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Admissions Specialist

Columbia University - School of Professional Studies
New York City, New York

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Administrative Jobs
Institutional & Business Affairs, Admissions & Enrollment
Employment Type
Full Time
Institution Type
Other Organizations
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Position Summary

The Admissions Specialist works closely with the Assistant Director, Admissions to uphold and strengthen the integrity of the admissions process flow from application through enrollment for the School of Professional Studies growing set of offerings.  These offerings currently include cross-disciplinary Master’s Degree Programs, Pre-Graduate and Graduate Certificate Programs, Structured and Unstructured Certifications of Professional Achievement, take-a-class options for bachelor’s degree holders and visiting students enrolled at other institutions, High School Programs, and the American Language Programs.  The Admissions Specialist manages the inflow of a high quantity of applications with a diverse range of application criteria using multiple application management system tools to ensure efficiency and accuracy at all points along the application timeline.  The Admissions Specialist screens and/or reviews applications and renders timely decisions or recommended decisions for the specified programs.  All efforts performed by the Admissions Specialist will contribute to the SPS goal of yielding and retaining increasing numbers of highly qualified students by facilitating a seamless application process.


  • Perform thorough review of submitted statements and recommendation letters, evaluating for quality and potential fraud, flagging documents and application in the system as appropriate
  • During peaks periods will conduct follow-up communication with recommenders to authenticate recommendation letters and clarify recommendation details
  • Ensure applications are complete with all materials and ready for evaluation, and conducts the initial application review to determine the admissibility of the applicant following established application review rubrics
  • Communicate with applicants throughout the admissions process regarding missing application materials and other application-related topics via email and phone
  • Communicate with relevant team members to ensure that all applications are reviewed and decisions are rendered within the time-frames communicated to applicants
  • Manage a program specific email inbox including responding to messages and referring program-specific academic and counseling questions to the appropriate SPS and University stakeholders
  • Help to ensure that decision information is accurately represented within all appropriate systems
  • Communicate any potential systems issues to the Enrollment Systems Manager and proactively assist with troubleshooting those issues
  • Attend regular admissions pipeline meetings and provide feedback on applicant quality and relevant insights gathered during the application review process
  • Create regular application pipeline reporting and distributes as needed to relevant parties including admissions and advising team members, program staff, and departmental leadership
  • Communicate frequently with Program Directors regarding the quality of applicants and the progress of applications through the processing stages
  • Identify potential ways to improve the application process and streamline workflows where appropriate
  • Suggest improvements to application review rubrics based on the tracking of acceptance rates, applicant quality data, and other insights
  • Assist with conducting regular audits of application data across all systems currently in use to facilitate the admissions process
  • Assist to refine application communications to ensure that applicants have the information needed to take action toward completing their application and enrolling in their program of choice
  • Proactively contribute toward streamlining the application workflow and automating current and future processes where possible with special focus on the application review process 
  • Assist with school wide events such as orientation and graduation


Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree and/or equivalent related experience required
  • 2 years related experience
  • A resume and cover letter with salary requirements must be submitted to be considered for the position

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience handling a high volume of applications for multiple, diverse programs
  • Experience reviewing transcripts from high school, undergraduate and graduate programs
  • Experience reviewing and/or processing international applications and related materials
  • Experience with system implementations and/or new system testing
  • Familiarity with SPS program offerings overall

Other Requirements

  • Background in higher education admissions or similar field
  • Demonstrated experience using a relational database, online application system and/or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool, ideally in a higher education setting
  • Familiarity with or willingness to learn, SIS, TargetX, and other systems, applications and software used by the University and the School
  • Proven track record identifying and implementing improvements to streamline and/or automate complex processes
  • Excellent interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills
  • Exceptional attention to detail, strong organization and time management skills, and the ability to perform routine and non-routine work with changing priorities
  • Sound problem-solving and decision-making abilities, both as an independent entity and as part of a team
  • Proven ability to work effectively within a collaborative team setting
  • Ability to handle confidential information in a mature, professional manner
  • Adaptability and flexibility in working in a fast-paced environment
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office applications including Word and Excel required
  • Ability to work extended hours and weekends during peak application periods

Equal Opportunity Employer / Disability / Veteran

Columbia University is committed to the hiring of qualified local residents.

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