NACAC Career Path Study Cites Concerns Over “Sales Culture” in College Admission

Orlando, FL (July 30, 2014)-- External and internal forces in US higher education are creating concerns among professionals about a growing “sales culture” in college admission, according to findings released today by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) in its “Career Paths for Admission Officers: A Survey Report.”
The survey of nearly 1,500 admission counselors, directors, deans and vice presidents suggested that demographic trends are increasingly creating strong pressures to meet enrollment goals in order to ensure their institutions’ financial health.
In addition, the report found that, from the perspective of ethnic diversity, the admission and enrollment profession is significantly less representative of the US population than the postsecondary students it serves.
NACAC released the report in Orlando, FL, at its annual “Guiding the Way to Inclusion” conference, which brings together admission professionals to explore issues related to campus diversity and multicultural recruitment.
NACAC undertook the Career Paths project to better understand how individuals can advance in the admission profession,” said Joyce Smith, NACAC CEO. “What we found provided some pointed reminders about where we, as admission professionals, can shape the profession and, by extension, the student population of the future.”
Other key findings from the study include:
•    There is no set path for entering or advancing in the college and university admission profession.

•    Admission officers’ responsibilities are increasingly integrated across other areas of institutional responsibility, such as financial aid and student affairs.

•    Key skills for advancing in the profession include ‘soft’ skills, such as writing and communication, and academic credentials, such as a graduate degree in higher education or a related field

•    Skill sets related to recruitment of specific populations, such as under-represented students, international students, and students who are the first in their family to go to college, were important, if under-emphasized, aspect of college admission work
The NACAC Career Path Study, the first conducted by the association to be focused on career issues, features essays by deans of admission whose careers span decades in higher education. Essayists include Bill Fitzsimmons (Harvard University), Kathleen Massey (McGill University [Canada]), David Burge (Arizona State University), Sundar Kumarasamy (University of Dayton), Ken Anselment (Lawrence University), Greg Roberts (University of Virginia), Gordon Chavis, Jr. (University of Central Florida), Robin Brown (Colorado State University), and Angel Perez (Pitzer College).
The study is available via the NACAC Career Center.  The Career Center allows those interested in a career in college admission to explore job openings, upload a resume and get tips on searching for admission jobs.
About NACAC: NACAC is an Arlington, VA-based education association of more than 14,000 secondary school counselors, independent counselors, college admission and financial aid officers, enrollment managers, and organizations that work with students as they make the transition from high school to postsecondary education. The association, founded in 1937, is committed to maintaining high standards that foster ethical and social responsibility among those involved in the transition process, as outlined in the NACAC Statement of Principles of Good Practice. More information about NACAC is available at