College admissions counselors represent their universities to prospective students. Depending on the type of university, counselors may travel for a portion of their work week while they talk to high school students about the advantages of their college. Expect to likely need a master's degree to work as an admissions counselor and check into whether there are requirements within individual states for additional credentialing. Several qualifications stand out in making an excellent admissions counselor.
Connects with People
Students make a decision about college based on many different factors. At times, a scholarship or selection of majors might dictate the choice of schools, and other times, how close a university is to home may be a deciding point. A potential student may decide to attend a school based solely on how a campus makes him feel. An admissions counselor must be able to connect with people to learn more about them and what drives their decision regarding an education.
Ability to Sell
Part of an admissions counselor's job is to sell the benefits of his university. A productive counselor is an expert on the school's statistics and what careers students can pursue using the majors it offers. Once a counselor taps into the needs of a student, he helps the student along by asking about his final decision. If the student is leaning toward a different university, the counselor reiterates the advantages of his university.
Attention to Detail
Admissions counselors typically have some responsibility in the evaluation of a student's transferred credits. In smaller colleges, they may determine all of the credits that will be allowed at their location. For larger universities, transcript evaluation may be handled by a separate department. Regardless, an admissions counselor possesses enough attention to detail that he is able to look at a transcript and advise a student on the basics of transferring credits.
College admissions counselors spend most of their work days associating with prospects in some fashion. They use various forms of communicating with others, including by phone and email. They are also frequently called upon to give oral presentations and, therefore, should be comfortable with public speaking. Working within the microcosm of a university, counselors interact with all other departments as well, such as financial aid, career services and academic advising.
2016 Salary Information for School and Career Counselors
School and career counselors earned a median annual salary of $54,560 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, school and career counselors earned a 25th percentile salary of $41,650, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $70,930, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 291,700 people were employed in the U.S. as school and career counselors.