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 department in which they work, such as admissions, student affairs, or the registrar’s office.
Education administrators’ duties depend on the size of their college or university. Small schools often have small staffs that 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.
Postsecondary education administrators who work in admissions decide which applicants 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 which students should be admitted
- Analyze data about applicants and admitted students
Admissions officers also prepare promotional materials about the school. They often are assigned a region of the country to which they travel and speak to high school counselors and students.
Admissions officers who work with the financial aid department offer packages of federal and institutional financial aid to prospective students.
Postsecondary education administrators may 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 coordinate the activities of the individual colleges or schools. For example, a large university may have a separate dean for business, law, and medical schools.
Postsecondary education administrators who work in the registrar’s office, sometimes called registrars, maintain student and course records. They typically do the following:
- Schedule course offerings, including space and times for classes
- Oversee student registration 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’ duties vary throughout the school year. During registration and at the beginning of the academic term, for example, they help students sign up for, drop, and add courses. 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. They typically do the following:
- Advise students on topics such as housing, 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 may specialize in areas such as 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 to rooms and match them with 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.