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How to Become a College Admissions Officer

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If you enjoyed the college experience, a job as an admissions officer may be fulfilling, as it allows you to pass on that experience to others. A job in admissions empowers you to help young people make a crucial life decision and navigate the transition from high school to college. This job also enables you to remain connected to the education environment and enjoy the vibrant culture of campus life throughout your career.

Job Overview

As an admissions officer, your essential job responsibilities include representing the college to prospective students, their families and the public. You will also collaborate with student leadership at your college to plan recruiting events and work to retain students. Travel is a big part of the job, as you must forge relationships with high school and community college guidance counselors and visit their campuses to make presentations. Educating students and parents on admissions criteria and coaching them through the application process figure prominently as well. You will also review and evaluate applications and be responsible for making admission decisions.

Essential Character Traits for Job Success

A job in admissions is a job for the quintessential people person. You will thrive in the position if you genuinely like people and enjoy helping them meet their goals. An outgoing personality and the ability to communicate with individuals of diverse backgrounds are essential as well. You will need to be articulate, have a professional demeanor and be comfortable with public speaking. You will also need to be organized, self-motivated and driven to meet enrollment goals.

Education and Skills

A bachelor’s degree is required to be considered for college admissions officer positions. While there are no specific degree programs for admissions professionals, study in a relevant field such as education, social work or marketing could give an applicant an advantage. Interpersonal skills are the top priority for success, but computer skills figure highly as well. You must have sufficient computer skills to create and maintain a database of enrollment prospects and keep student records. Strong writing skills are essential to create marketing materials such as brochures and presentations.

Gaining the Edge

A number of factors can give you a competitive advantage in landing an admissions officer job. A master’s degree in a related field and proficiency in a foreign language are high on the list. Relevant practical experience is desirable as well. Holding an office in student government, serving as a residential assistant in your dorm or working in student services while in college will gain you the edge over other applicants.

Postsecondary Education Administrators salary

  • Top 10% Annual Salary: More than $199,400 ($95.87/hour)
  • Median Annual Salary: $97,500 ($46.88/hour)
  • Bottom 10% Annual Salary: Less than $56,310 ($27.07/hour)

Tina Richey Swanson earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications and began her career as an advertising copywriter. She has worked as a journalist, screenwriter and public relations writer. Her current writing focuses on careers, education, the entertainment industry and health and wellness topics.

Photo Credits

James Woodson/Digital Vision/Getty Images