Admission counselors have a hectic and often thankless job. Cycling between phases of recruitment and selection, there is little downtime within enrollment cycles for counselors.
A Typical Year in Admission Counseling
Winter through summer is utilized for the selection process. Counselors work through countless applications to narrow down the best fit students for their institution. All the while, many are still focused on fostering relationships with prospective juniors and sophomores.
During this time, admission counselors must fight back against summer melt before enrollment deadlines rear their heads. On top of this, they must begin planning travel for the fall season.
And wow, is fall busy.
Move-in, orientation, and census day crowd the start of the semester. Many counselors are salaried staff who are expected to work weekends for these big events with no additional pay.
This begets the potential for counselors to forgo several weekends in a row right before leaving home for 6-8 weeks during travel season. During which, they are pulling evenings and weekend shifts at college fairs and on the road.
Tips to Avoid Burnout
With admission counseling positions experiencing high turnover rates, enrollment leaders must consider ways to keep their staff sane and not overworked.
Here are The Parish Group’s tips on avoiding counselor burnout.
1. Find The Sweet Spot
Though the year may seem jam-packed for admission counselors, finding intervals of low-stress work is imperative to keeping your counselors from feeling burnt out.
Especially in the busy fall season, utilize the time between the start of classes and travel season to give your counselors time to recoup.
Make sure you aren’t hoarding their weekends between this period. If weekend roles must be filled, try to vary who does what when. This will ensure the team isn’t overwhelmed.
Travel is stressful regardless if it’s for work or pleasure. Going into travel season stressed out will only harm potential relationships with prospective students.
Oftentimes, your admission counselor is a student’s firsthand introduction to your school, and you want to make sure that impression is positive.
2. Celebrate Hard Work
Showing appreciation for your counselors’ hard work goes a long way. And we’re not talking about a half-assed pizza party.
Exhibit your gratitude verbally. Commend your counselors with hard data that shows their dedication had a direct impact on the school’s application numbers.
If your enrollment team has a social media presence, consider doing employee spotlights highlighting individual counselors. This can make them feel seen and celebrated.
As inflation in 2022 soars, consider your budgets for salary increases. Helping these counselors keep themselves financially afloat and comfortable will show more appreciation than a soggy pepperoni pizza ever will.
3. Empathize with Issues and Help Find Solutions
Are they dealing with a tough parent? Outside obligations in their personal life?
As a leader, it’s important to be aware of these issues. Aloof leaders who aren’t in touch with the needs of their staff or able to help them aren’t really leading.
Remember that we’re all human, and admission counselors take the brunt of customer service work, which can be incredibly draining.
Offer to take that call from a tough parent. Give them leniency to sort out their personal responsibilities without condescension. When doable, consider offering a few days of remote work.
4. Invest in Their Professional Development
As is true for many entry-level positions, lots of admission counselors do not see this job as their end-all career choice.
They might have aspirations of moving upwards in higher ed administration.
Host professional development workshops. Schedule counselor training sessions to continually sharpen those skills. By consistently offering ways to enhance their professional skills, you provide them a long-term pathway beyond the day-to-day tasks.
When you care about the success of your counselors both within and outside the enrollment sphere, you’ll see that interest pay itself back.
Develop Your Admission Counseling Strategy with The Parish Group
We know it’s a tough job on all ends of enrollment management.
But it’s important to look after your ‘first line of defense’ to ensure that your school is putting their best foot forward throughout recruitment.
The Parish Group offers counselor training as a part of our à-la-carte services. These are led by our seasoned enrollment veterans— former directors and deans of admission teams around the country.
If you want more information on energizing your admission counselors or are interested in our admission counselor training, reach out to us firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office at 828-505-3000.