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Roles and Work Environment
Student affairs or student services roles at universities and colleges support student growth and development outside the classroom. Those who work in student affairs may work in a variety of departments, including:
- Academic services
- Financial aid
- Orientation and new student programs
- Alumni engagement
- Fraternity and sorority life
- Judicial affairs and student conduct
- Student activities
- Career services
- Diversity and inclusion
- Residence life
- International student services/study abroad programs
When considering work in student affairs, you should also think about work setting. Positions in student affairs will vary depending on the size of the school, how the school is funded (private or public), the school’s mission, the school’s population, and other considerations.
Skills and Training
There are many entry level roles in students affairs that you can apply for with a bachelor’s degree, especially if you have gained experience as a student at your undergraduate institution. Certain roles in student affairs and most higher level roles require a master’s degree. Important skills vary depending on the role but may include:
- Interpersonal/Relationship building
- Counseling and/or Advising
- Program development
- Financial management
- Assessment and evaluation
Universities and colleges will hire most student affairs roles based on the academic year. You will start to see a higher number of postings in the spring semester and throughout the summer so that the roles can be filled by the start of the fall semester.
Any opportunity to work with your peers or university staff at UVA is a great way to gain experience in the world of higher education. There are many places to do this on Grounds, but here are a few suggestions:
- Career Peer Educators
- Peer Health Educators
- Orientation Leaders
- Resident Advisors
- Office of African-American Affairs Peer Advisors
- Fraternity and Sorority Life councils and committees
- Honor Committee
- Intramural-Recreational Sports student jobs
One of the best places to search for positions in higher education is through human resources on university websites. You can also check:
- HigherEdJobs - Jobs in Higher Education and Student Affairs
- Higher Education Recruitment Consortium
- Jobs - The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Hire Academics - Job board for Higher Education
Applying and Interviewing
Resumes and Cover Letters
If you have never interviewed before, make sure to check out the interviewing section of our website. You can also conduct a mock interview with a career counselor for practice. Here are some sample interview questions - you can find more relevant interview questions by accessing InterviewStream in Handshake.
Higher Education/Student Affairs:
Why do you want to work at our school?
How do you incorporate Student Development theories into practice?
Tell me about a time you implemented a successful program.
What kinds of interactions do you enjoy most with students and why?
What types of diverse populations have you worked with?
What are the issues facing college students today?
Additional Industry Resources
Blogs and Industry Research
- The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Inside Higher Ed
- Higher Education Resource Hub!
- Careers in Student Affairs (NASPA)
- Considering a career in student affairs (ACPA)
- American College Personnel Association
- NASPA | Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education
- Higher Education Faculty and Staff - National Education Association