People who work in higher education are surrounded by big ideas, youthful energy, diversity and discovery — an enviable professional atmosphere. And the field of student services is growing. BLAH BLAH BLAH
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “postsecondary educational administration” is projected to grow 15 percent between 2012 and 2022, due to rising enrollment numbers. The employment category is a broad one that includes positions with direct student contact, such as in residence life, student activities, and multicultural programming, along with as administrative positions like deans and provosts.
If you think a career in higher ed could be your calling, here are six student services fields to consider.
Student life. Advisors supervise campus clubs, guide students through leadership development exercises, and help coordinate all-campus events like concerts and community service days.
Residence life. If you lived on campus in college — especially if you were a student leader like a resident advisor — you may have the experience to become a hall director. These professionals make sure campus residences are safe and positive places to live by mentoring students, resolving emergencies, and coordinating social and educational programs.
International education. Advisors help students choose the study abroad program that’s the best fit and prepare for their travels. They also assist incoming students from other countries with documents and cultural adaptation.
Student conduct. Professionals in the Dean of Students office handle disciplinary infractions and help students make better decisions.
Admission and enrollment management. This department decides how many students need to be admitted to fill the college’s incoming class and how to allocate financial aid. Admission officers often travel extensively to share information about their university with prospective students. They also evaluate admission applications and help admitted students navigate the financial aid process.
K-12 college readiness. The national emphasis on access to college for all students — especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds — means some middle and high schools have positions dedicated to college awareness and preparation.
Entry-level positions generally require a master’s degree, but positions are always opening, says Rich Parsells, director of the Master of Arts in College Student Development program at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. People move to a different field of student services or are promoted into administrative positions, opening opportunities for new professionals. “The more you’re willing to keep your options open — being flexible about the type of job, and being willing to relocate — the higher your probability of landing a position,” he says.
The part-time weekend Master of Arts in College Student Development program, which is completed in two years, at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, prepares graduates for careers to help college students reach their full potential.
Robyn Ross is a freelance writer.
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