Faces of Illinois: Meet Mayra!

How goes it, Illini and friends?

Check out my latest interview with Mayra, an admissions counselor! You can follow my introduction of counselors through the hashtag #FacesofILLINOIS on Facebook and Twitter. (Checking out our Instagram is always a good idea, too!)

Name: Mayra

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Why did you become a college counselor?

I chose to become a college counselor because I was a first-generation college student, and I know the difference that one person can make in this process. Illinois is a wonderful place to work because every counselor on our staff shares the same enthusiasm to assist all students in understanding the college application and admissions process.

How would you describe Illinois students?

I would say they are wonderful, innovative, committed, and always willing to help. What really distinguishes Illinois students, however, are their unparalleled leadership skills. I should state that I am biased because I was once an Illinois student.

Do you have any role models?

My role models are my parents. They had to struggle very hard to adjust to the challenges of coming to a new country all for the purpose of giving their children an opportunity to succeed. Their sacrifices were never about personal gain—rather, to give us a chance to grow through an education.

What’s the worst piece of advice someone has ever given you?

I was told by someone not to apply to Illinois because of my ACT score. As someone who reviews applications, I see that my merits were reviewed in a holistic way and not just based on a test score.

How do you handle stress?

There are circumstances that may not be under your control, but by planning ahead, you can alleviate a lot of stress. Creating to-do lists, managing your time, and having backup plans can be helpful. I also always encourage self-care as a matter of principle. Make sure you carve out some time to do the things you love.

What’s one thing you absolutely love about Illinois?

The squirrels. Especially the sassy ones.

What’s your favorite place to eat on campus? 

Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first. My favorite places for desserts are Mirabelle in Urbana and Coco Mero in Champaign.

Do you listen to anything in particular while working?

Frank Ocean’s new album on repeat all day.

How long have you lived in C-U?

I actually don’t live in C-U. It is a very little known fact, but we have an Undergraduate Admissions office in Chicago across the street from the Sear’s (Willis) Tower! We welcome all families and students to come and visit us on the 19th floor of the Illini Center.

What reality show would you like to be a part of?

I don’t know if it counts as a reality show as much as a game show, but I would LOVE to be on America Ninja Warrior. I would probably also have to start training … soon.

Mayra wingin' it.

Mayra just wingin’ it.


Mayra's more serious side!

Mayra’s more serious side!

Have any questions for Mayra? Leave them below!

Squirreling out,



Please note that comments close after 90 days.

Joseph Davidson

September 7, 2016, 11:09 am

I have been to the U of IL admissions office in Urbana-Champaign, but I didn’t know about your Chicago location.Do you recommend making an appointment if a student would like to stop by with a few questions? Thanks.



September 7, 2016, 1:56 pm

Hi Joseph! Yes, if you have questions and would like to talk to a counselor in person without coming to Urbana-Champaign, you’re more than welcome to make an appointment at our Chicago Satellite Office. You can call them at 217-333-0313.