Paper Clips 1Consider a Career in Student Affairs

Can I do this for a living?

Many undergraduates enjoy their student leadership and employment experiences, but have you considered making a career of those experiences?

Student affairs careers vary by college or university, but can include advising, counseling, program and event management, and training. However, a career in student affairs allows you to take on responsibilities you did not have as an undergraduate, such as facility management, human resources functions, budget development, and evaluation and assessment.

A career in student affairs might be a good fit for you if you:

  • Enjoy working with students
  • Enjoy the college or university campus environment
  • Have the initiative and interest in pursuing further degree
  • Have good planning, communication, and leadership skills
  • Want to make a difference in other college students’ lives

Student affairs departments

On some campuses, many of these departments are grouped under one functional area, whereas others might have staff members assigned to one specific area. Among the many departments within student affairs are:

  • briefcase2College unions
  • Greek life
  • Orientation
  • Student activities
  • Service learning/civic engagement
  • Multicultural programs
  • Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender programs
  • Women’s programs
  • Veterans programs
  • Support centers for students with disabilities
  • Art galleries
  • Career placement
  • Study abroad programs
  • Residence life
  • Recreation/fitness centers
  • Leisure/games room programs
  • Financial aid
  • Judicial affairs
  • Religious affairs
  • Commuter student offices
  • Student government advising
  • Graduate student association advising
  • Student employment office
  • First-year student programs
  • Leadership programs
  • International student centers


  • During their undergraduate careers most student affairs professionals were involved in campus activities and held leadership positions. Others worked in campus facilities that gave them insight into the profession.
  • Typically student affairs professionals have a master’s degree in counseling, student services, or higher education. Often senior-level positions require a doctoral degree.
  • In addition to coursework, students pursuing a student affairs career usually must complete a graduate assistantship and thesis.


Want to know more? Read a complete guide to a career in college unions and student activities!



Updated May 20, 2015