How to Describe What I Do (Higher Ed Edition)

So after discussing the topic with friends and cohort members and hearing a number of perspectives, I wanted to offer this resource to those considering working in Higher Education, particularly student affairs and services.

When I was considering this career and even today when people ask what I do or what I am studying, what should be a simple statement turns into a 10 minute conversation as to whether I am going to be a college professor or a principal. To clarify, I am not doing either of those.

Consider this. When students attend a university, they must apply to school, which requires recruiting them. After this, if they are admitted, they begin registering for classes, attending orientation, and moving into housing. Just moving into housing alone requires housekeeping, maintenance, placement into a room, staff to man the halls as a resource for your student who must themselves be trained and overseen, and that all only covers the surface.

As students move forward, they get involved. This means working a job or even student organizations like Fraternity and Sorority Life. In fraternity and sorority life, you have someone who coordinates the groups locally, processes grades, helps manage recruitment, and coordinates with the national organizations. If they take a job, there are staff who must be trained and overseen.

These are only a very small number of the options, but there are also advisors, different coordinators, directors, and much much more who work here. When you look at the different positions I have just named, consider that many universities or colleges have someone who works in that position. They have someone with a degree like mine or experience like mine. They have training in student development and helping students become all that they can be. They have studied the history of the higher education system in order to understand the role of the institution. They have studied law, budgeting, administration, and research in order to be best prepared to work with students. They take these roles (which are not professors or tutors) in order to support students in their education and much much more.

So that is what I do for a living and what I am studying.


About rigsurfer

A Brother of Delta Upsilon International Fraternity, Inc., Joined in Fall 2010. Completed a B.A. in English at North Carolina State University in 2013 and received a M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration at Texas Tech University in 2015. Passionate about Leadership and Diversity as well as Ducks, Scooby Doo, and reading.
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