How to Become an Admissions Counselor

Ginger Abbot

Mar 3, 2022

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Becoming an admissions counselor allows you to connect with prospective students. You also help determine which students are the best fit for the college. If this sounds like your dream career, here is a guide on how to become an admissions counselor. 

Responsibilities and Qualities of an Admissions Counselor

An admissions counselor’s role is to connect prospective students with the college. They conduct interviews and evaluate college applications. They also collaborate with other departments to help manage enrollment. Along with assessing students, counselors also assist in the marketing process. For example, they create informational materials, such as brochures, and organize campus tours. 

Performing these responsibilities requires certain personality traits. Communication is a crucial skill. Having good communication will help you build better relationships with students. You also want to be a good listener to understand what they are looking for in a college. 

Here are some other essential qualities you want to have:

  • Professionalism 
  • Organization
  • Sales ability
  • Time management skills
  • Interpersonal skills

Steps for How to Become an Admissions Counselor 

1. Get a Bachelor’s Degree

The first step to becoming an admissions counselor is to get the proper education. Most positions require you to have a bachelor’s degree. Often there isn’t a specific field of study needed for the job. However, you want to select a relevant major, such as education or communication. These majors help you build up your interpersonal skills. You may also want to pursue a degree in psychology. 

Here are some of the best schools for psychology programs to consider: 

  • Stanford University
  • University of Berkeley
  • Harvard University
  • University of California
  • University of Michigan 

Also, for more advanced positions, some employers may require a master’s degree. Some may even want you to have prior experience in financial aid. 

2. Complete an Internship

Internships are also important when determining how to become an admissions counselor. They help you gain real-world experience and learn critical skills, such as communication. Internships are also great opportunities to form your professional network. This can then help you find a job post-graduation. Consider looking into open positions within your college. 

You can also use online search engines, like Indeed, to find available positions. When searching for an internship, be open to trying new things. This will help you figure out what you like or don’t like about a particular role. Also, be sure to research the school you want to intern at before applying. 

Besides internships, try to find part-time jobs that give you sales experience. As an admissions officer, you will have to sell the school to prospective students. So, customer service jobs in retail stores or restaurants are good options. 

3.  Start Your Job Search

Once you’ve graduated and gained relevant experience, it’s time to find your dream career. An excellent place to start is your previous internship. See if they have any current openings. If you have a positive relationship with your boss, they are likely to hire you full-time. 

Another option is to look online for entry-level positions using job search engines. Make sure to be specific about location and position type to help narrow down your search. You can even see if your college advisors have any professional connections. Once you gain enough experience, you can start looking for advanced opportunities.

4.  Join a Professional Network 

As you start to grow in your career, you can join professional organizations. These usually provide you with resources and training to further develop your skills. They’re also an excellent opportunity to meet new people and expand your network. This could even lead to new career opportunities in the future. 

Professional organizations also help you better understand industry standards and updated policies. Consider joining the National Association for College Admission Counseling to connect with others in your career field. 

5.  Consider Certification 

Certification can be a crucial step in the process of how to become an admissions counselor. It can help you stand out from other applicants and demonstrate that you have relevant experience. Look online for institutions offering programs in the area of college admissions. For example, Berkeley provides a Certificate Program in College Admissions and Career Planning. 

The training teaches you the technical skills needed to succeed in your career. Keep in mind some courses may have prerequisites, such as already having a bachelor’s degree. 

The Average Salary for an Admissions Counselor 

The average salary for an admissions consultant is $43,950. However, other factors will influence your compensation, such as education and certifications. Also, besides salary, when searching for a job, make sure the school is a good fit for you. Learn more about the college’s core values and ensure they align with yours. 

How to Successfully Become an Admissions Counselor

Admission officers play a key role in helping students find the right college. They work with the institution to interview applicants and market the school. So if you’re wondering how to become an admission counselor, follow these steps. 

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