So... you've always wanted to be an admissions officer?

Do you know anyone who, while growing up, claimed to have had a goal to work in enrollment management? Or anyone who wanted to become a college admissions counselor ever since she was in high school, or even younger? Quite honestly I’ve only ever met one such person. Years ago an employee of mine told me that he knew he wanted to work in college admissions when he was a senior in high school. The admissions representative at the college he ultimately chose to attend had inspired him, even before he decided to enroll at the college. From my experience the scenario that I just described seems highly unusual. I would wager that most of us wandered into this profession after preparing for something else, or because we needed a respectable, professional position as a stepping-stone to the future. In college we majored in a field such as business, management, marketing, communication, psychology, English, the arts, or perhaps even teaching. I was a German language major and had taught high school for several years before getting a job at a German division of a freight shipping company. Even though I relished the opportunity to speak German to clients all day, the job itself was not rewarding. I finally took a week off and began to scan the classified advertisements in the local newspaper. (Remember the classified section? That was how we looked for jobs in those days.) One ad in particular caught my eye: “Admissions Representative for a local college. Recruit students from an assigned territory. Frequent travel required.” The salary was not much, but I had loved being a college student, and I loved to travel. I set out to land that job, and over 20 years later I am still glad that I did.

My name is Karen Full, and I am Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan. I am thrilled to have become a participant on Emchat. I have worked in college admissions and enrollment in various capacities and on many college campuses, and I’ve recently been thinking about what has sustained me through this profession for so long. I have some reflections and ideas for training and mobility that I would like to share with other, perhaps newer, admissions staff as they learn to enjoy this profession, embrace it, and grow with it.

This is the introduction to my series on admissions training, staff development and networking. I look forward to sharing some of my ideas, successes, follies, and yes… laughs… it is definitely necessary to have a good laugh now and then in this line of work! I look forward to connecting with you on Twitter (@KarenAFull) and hearing your thoughts and ideas as well. Happy recruiting!