How to Become Director of University Admissions


Career Path Guide

High school students have so much contact with university admissions professionals, but how many of those students consider admissions work as a career? Truth is, hardly any. Most “fall into” this field of work.


Well, by reading this you’re one step ahead of the game. This overlooked field might be right up your alley if you’re comfortable in a leadership role, you have outstanding communication skills, and you're interested in helping others along their career path.


So, if you'd like to know more about the ins and outs of this field then read on; we’ll fill you in on what you would be doing for a living, how much you could earn, and what you’ll need to break into this profession!



What is a Director of University Admissions?

Okay, before we inform you as to how to get into this field, it makes sense to introduce it. Basically, directors of admission for universities (and colleges) are responsible for leading the student recruitment process, as well as developing and implementing student program eligibility requirements. We’ll get into more detail about the job later on.



Education You’ll Need to Become a Director of University Admissions

There is no set educational path for becoming a director of university admissions. However, you will likely need a bachelor’s degree (which can be in virtually any field) to get onto this career track.


Many of those currently employed as directors of admissions have a graduate degree in various field, although the most common (and most relevant) is a master’s in higher education administration





Experience Needed

For a senior-level position such as this, you will ideally have several years of experience in admissions, in roles of progressive levels of responsibility.


For example, according to a report commissioned by the National Association for College Admission Counseling in 2014, admissions professionals at the level of Director had held an average of 3.9 jobs at 5.6 years for each job (including their current posts as Director).


Success Tip: Although other combinations of work experience and education are very much possible, you will ideally have a combination of leadership experience in university admissions combined with a master's degree in education administration.



Entering Admissions from a Different Field

Although it’s common for admissions directors to get their start in lower-level positions in admissions and move their way up, some also enter the field from outside of admissions.


Many directors of admissions have previously served as faculty, administrators, academic advisors, or financial aid and student affairs professionals, among other roles. Many also come from positions in secondary education, most often as teachers and counselors.


Taking the path less traveled, some directors of admissions have also come from outside of education entirely, in such areas as corporate sales, psychology, retail management, public relations and marketing, technology, and even fields as distant as television reporting.



More on What You'll be Doing: Job Description

The scope of your job as director of admissions would vary by institution. In some cases student recruitment might be your entire focus. In other cases, your primary focus would be on overseeing the processing of applications. In most positions however, you will be responsible for both areas.


Your job would also likely involve overseeing new student orientation, and other initiatives. You may also have a significant role in the oversight of financial aid and other student enrollment services.





General Job Duties

Although the functions you would perform could vary from job to job, you would generally be responsible for performing the following duties as a director of university admissions:


• Supervising other admissions department staff

• Performing research in order to identify additional ways to market the school or specific program to students

• Directly participating in activities related to promotion of the program to target group and referral sources

• Overseeing the development of marketing materials and student recruitment publications

• Managing sub-contracted student recruitment advertising agency contracts

• Tracking and analyzing the effectiveness of student recruitment marketing activities

• Reading applications and managing the applicant assessment process

• Set prospective student communication plan from the point of initial contact through matriculation

• Developing strategies for involving alumni and current students in the recruiting process

• Liaising with Board of Governors to establish or adjust program entrance requirements

• Work closely with upper-level administrators to set enrollment goals

• Maintain in-depth knowledge of the program you represent



Who Employs Directors of University of Admissions?

Virtually any type of public or private post-secondary institution employs at least one director of admissions. A specific department or faculty might employ you, or you may be employed to oversee all admissions for the school. Examples of the types of institutions you could potentially work for include:


• Private and public universities

• Colleges

• Trade schools

• Community colleges

• Online schools



Director of University Admissions Salary Level

The salary level you could earn as a director of university admission varies quite a bit, typically depending on the following factors:


• Your professional qualifications (education, experience, etc.)

• The size and budget of the school that employs you

• The region in which you work

• The scope of your job duties


Salary in Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadians working in the Administrators - Post-Secondary Education and Vocational Training occupational group is $86,000 per year.


Salary in the United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of Americans working in the Postsecondary Education Administrators occupational group is $88,390 per year.



Career Advancement Possibilities

If you display competence in your job, and a solid work ethic, you will have plenty of opportunities to advance in your career. For example, you could:


• Move to a bigger department or school, into a position higher paying position

• Become vice president/dean of admissions

• Become university president

• Use your skills in sales, marketing and management to move outside of the education sector



Director of University Admissions Jobs

Our job board below has director of university admissions" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, when available:




Work Environment Typical to This Profession

Hours of Work: You would likely work normal, weekday working hours, on a full-time basis. You would work year-round, although there may be an opportunity to reduce your working hours during the summer.


Work Setting: Your work would be based out of an office, although it would also likely involve traveling within your region and abroad to attend meetings and promote your school. 



Similar Occupational Profiles in Our Database

Listed below are occupations in our database that have similar responsibilities, and/or require similar skills, or be in the same sector of industry, as 'director of university admissions':


• Administrative Director

• Admissions Counselor

• Business Development Officer

• Dean

• Superintendent

• University or College Administrator

• University President




Please consult the following resources to learn more about what you would do for a living as a director of university admissions, how you can become one, and what it will take to succeed when you get there:


Wages & Salaries in Alberta:Administrators - post-secondary education and vocational training.” (February 1, 2009). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved November 10, 2019.

Management:Postsecondary Education Administrators.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved November 10, 2019.

Statistical Classifications:National Occupational Classification.” Craig S. Mullins (July 9, 2013). Statistics Canada website. Retrieved November 10, 2019.

Career Center Articles:So You Want to Be a Director of Admissions.” Tony Campeau, Lynn Gurganus & Rob Hoover (September 12, 2017). American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers website. Retrieved November 10, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Director of University Admissions

The “Applicable Majors in Our Database” section below shows fields of study relevant to this profession. You can search for scholarships matched to those fields of study on our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Applicable Majors in Our Database

Studying one of the college/university majors listed below can be helpful (or are necessary) for becoming a director of university admissions. 


Top Banner Image: