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Jake is currently pursuing his masters at CSUN for College Counseling.

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"Don’t rush through undergrad, despite what others may tell you. If you are in the financial position to spend more than two years at a university, I encourage you to do so."

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Jake Ortiz
Class of 2015



My career roadmap has been all over the place.

Graduating from COC and deciding to go for my BA at UC Irvine. I had not set out to earn a bachelor’s degree, but found a pathway to transfer from COC to UCI with guaranteed admittance (ask your counselor about TAG).

Working as a Peer Academic Advisor at UCI. This opportunity made me realize how much I loved working with students, and how I would be very happy to make a living doing so.

Joining UC Irvine’s Global Service Scholar program. This service program provided me with opportunities to learn about empathy, as well as an introduction to “helping” professions. I was able to travel around the world to serve others, and learn about the ramifications of volunteer tourism.

Abandoning my previous career plans. I had not set out to be a counselor, but was able to research and apply to a counseling graduate program shortly after abandoning my previous aspiration. I looked into alternative careers, but was fortunate to be admitted on my first application.

Attending professional conferences such as UC Riverside’s Queer and Trans People of Color Conference. This sincerely helped me understand the ways in which I can use my field to advocate for others.

Working as a Counseling Graduate Assistant at College of the Canyons. From August 2019-June 2020, I worked as an assistant in the Counseling Department at COC. This helped me strengthen many connections and better understand the job field in student affairs.

In Spring 2021, I will graduate from my Master's in Counseling at CSUN, with an emphasis in College Counseling and Student Services.



Here are my extracurriculars relevant to this pathway


  • Spending lots of time with friends

  • Taking Human Rights with Dr. Walker

  • Working at Regal cinemas in town


  • Working as a Peer Academic Advisor for a department on campus at UC Irvine

  • Participating in the Global Service Scholar program at UC Irvine.

  • Appointed as a senator in Associated Students for my department at CSUN.


What I'm currently doing/hope to do

I am currently enrolled in a Master’s in Counseling program at CSUN, with an emphasis in College Counseling and Student Services. Upon writing this, I have one year left in this program (which means I’ll graduate in Spring 2021). Following graduation, I intend to apply for student services positions at four-year universities across California. I am particularly interested in working in Student Life, which handles primarily non-academic offices on campuses such as Cultural Centers, Residential Services, Student Recreation Centers, Wellness Centers, and many others. I enjoy this type of work because I love connecting with students. I subscribe to Glenn Omatsu’s tenets of Mentoring on the Run, which encourage Student Affairs Professionals to look at every interaction with a student as an opportunity to facilitate their growth and development. If you are interested in learning more about careers in Student Affairs, feel free to reach out to me! Or, once you are on a college campus (even COC!) just look around at the people who are able to make a living by working there.


How to maximize my time in high school?

  • Advice #1: Build lasting friendships at AOC, and enjoy your time here. Develop your skills in empathy by listening wholeheartedly to your friends and family.

  • Advice #2:  Practice mindfulness. This is something I still struggle with, but I encourage you to look into mindfulness and try to implement it in whatever ways you feel comfortable doing so. It is an incredibly healthy habit to form early on.

  • Advice #3: Advocate. Open your mind to different parts of the world. Speak with your teachers about their perspectives on world conflicts and social movements. Then, do your own research on these things to understand as many sides as possible. Find something you care about and advocate for it.

  • Advice #4: If you are in a position to do so, I encourage you to work, at least during your summers. It is especially good to do service work, such as retail or other. This will truly challenge your empathy, but will help you grow as a leader and professional.

  • Advice #5: Don’t rush through undergrad, despite what others may tell you. If you are in the financial position to spend more than two years at a university, I encourage you to do so. Not only will you develop more connections with professionals who can assist you later in your career, you will have a better understanding of what college life is really like for students.

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