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What Does an Enrollment Counselor Do?

Applying to graduate school can be a long, complex process that leaves you with plenty of questions. What’s the difference between a priority application deadline and a later one? What paperwork do you need to submit? How do you get a student visa? Is this program really the right one for you? 

Northeastern’s enrollment counselors can help you answer all of these questions and more. Whether you need consistent support in the year leading up to your application submission or just have a few questions while you wait for an admissions decision, enrollment counselors provide a wealth of information to prospective graduate students. Here’s what an enrollment counselor can do for you. 

What Does an Enrollment Counselor Do? 

Enrollment counselors help prospective students understand the many requirements, processes, and other details involved in applying to a graduate program. That support can take many forms, depending on what a student needs. 

“First and foremost, we are here to support students through their application and enrollment journey,” says Mallory Leiendecker, associate director of enrollment at Northeastern. 

Counselors often speak with students about:

  • whether a program is the best fit for them based on their academic and career goals
  • course offerings and program expectations
  • experiential learning opportunities 
  • staying organized when it comes to deadlines and application materials

Because students work with one counselor throughout their application process, they receive personalized support based on their unique needs. 

“You know that you have one specific person in this large university who you can rely on,” Leiendecker says. 

Northeastern’s enrollment counselors work with a wide variety of programs across the university, so they can focus on finding the right one for each student without bias. 

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Guidance Through the Admissions Process 

During the admissions process, enrollment counselors take on the role of an expert guide. No matter what a student needs or where they are in the admissions process, counselors use their professional knowledge to help students make the right decisions. 

“We have an insider understanding of how our colleges operate, so we can utilize that in supporting your application,” Leiendecker says. 

That understanding can benefit students at any stage of the application process. Counselors often help students who are gathering information about several universities to narrow down their choices. They also work with those who have already submitted an application and want to know what to expect next. 

According to Leiendecker, most of the students working with enrollment counselors have not yet submitted their applications to Northeastern. Many have started the process but still have questions about their programs or the application itself. 

The amount of time students work with enrollment counselors can also vary. While some value regular check-ins over the course of several months for support at each stage of the application process, others feel comfortable with just a few calls or emails after they submit their application. The process is entirely customizable to your individual needs and questions. 

Benefits of Working with an Enrollment Counselor

“I would encourage every single person to reach out to an enrollment counselor,” Leiendecker says. She considers these three benefits to be well worth the partnership. 

1. You’ll get access to insider information. 

Enrollment counselors need to be experts in their programs, and much of their information may not be easily discovered online. A counselor can connect students with the information they need and provide more specific details about a program, or encourage students to submit their application early based on their experiences working with a particular college. This information can make a difference in the way a student plans their application and remove any obstacles that would have made the process more challenging. 

2. You’ll uncover additional questions you didn’t know you had.  

Many students reach out to an enrollment counselor with one or two questions, but the answers to those can prompt many more. 

“Something that we say while answering a question can prompt a dozen others that students weren’t expecting to ask because they didn’t even realize that they had them, so it really is worthwhile to have that conversation,” Leiendecker says. 

Getting these questions answered all at once can save students time and give them more confidence in making their decisions, making for a smoother enrollment process. 

3. You’ll have the chance to talk through the program selection process. 

Some students are still in the process of selecting their programs of study, while others are already sure of where they’d like to apply. In both situations, Leiendecker has seen the benefits of confirming program selections with a counselor. 

“Sometimes we see students who are really interested in a particular program, but when we talk to them and get a better understanding of their professional goals and maybe their education history, it becomes evident that maybe the program they’re interested in isn’t the perfect fit for them,” Leiendecker says. 

Thanks to their deep understanding of the nuances among programs, enrollment counselors can suggest alternative program options to students before they submit their applications. Choosing the right program from the start can help you accelerate your career and gain the right experience to reach your goals. 

How to Work with an Enrollment Counselor 

Students can choose how they would like to work with their counselor, from the frequency of communication to the type of support they receive. Leiendecker offers the following advice to set up a strong working relationship with your counselor. 

Ask the Same Questions 

“Have a list of five questions or so that you’re going to ask across all of the colleges you’re looking at,” Leiendecker says. “This gives you a good baseline to compare against.” 

While asking specific questions based on each school’s unique requirements or programs can be beneficial, establishing a strong foundation to compare each one against is often overlooked. These questions can help you eliminate options early in the process, saving time and allowing you to focus your efforts on the right schools. 

Establish Expectations 

Enrollment counselors want to make sure they’re supporting you most effectively, so be up front with them about what you’re looking for and how you prefer to communicate. 

“We’ll meet whatever those preferences are because we want to understand what your needs are and how you best feel supported,” Leiendecker says. 

Be specific about how often you’d like to speak with your enrollment counselor, what you’d like to talk about, and whether email or phone is the best way to reach you. Ensuring that you and your counselor agree on how to move forward will help you get the most out of your enrollment experience from day one. 

Connecting with an Enrollment Counselor 

Northeastern’s enrollment counselors consistently reach out to prospective students to offer their support because they recognize the difference personalized support can make during the admissions process. 

“We have the students’ best interest at heart, because they represent the university at the end of the day,” Leiendecker says. “Their success is what we’re looking for, and the thought of going back to school can be anxiety-inducing, so we try to be there to support the whole person.” 


For personalized advice and questions about Northeastern’s admissions and application processes, connect with an enrollment counselor today.