.
One thing led to another, and suddenly he was filling this woman’s shoes in college admissions, even with his limited knowledge of what admissions was.
“I really enjoyed speaking about my experience and getting other students excited for college, because I think it’s a phenomenal growth experience,” he said.
His tenure at Lafayette lasted for three years.
Seeking more engagement with students and an opportunity to advocate for their cause, La Tempa turned to high school college counseling and landed a job at Salesianum School in Wilmington, Delaware. He found being involved in the application process proved much more rewarding than the admission side.
Unfortunately, his workload involved being responsible for over 90 students, and he began to feel that his work was being spread too thin.
“What drew me to Malvern was a very strong sense of community,” he said. “I see a lot of collaboration among faculty and staff and the administration here, which I think is very powerful.”
Malvern provided an opportunity to lessen his case load and subsequently increase his time getting to know his students better. With only 37 students under his watch, La Tempa is able to understand his students at a much deeper level.
“I enjoy building that rapport with students, and I think Malvern’s culture certainly lends itself to building those connections between students and faculty,” he said.
While most of his efforts are devoted to his work, La Tempa does find time to explore other passions. “I love to golf,” he said. “I was a caddy in college, so that was probably the peak of my golfing career given how frequently I got to go out.”
But if there was one thing La Tempa wanted to emphasize it is this:
“I love deep philosophical discussions about all sorts of things.” He asks for students who have questions about culture and philosophy to “pop in and throw some knowledge at me.” He says his door will always be open.