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What Does a College Administrator Do?

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  • Written By: Katherine Siegel
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 26 March 2014
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While the exact responsibilities of a college administrator, also known as an education administrator, vary among institutions, most administrators are responsible for day-to-day campus functions. College administrators often oversee budgeting issues which may range from financial aid matters to employee compensation. They are usually involved in the admissions process and may make specific admissions decisions. At times, the administrator might help direct the curriculum and oversee the tracking of the campus's records.

In terms of education requirements, university administrators, or college administrators, must usually have at least a bachelor's degree. Many schools, however, require that their administrators have a graduate degree in a related field such as finance, counseling, education or business. Oftentimes, the administrator's specialty will determine his or her job responsibilities.

College administrators who have a degree in finance or business, for example, might specialize in financial matters, such as financial aid. A financial aid administrator would most likely be responsible for keeping track of those funds that are disbursed to students in the form of loans, scholarships or grants. He or she may also be responsible for making sure the university's budget is balanced, providing suggestions for improvement in the institution's finances.

Another common role a college administrator holds is that of student affairs director. As a director of student affairs, the administrator might be in charge of student housing, career counseling for students, student government, or the coordination of school-sponsored student activities.

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Depending on the size of the college or university, there might also be a college administrator that focuses on public relations. Another might focus on the oversight of alumni contributions and another may manage school development. Administrators typically work throughout the year and often work longer hours during the beginning of each semester and before the beginning of the fiscal year.

In addition to basic education requirements, successful college administrators must often have a variety of skills. While some college administrators might focus on work behind the scenes, most administrators interact with students on a daily basis. The ability to work well with students, and faculty for that matter, is often a key requirement. In addition, the university and college ecosystem often changes as the institution grows or legislation is passed. As a result, flexibility is another key trait a successful administrator should possess.

The college administrator may also be called upon to address the campus on behalf of the president or a department chair. Most college administrators answer to the president of the school and the provost. Many college administrators also sit on the Board of Trustees, the school's highest governing body, to make suggestions on how to improve the school.

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