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What Skills Do I Need as an Admissions Counselor?

Interpersonal and interview skills are important for becoming an admissions counselor.
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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 09 August 2014
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An admissions counselor is an important person for most colleges, especially those colleges with stringent qualification guidelines. This person has to recruit students and talk with referral sources, so he should have good interpersonal and interviewing skills. The admissions counselor also must be able to adapt to change, because he will speak with different people and groups, travel to different areas, and may work different shifts to get work done. To keep everything in order, the counselor commonly needs organizational skills. If the college has difficult acceptance guidelines, then the counselor also must be able to recognize talent, skill and, sometimes, various intangibles the college is looking for in prospective students.

One of the main tasks of an admissions counselor is to speak with people. He has to talk with people to know about certain events or students; he has to talk to students to see if they are qualified, to recruit them and to get an idea about their character; and he has to talk to parents to convince them the college is right for their child. This makes the counselor's interpersonal and interview skills important. He must be good with people or this career likely will be quite difficult.

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An admissions counselor's position is rife with change, and anyone who wants this career should be comfortable with change. Depending on the recruiting season, the counselor may have to work long hours, night and weekend hours or varying shifts to get work done. Each person to whom the counselor talks will be different, and he must adjust to that for effective communication. Traveling to different areas to attend college fairs or other events where he can find students to recruit also is important.

Organizational skills are important, because it can be easy to get lost or to forget something amid the travel and schedule changes. An admissions counselor should be able to organize workloads, dates and events to ensure that everything gets done. The college will want reports on recruiting activity, so the counselor must be organized enough to make and deliver reports in a timely matter.

While some colleges have general acceptance guidelines, such as having a particular grade range, others have specific acceptance guidelines that may be difficult for students to meet. If there are specific guidelines, then the admissions counselor should be able to identify both the specific qualifications of a person and any intangibles that may make that student stand out from a crowd of students who meet the same basic qualifications. This can be discovered by looking through records, talking with referral sources or speaking with students and teachers. If the counselor cannot achieve this, then he may pass on good recruits or recruit students who do not fit the college’s mold.

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