Career Trajectory Paper
Georgia Southern University
EDLD 7430: American Higher Education
Career Trajectory Paper
The passion for Higher Education began during my years as an undergraduate student who worked part-time in the Office of Admissions. As I answered the phone for a many of students and parents, I realized that the information that they always needed, they never had. My degree from the 4-year institution that is now my employer is a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications. While I may not be using all of the skills learned while obtaining my degree I am still able to create my own visions for media within my position. There is no certain degree program that prepares you for Higher Education, but I think that is what makes it special when you put together staff members on a team because everyone can have so many ideas, views, and plans that can work with each other. Most importantly, it's the rewarding feeling of knowing that you are allowing dreams to happen. Some children think they don't have a chance at college. But, in the blink of an eye, you can make a fairytale become a reality.
My direct supervisor while in college, who was the Assistant Director for Recruitment at the time, was very impressed with my will-to-learn during my first year in the office. We used to sit and often have talked about his Admissions career got started and he moved into Higher Education and that is somewhat the spark of it all. He also encouraged us to always learn as much as you can because you never know when you'll need to use I used to wake up excited to go to work all the time and was elated when a class was canceled so that I could go in. I began to learn the full application process within our Admissions Office. I was then granted access to explain student decisions and even sent on some recruitment events with and without a recruiter because I was so knowledgeable of all the information. As I began to do it more and more, I even surrounded my Senior Project around the admissions' process and that was when it triggered that it may be a good fit for me. I was granted the opportunity to work over the course of my junior and senior year and was then offered a temporary position directly after graduation.
My current short-term goals involve graduating from Georgia Southern University with my M. Ed. in Higher Education Administration. I plan to use my degree and current experience to move up in the Admissions Office at a possible new university. I am currently undecided on the location as I enjoy the scenery in all of the cities that I visit on my current recruiting trips. I have increased participation in educating myself on other roles within my office to include: Document Control and Admissions Processing.
I also plan to attend more Professional Development conferences pertaining to the roles and assigned duties that deal with my position and the overall Student Affairs profession. I believe that Professional Development is necessary for all staff members in the Student Affairs area, as it is ever-changing and you have to stay abreast of the current and incoming student population.
Moving into Higher Education as an upper administrator would come after about 10 years in roles that showcase that I have the ability to pursue a larger role. After Admissions, I plan to venture into the Student Activities and Student Life area. It always is important to keep young and fresh adults in this area because your students are gatekeepers and you have to know their wants and needs and what the latest trends are to ensure them a college experience of a lifetime.
Eventually, I plan to become faculty in an area of Freshman Experience and Speech. I think it is important for students to understand that college is not a playground and there are not multiple chances if you fall and get back up again. Also, learning that the slang they speak on the streets and say at parties will not get them the job they are preparing for and that speaking appropriately is essential to a collegiate career.
Job Qualifications for Future Career
Student activities coordinators are responsible for planning, budgeting and organizing many aspects of student activities and programs. Student activities coordinator requirements vary. Some community colleges require an associate degree or demonstrated experience in event and budget planning. However, most university jobs require a bachelor's or master's degree in student personnel, student affairs, counseling or another related major. Necessary skills for these jobs usually include event planning, public relations, budgeting, and marketing.
An Assistant/Associate Director of Admissions is typically responsible for oversite of the recruitment/territory management, aids Director in all aspects of departmental operations and/or sustains responsibility for the functional unit(s) within the department. Most Assistant/Associate Director positions require a master's degree with a minimum of four years (4) experience in a relatable field or a Bachelor's degree with a minimum of five years (5) experience. Required job qualifications also consist of experience in expanding visions, experience managing personnel, excellent interpersonal, written, and oral communication skills, strong organizational and administrative skills, experience in managing multiple tasks with competing deadlines, and the ability to work self-sufficiently with minimal guidance. (HigherEdJobs, 2017)
As a team player, I definitely go above and beyond so that there is no room for talk about my department. The Office of Admissions currently has a staff of fifteen, with two of those fifteen being supervisory positions. We currently have an application pool with well over 8,000 applications, and with there being four processors that can be overwhelming during the process of evaluating final high school transcripts before freshman students are registered for classes. I have learned to assist and evaluate transcripts, which makes me marketable as I transition into another position. I am dependable, as I recently have been named Assistant Tuition Classification Officer in regard to helping students with residency and petitioning for in-state tuition. I also have strategic planning, report building, and the use of data-driven decision making for planning and strategy development skills within my role.
Often times, you may find yourself weary because others don't do their part. I sometimes catch myself overworking myself into stress and not realizing it. Also, I time crunch. I always get the job done, but I don't always allow the appropriate amount of time to do the work and go check back over it. With the Student Life and Activities area, I would need more budgeting experience as they deal with budgets over 100,000. I have spent roles in undergrad as a treasurer, but there are a lot more processes when dealing with larger budgets.
As mentioned earlier, I am very understanding that roles in Higher Education call for Professional Development on a consistent basis. I have been a part of the Georgia Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (GACRAO) for two years. I have attended Pre-Conference Workshops about Tuition Classification to learn updates about waivers, waiver documentation, and system coding. I chose to attend sessions about effective communication plans, getting the right students to your college campus, and increasing yield after acceptance just to name a few. There are also opportunities on our campus designed for faculty/staff where presenters are brought in to help establish goals and career paths for everyone.
Within the next two years, I plan to actively participate in Collegiate Information and Visitor Services Association (CIVSA), National Association of Student Affairs Professional (NASAP), and the National Association for Campus Activities(NACA). The NASAP Annual Conference provides a forum for professional growth and development for all who are involved in work with students in the student affairs profession. The conference is open to professionals in higher education in general and to the nation's business industry.
National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) is the recognized leader in higher education providing knowledge, ideas, and resources for campus life. They will be the recognized leader in higher education for providing the knowledge, ideas, and resources to promote student learning through engagement in campus life.
CIVSA's mission is to provide knowledge exchange, research, and connections in an inviting arena that builds professional and personal relationships. Dealing with New Student Orientation and Week of Welcome, this would be a great opportunity to see how other universities structures their days and see how beneficial some things maybe during the process.
Inside Higher Ed is the online source for news, opinion, and jobs for all of higher education. It will provide me with breaking news, provocative daily commentary, practical career columns, and a powerful suite of tools to help retrieve a new position. The website is catered to graduate students to top-tier administration and best of all it's free. The Chronicle of Higher Education will also serve as a great literature source to stay abreast of Higher Education news. They are the number one source of news, information, and jobs for college and university faculty members and administrators. Online, The Chronicle is published every weekday and is the top destination for news, advice, and jobs for people in academe. The Chronicle's website features the complete contents of the latest issue; daily news and advice columns; thousands of current job listings; an archive of previously published content; vibrant discussion forums; and career-building tools such as online CV management, salary databases, and more. (The Chronicle 2017)
Wellness Issues for Higher Education is a book resource that addresses a range of student wellness issues confronting professionals in college and university settings. The book is structured around five components of Wellness―Emotional, Social, Intellectual, Physical, and Spiritual. This book thoroughly covers key subjects that add to student's achievement in school. Each topical section incorporates proactive wellbeing exhortation and is intended to set up the student to better comprehend the actualities, issues, and techniques fitting for tending to the issue.
Mentoring and Networking
A mentorship is a major tool for success in the Higher Education profession. Every day is not a good day. You have to be able to push through the ever-changing personalities and adapt to change as you move through your career. If you are interested in exploring a new career path in Higher Education, then finding a mentor with that current job may be of use to you. It is often easier to build connections for possible jobs through mentorship. My current Higher Education Administrative mentor is my Director of Admissions. I often have conversations with my director on the things that I have learned while being on the road as a recruiter and the meaning of being professional in an entry-level position. Being that we started out on the same path getting into Higher Education, it is very easy for us to relate with one another and for him to help with goals that I plan to achieve. He is very encouraging and has a unique way of supervising his staff. He makes you feel like family and is always supportive of growth and development.
Networking is what I believe makes your job easier. When you meet others in the same field and/or position, you are able to express your thoughts, share ideas, share data, and exchange contact information for further needs and assistance. Most Professional Development conferences offer some type of social media mixer or networking night to meet vendors and other attendees.
Collaborations are important for building your resume, job skills and simply offering a helping hand. I have previously volunteered with SSU Athletics, Department of Student Life, and Academic Affairs on multiple occasions. My experience with SSU Athletics has been nothing but pleasurable as I have networked with many of their sponsors and assisted with Game Operations. It started as a student when I joined the Sports Management Club, but I continued as a staff member because it is a great opportunity and opens more doors and interests for some Administrative Athletic positions. I have volunteered with the Department of Student Life during Homecoming Week, CAB Bash, Spring Fling, and smaller events when needed. Student Life is what I particularly pay close attention to because I want to pursue that area of Student Affairs after my goals of Admissions are complete. The amount of work that goes in goes unnoticed and I definitely give a hat off to everyone in that department because of the amount of time and energy put in to ensure the students have a great time while getting their education. I have volunteered with Academic Affairs with some of the Academic Advisement Registration days and Midnight Breakfast. Academic Affairs is obviously the core of the university and should be the most focused division at all institutions. They are the heartbeat as they are providing the important resource of education to the students. The ability to give students an academic experience of a lifetime while letting them have fun makes everything worthwhile. I could possibly explore career options in Academic Affairs, but that would be much later down the line if so.
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