Working in University Admissions: Jobs and Salaries

Industry Advice Education

A job in university admissions might appeal to you if you feel at home in an academic environment and are passionate about helping others succeed. If you are not interested in becoming a professor, but would still like to work for or with students, this could be an exciting career path for you.

If you’re interested in breaking into this field, you might be wondering what types of positions are available to you and how you can get your foot in the door. Below, we explore some of the top jobs in university admissions to consider and provide guidance on how you can get there.

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5 Top Jobs in University Admissions

1. Admissions Counselor

Average Annual Salary: $36,792

Admissions counselors work to broadly support the admissions process. A large portion of the work is dedicated to interviewing applicants, arranging campus tours, assisting in the completion and review of paperwork, and conducting follow-up activities with potential students and applicants by way of letter-writing or phone calls. Other duties may involve developing a network of alumni who are willing to help in the recruitment process and conducting focus groups in order to better understand the kind of students most likely to apply to the institution.

Becoming an admissions counselor can be a great way to gain experience and test out a career in university admissions, but with an average salary of $36,792, some may consider the pay to be low. For this reason, this entry-level position is typically held by those who have recently earned an undergraduate degree and who may or may not be pursuing an advanced degree. 

2.  Admissions Officer

Average Annual Salary: $45,607

College admissions officers perform similar duties to admissions counselors, but with additional responsibilities. In addition to aiding applicants with paperwork and guiding them through the admissions process, admissions officers are also responsible for reaching out to and communicating with prospective students, giving presentations at high schools, and creating and distributing promotional literature to attract applicants. 

They serve as ambassadors for their institution and might travel around the country—or even the world—to various recruitment fairs and events. Admissions officers are the point person for applicants, and help them through the admissions process, answering questions or addressing concerns as they appear.

With this added responsibility comes a higher average annual salary compared to admissions counselors. While some individuals may be qualified to enter this role immediately upon undergraduate coursework, it is often seen as the next step up from the role of an admissions counselor. 

3. Enrollment Manager

Average Annual Salary: $60,570

Enrollment managers report to the vice president for enrollment management. They help develop and execute a comprehensive enrollment strategy to meet their institution’s goals. They are responsible for the oversight and direction of the admissions and enrollment processes for their institution. They also assist with recruiting, interviewing prospective students, and coordinating information sessions and open houses.

While it is possible to become an enrollment manager with a bachelor’s degree and enough on-the-job experience, many positions prefer to hire candidates who have earned an advanced degree. 

4. Director of University Admissions

Average Annual Salary: $66,766

The director of admissions at a university or college leads and manages the Office of Admissions and establishes, promotes, and executes the admissions process for their institution. Their team consists of admissions counselors, assistant and associate directors, and administrative staff, potentially amongst other professionals. They work with other school administrators as well as prospective students.

Admissions directors oversee recruitment, candidate evaluation, and the entire admissions process. They develop data-driven recruitment strategies and seek to accomplish strategic enrollment objectives. Examples of these initiatives might include attracting applicants to programs with open seats or performing market sensing research to develop new academic programs and offerings. 

A director of admissions will typically hold a master’s degree in an education-focused field of study. Business degrees are also common for those seeking this type of role.

5. Vice President for Enrollment Management

Average Annual Salary: $136,000

The vice president for enrollment management at a college or university reports to the President. The VP leads and manages various offices at their academic institution, which can include Admissions, Recruitment, Financial Aid, Registrar, and Student and Veterans Affairs, among others. 

The vice president for enrollment management analyzes trends in higher education to develop and execute an enrollment plan. They then make data-informed decisions to allocate staff and financial resources to achieve their strategic enrollment goals.

Like directors of admissions, VPs of enrollment management will typically hold at least a master’s degree in an education-focused field. 

Job Outlook

Employment of postsecondary education administrators is projected to grow seven percent over the next decade—faster than the average job across all industries. This steady climb is due in part to increasing enrollment in higher education. As colleges and universities see a continued spike in enrollment, these institutions will need to hire more administrators to reach their goals.

How to Work in University Admissions

How to land a job in university admissions will depend on your particular career goals. 

While a number of the jobs listed above do not typically require more than a bachelor’s degree, most of the higher-paying options require applicants to hold a master’s degree in an education-related field. One closely-aligned option is to earn an MEd in Higher Education Administration, which prepares students specifically for mid-level and leadership positions in higher education—including the positions discussed above. 

For those currently in an entry-level admissions position, earning an MEd can increase the likelihood that you will be promoted; for those who have not yet entered the profession, earning an MEd can fast-track your career. 

Want to learn more about how you can break into the field of higher education administration and rise through the ranks? Download our free guide on Advancing in Higher Education

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