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College Counseling


Welcome to La Jolla Country Day School (LJCDS) College Counseling. We meet our students where they are and take them where they want to go. The LJCDS college counseling team strives to educate, guide and support students and their families through the college search and application process. Our ultimate goal is for students to attend a college or university where they will be successful and be well-equipped to continue that success in life.
Our Belief
We believe students should own their college admissions process and parents should be well-informed about their child’s progress. Our college counseling team is available and accessible throughout the process. We emphasize student independence, self-reliance and community engagement, so they may gain a greater understanding of who they are. We do this by offering a student-centered, individualized program allowing students to identify schools that align with their developing values. We have a supportive team approach that is appropriate to each student’s developmental stage and grade level.

We meet regularly with students and parents, host grade-level informational get-togethers, provide weekly communications, essay workshops, college fairs and bring upwards of 200 college admissions representatives to campus each fall.

Our juniors and seniors participate in a seminar program during their junior and senior years that provides them a deeper understanding of the application process. During the fall of each year, our juniors participate in college trips across the country where they visit a variety of colleges and universities.

Our Team
We have a unique college counseling team. Our college counselors have 50+ years of combined experience working in college admissions for various universities. From personal experience, they know what matters to college admission committees and how students can present a robust college application. Our counselors are recognized experts in the college counseling profession and are regularly asked to present at international, national and regional professional conferences.
We use a two-part college essay preparation program. Rising seniors are provided opportunities and assistance to brainstorm and begin work on their college essays when school gets out at the end of junior year. After they have started this work, they may meet with our college essay team member, a professional writer, who works one-on-one with our seniors as they develop and fine-tune their college application personal statement and essays.  
Finally, our athletic liaison to college counseling assists parents and students with the complex college-athlete recruiting process and associated college admission questions. She can use her experience coaching student-athletes and her extensive network of college coach contacts to guide our students through a successful recruiting process. She has developed a partnership with SportsForce, a web-based promotional tool for student-athletes, which allows our students to create an online portfolio accessible to college coaches throughout the country.
We have a strong, caring team that will help position your child well once they are LJCDS graduates. We welcome you to meet with us to discuss your child’s future.

Meet the Team

List of 5 members.

  • Photo of Damien Fatongia

    Damien Fatongia 

    Managing Director of College Counseling
    (858) 453-3440 x127
  • Photo of Valencia Valentine Hamman

    Valencia Valentine Hamman 

    Co-Director of College Counseling
    (858) 453-3440 x145
  • Photo of Terri Bamford

    Terri Bamford 

    Athletic Liaison - College Counseling; Athletic Transportation Coord; Women's Basketball Coach
    (858) 453-3440 x233
  • Photo of Tiana Kelly

    Tiana Kelly 

    College Counselor
    (858) 453-3440 x214
  • Photo of May Vukotich

    May Vukotich 

    College Counseling Administrative Assistant
    (858) 453-3440 x308

La Jolla Country Day School

9490 Genesee Avenue
La Jolla, CA 92037

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