What Postsecondary Education Administrators Do
Postsecondary education administrators assist students with a variety of tasks, such as registering for classes and completing admissions applications.
Postsecondary education administrators oversee student services, academics, and faculty research at colleges and universities. Their job duties vary depending on the area of the college they manage, such as admissions, student affairs, or the registrar’s office.
Postsecondary education administrators who work in admissions decide if potential students should be admitted to the school. They typically do the following:
- Determine how many students to admit to the school
- Meet with prospective students and encourage them to apply
- Review applications to determine if each potential student should be admitted
- Analyze data about applicants and admitted students
- Prepare promotional materials about the school
Many admissions counselors are assigned a region of the country and travel to that region to speak to high school counselors and students.
Admissions officers may work with the financial aid department to offer packages of federal and institutional financial aid to prospective students.
Postsecondary education administrators who work in the registrar’s office, sometimes called registrars, maintain student and course records. They typically do the following:
- Schedule and register students for classes
- Schedule space and times for classes
- Ensure that students meet graduation requirements
- Plan commencement ceremonies
- Prepare transcripts and diplomas for students
- Produce data about students and classes
- Maintain the academic records of the institution
Registrars have different duties throughout the school year. Before students register for classes, registrars must prepare schedules and course offerings. During registration and for the beginning of the semester, they help students sign up for, drop, and add courses. Toward the end of the semester, they plan graduation and ensure that students meet the requirements to graduate. Registrars need computer skills to create and maintain databases.
Postsecondary education administrators who work in student affairs are responsible for a variety of cocurricular school functions, such as student athletics and activities. They typically do the following:
- Advise students on topics such as housing issues, personal problems, or academics
- Communicate with parents or guardians
- Create, support, and assess nonacademic programs for students
- Schedule programs and services, such as athletic events or recreational activities
Postsecondary education administrators in student affairs can specialize in student activities, housing and residential life, or multicultural affairs. In student activities, they plan events and advise student clubs and organizations. In housing and residential life, they assign students rooms and roommates, ensure that residential facilities are well maintained, and train residential advisers. In multicultural affairs, they plan events to celebrate different cultures and diverse backgrounds. Sometimes, they manage multicultural centers on campus.
Postsecondary education administrators can be provosts or academic deans. Provosts, also called chief academic officers, help college presidents develop academic policies, participate in making faculty appointments and tenure decisions, and manage budgets. They also oversee faculty research at colleges and universities. Academic deans direct and coordinate the activities of the individual colleges or schools. For example, in a large university, a dean may oversee the law school.
Education administrators’ duties depend on the size of their college or university. Small schools often have smaller staffs who take on many different responsibilities, but larger schools may have different offices for each of these functions. For example, at a small college, the Office of Student Life may oversee student athletics and other activities, whereas a large university may have an Athletics Department.