Working in the field of education administration is one way of staying involved in the academic community without being a student or a teacher. Administration affords you the opportunity to work hands-on with both students and faculty to cultivate whatever academic environment you desire. Working as a college admission officer is just one of many ways to enter this field, and it is one that allows you to shape the futures of young people preparing to enroll in college.
College admissions officers go through applications for potential students. This job is more complex, however, than simply reviewing transcripts and test scores. It also includes evaluating extracurricular activities, personal essays and academic interests. While each college applicant hopes to have something to offer the university to which she has applied, the admissions officer must also decide if the university has something to offer its applicants. A student may have excellent academic records and still be unsuited for a particular school---it is therefore the admissions officer's duty to make routine judgement calls throughout the admissions process.
Education and Skills
Admissions officers generally hold bachelor's degrees---unlike higher-profile administrative jobs, they do not necessarily need to have a doctorate or any special license. They do, however, need to be skilled with operating computers and databases. This enables them to monitor sets of data regarding admissions, navigate course catalogs, and process inquiries from prospective students and other administrators.
Admissions officers do not necessarily make as much money as higher-profile administrative professionals, but the specific amount varies between institutions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, admissions officers are comparable in credentials to student activities directors, who made a median salary of $55,000 during the 2008-2009 school year.
Benefits for administrators like admissions officers are typically good, including several weeks of vacation each year and competitive health care options. Employers may also offer free tuition to admissions officers and their families. Some universities offer other perks, such as discounted tickets to athletic events or even reimbursement for child adoption costs.
Because of the competitive nature of academia, administrators must be involved in the academic community not only within their own schools, but on a larger scale, as well. Institutions like the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) are a way for admissions officers to monitor nationwide college admissions trends and more. It is an admissions officer's responsibility to keep himself informed and active within the academic community.
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