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Assistant directors play a key role in the success of a college admissions office, and an applicant’s cover letter should reflect a candidate’s highly specialized experience in the field of higher education. College admissions is a stressful and numbers-driven field, so an applicant’s cover letter should concisely reflect her commitment to helping the institution grow.
Since admissions requires a customer service approach, a cover letter should be personally addressed to whomever is in charge of hiring for the position. Avoid using “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam.” Although the director of admissions and vice president of admissions are the most common hiring managers for an assistant director position, colleges typically have an online directory of admissions administrators and staff members that applicants can reference.
An applicant should introduce herself briefly, state her interest and provide a concise overview of relevant experience. For example, “I was excited to read your posting for an assistant director position at X College. I have spent the past five years as an assistant director at Y University, and am excited about the opportunity to become part of the tightly knit liberal arts community at X.” By citing an observation or fact about the institution, an applicant can make a connection with the reader, and show she has done her research.
Since admissions is a competitive, goal-oriented field, applicants should mention specific achievements instead of glossing over the basics. Instead of restating information from a resume -- education and work history -- highlight key responsibilities and achievements such as successful recruiting, budgeting and reporting. A good example is, “Last fall I was responsible for a territory of 14 states, and welcomed over 310 students to campus in August. I exceeded my territory goals by 28 percent, and was directly responsible for coordinating all campus events for the admissions office.”
First, thank your reader for her time and attention. Briefly reiterate your interest in the position, and include an observation about the institution’s mission or vision, i.e., “I look forward to learning more about X College, and hope we can discuss ways I can help X grow in its mission to place service above self.” Mention any additional documents you’re sending with the cover letter, such as a resume or list of references. It can also be helpful to list other forms of contact under your signature (if you’re not using personal letterhead) such as an email address or alternate phone number. Finally, always sign in ink above your typed name.
Based in Phoenix, Carlyn Cole has been writing for the professional services industry since 2006. She has worked for “West Branch Literary Magazine,” and was also awarded a Creative Writing Fellowship in 2006. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing from Bucknell University.
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