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In order to become a director of admissions, a person typically must have a combination of relevant practical experience, a professional background, and education — in most cases, this position requires a Ph.D. or an Ed.D. Admissions directors recruit applicants, assess their merits, and admit them as students in their academic programs. They may work for public or private colleges or universities, as well as for private elementary and secondary schools. Typically, an individual can attain such a position either by applying from within his or her organization or by responding to a publicly announced job vacancy.
A person who wishes to become a director of admissions might begin by earning a bachelor's degree and then gain experience in a lower level administrative position. Other options include earning advanced degrees in fields such as teaching to gain classroom experience prior to becoming an administrator. Many positions require a Ph.D. or an Ed.D. in a field such as higher education administration. This is often the case in locations where the competition for director of admissions jobs is especially high.
Given his or her job responsibilities, an admissions director must often interact with a variety of people. He or she usually works closely with other administrators, such as the financial aid director; with applicants and their families; and with the public. Depending on the size of an institution and its staff, the director of admissions might simply oversee the admissions process, or he or she might be more personally involved in making decisions. Some common director of admissions requirements include reviewing written applications and essays, following up on recommendations, and interviewing candidates and their parents. He or she might also consult with admissions directors at similar institutions to compare policies or to coordinate credit transfer programs between schools.
Having computer skills as well as accounting or statistics experience is usually considered beneficial for someone hoping to become a director of admissions. Knowledge of the financial aid process is also helpful, as financial awards are often closely related to admissions decisions. In general, the director should be familiar with the available aid programs, including grants, loans, scholarships, and work-study programs.
In general, someone wanting to become a director of admissions should have good decision-making abilities as well as effective interpersonal and communication skills. Being active in the recruiting process sometimes requires a person in this position to take on a public relations role in order to advertise programs and attract applicants. As such, he or she should feel comfortable speaking in front of people as well.