How to Become an Admissions Counselor


Although there are other paths you can take, a very effective route for becoming an admissions counselor is to follow these general steps:


1. Determine if this profession is suited to your interests and qualities

2. Pursue a bachelor’s degree related to education or business

3. Find an entry-level job in student services while you're in school

4. Progress into roles of greater responsibility & pay as you gain experience


If you’re thinking about trying your hand at this occupation, then keep reading to find out more about what admissions counselors do and what you can do to become one! 



What Experience Will I Need?

In addition to a bachelor's degree, most employers prefer that you have a few years (1-3 typically) of experience in a sales or customer service capacity. Experience in a higher education setting, the field of teaching, student services or a related educational capacity is preferred, although not necessarily considered mandatory.


Success Tip: Try to land a job in the 'Student Services' office at your institution while you're still a student!



Will I Need Formal Education?

Typically, employers will require that you have a bachelor’s degree (in virtually any field) in order to be hired on as an admissions counselor. The academic fields that are most relevant for this profession include Education Administration, Education (General) and Business.





What is an Admissions Counselor?

An admissions counselor is a school administrator (typically post-secondary) that’s responsible for communicating with prospective students and guiding them through the application and enrollment process. They also review application files, participate in recruitment events, liaise with academic departments, and train/mentor new Admission Counselor hires.



What Does an Admissions Counselor Do?

Although their duties can vary from job to job, admissions counselors are generally responsible for the following:


• Presenting to various groups about college, admission and financial aid opportunities

• Building relationships with prospective first-year and transfer students and families

• Informing students about College programs, admission and financial aid procedures

• Planning and executing a schedule of visits and communication with contacts in an assigned territory

• Recommending admission and scholarship decisions in an assigned territory

• Participate in on-campus visitation programs sponsored by the Admission Office.

• Responding to inquiries and handling correspondence with prospective students in a timely and effective manner

• Assisting with general administrative, and at times clerical, duties as assigned by enrollment supervisors

• Being knowledgeable about general admission practices and industry trends

• Utilizing industry software to run queries, track prospects’ progress through the enrollment process, and make data driven decisions within territory



What is the Work Environment Like?

Admissions counselors usually work standard office working hours, although they may spend additional evening and weekend hours attending meetings, recruitment events, or attending interactions with students, families or co-operative professionals.


They may work in a variety of settings, although they usually work in offices where they can conduct private interviews with students and in classrooms or boardrooms where they conduct group sessions.





Is This Career Right for You?

Determining if a career field suits your personality as well as your professional ambitions is crucial, if you plan on staying in that field for more than a few months. Take a look at the ideal traits and interests of an admissions counselor (below); if they describe you, then you’re probably well-suited for this field:


• A customer service oriented attitude to work activities

• Ability to build rapport with a variety of people

• A willingness to speak publicly 

• A good sense of personal integrity and ethics

• A keen interest in working in education administration

• An interest in coordinating information and advising others

• Interest in a career that offers regular weekday working hours

• Preference for a career that offers established guidelines and methods for work 

• A keen interest in being the first link to post-secondary world for a new, prospective student



Who Creates Jobs for Admissions Counselors?

Admissions counselors are typically employed by academic or vocational secondary and post-secondary institutions. In post-secondary institutions, they may be hired by a specific faculty or department.



Admissions Counseling Jobs

Our job board below has a listing of "Admissions Counselor" postings in your area of Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom or Australia.





Similar Careers in Our Database

Listed below are careers that may be in the same field, or they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and/or responsibilities as “Admissions Counselor”:


Academic Advisor

• Career Counselor

• Director of University Admissions

• School Counselor

• University or College Administrator



Relevant Scholarship Opportunities

The “Majors in Our Database Relevant for this Career” section below lists fields of study that are relevant to becoming an admissions counselor. You can search for relevant scholarships by finding those majors on our "Any Field of Study Scholarships” page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you qualify for, even if it's just because you meet 1 of the criteria, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Sources for This Guide

The following resources were used to gather information for this “How to Become an Admissions Counselor” career path guide:


• Academic Advising Resources: “Become an Advisor.” Adrienne Bishop McMahan (n.d.). NACADA - Kansas State University. Retrieved May 18, 2017.


Please Note: Much of the information gathered for this career guide was obtained from actual ‘Admissions Counselor’ job postings, which due to their brief online nature are not listed here as references.



Majors in Our Database Relevant for this Career

We have career guides for over 60 university majors in our database. Below we've outlined those that are most relevant to becoming an admissions counselor. Click on the links to see what else you can do with these majors!


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