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Choosing to become a college admissions counselor can be an educational and rewarding experience. Admissions counselors often serve as recruiters for colleges and get to work closely with interested students planning to apply to the school. Some choose to work outside the educational system at private companies designed to help prospective college students narrow school choices and put together effective admissions packages. For those who love the idea of putting students on the road to college, working as a college admissions counselor can be a rich and meaningful career.
Although there is no set path to get a job as a college admissions counselor, understanding the needs of the job can help in planning a career in the field. Admissions counselors work closely with both the school and future students, and are often equally talented as counselors and administrators. Those working for a specific college must know what the school is looking for in applicants, but also must learn enough about each student to understand if the school will be the best choice for him or her. For admissions counselors who work for private companies, it is important to get a clear picture of a student's personality, goals, strengths and weaknesses to help him or her put together the strongest possible admission package.
Many college admissions counselors actively recruit students for a school, and may travel frequently throughout the year to seek out possible candidates. Admissions counselors can often be found at school fairs and events designed to give high school students information on possible college choices. In order to serve in this capacity well, an admissions counselor must be able to give students accurate, realistic information about the college, while keeping an eye open for exceptional students that would be desirable recruits.
Since the responsibilities of the job are complex, a person who wants to become a college admissions counselor will often have extensive training in both administrative duties and counseling skills. Often, admissions counselors have at least one college degree as well as a background in education, administrative work, psychology or counseling. In addition, administrative skills such as computer literacy, record keeping, and other general office skills may be valuable for a person trying to become a college admissions counselor. For those with no experience in the field, it is wise to consider attending a community college to gain computer and administrative skills as well as possibly taking courses in psychology or business.
For those who want to become a college admissions counselor but do not have experience in the field, consider contacting local colleges to see if entry level positions are available in the admissions department. These jobs can provide valuable training opportunities as well as allow entry-level workers to make contacts in the field. For college students, jobs in the admissions office are often available as part of work-study programs geared toward helping students pay for school. By taking even a basic job in admissions, a college student can not only start to prepare for his or her future career, but also help reduce any debt owed to the school.
There are some great programs out there from several schools that are master's level programs that are meant to teach folks the skills to become a very competent college admissions counselor in less than two years. UC Berkley has a program as does Empowered UCLA Extensions. Both are online programs. The Empowered UCLA Extensions College Counseling certificate program takes one year and gains you a certificate and extensive career counseling to help you attain this goal and they serve up the program on the iPad, which is included in the cost of tuition.
The UC Berkley program is also online and is a certificate program. It takes about two years. You would take that from a regular computer of any kind and it also offers some career counseling guidance as well. You can find more at UC Berkley's website.
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