The director of admissions, sometimes known as the dean of admissions, is a senior administrative post at a university, college or school. Many specialist schools, such as drama and music colleges, also employ people in this role. Students are the life blood of any educational institution, so the admissions department plays a vital role in attracting applications and selecting the right students for the school. If you are the admissions director, expect to be part sales and marketing director and part matchmaker.
The admissions director must have a strategy to attract applications and admit students to the university or college she represents. Together with faculty and other administrators, you would set admissions criteria and stay on top of assessing applications. If your institution holds interviews or auditions, you have to coordinate them. Financial aid is an important consideration for families who are sending children to college. So, your staff works closely with the financial aid department to ensure that the students you want can afford to do so. The admissions director leads a team of admissions counselors, assistant and associate directors and administrative staff. So, you would also have line management duties.
While, in theory, it is not essential to have a degree to become a dean of admissions, most people who hold the job are college graduates -- often of the school that employs them. Typical majors include marketing and human resources. You were a student yourself, and that makes you aware of the concerns of students and their families as they look at you college. This understanding and experience is as important as academic qualifications.
Most admissions directors started their careers as admissions counselors, also known as "Road Runners." These are junior employees who travel to career fairs and make high school visits to "sell" their institution and attract applicants. They often get into the job because they are the type of people who volunteered to welcome new students to their own colleges or universities. It helps to be people-focused and enthusiastic about your school. The career path after being an admissions counselor leads to assistant director, associate director and then director of admissions.
The admissions director is an ambassador. You must be a good communicator with people at all levels, from high school students to senior academics. As a senior administrative manager, you must have the gravitas to negotiate with the leadership team and gain support for your strategies. In addition, as you will typically lead an admissions team, you must be a good line manager, able to motivate and support your staff.
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