Naomi Varnis

  • Associate Director of Admissions


  • A.B., Africana studies, Brown University 

  • M.A., sociology and education, Teachers College, Columbia University


I first stumbled into college admissions by getting involved with my alma mater’s admitted students events in 2012. As a student from one of the nation’s largest states (Texas) going to college in the nation’s smallest (Rhode Island) without attending events for admitted students, I was so excited to get to know students from all over the world and help them decide for themselves what college would be the best fit for them — and I still am today! 

After graduating from college, I moved to New York City and dove into working as an admissions officer. Over the course of traveling to meet students and families, reading applications, and advocating for college access, I found that there was space for all of my interests — politics, history, social justice, keeping up with social media trends and what the teens are into — in college admissions. Earning my masters in sociology and education at Teachers College deepened my passion for understanding students, their pathways, and the landscape that informs education. 

While working with high school students as a college counselor, I developed a deep respect for the thinking, growth, vulnerability, and dreaming that students undergo in the college search process. It’s hard, and sometimes stressful, but hopefully it’s also exciting and empowering! I’m a believer in the power of education to make change and there are few places that exemplify that in the way Oberlin does with the close-knit, compassionate community here. Through all of this, don’t lose sight of the big picture — you’re going to college to learn, explore, invest in yourself, and have some fun! Take a deep breath and know we’re here if you have any questions at all.