The Complete Guide to the Student Affairs Profession

Posted in Blog on 04/22/2013

student affairs

Most people who end up working on a college campus in Student Affairs, did not set out that way in their career. Most people who work in Student Affairs on a college campus would also not trade their job for anything. The pay can often not compare to working in the corporate world, but their are numerous other benefits that simply do not exist in “Corporate America”.

Student Affairs was formulated all the way back in the 1600’s when Harvard University was founded. At that time, the professors at Harvard performed many of the duties that are now attributed to Student Affairs professionals. The profession has evolved through the years, and today is a vibrant and strategic partner on all college campuses.

What is Student Affairs?

Student Affairs is a career focused around providing students the tools and resources they need to be successful on a college campus, and after they graduate. Student Affairs professionals can have many diverse roles but they are all designed to add value to the college experience.

Student Affairs practitioners are not professors. While some of they may teach the occasional college course, as a whole, they do not teach in a classroom setting. Their teaching happens on a much more intimate setting. You might find them meeting with a student in their office and offering them counsel through a difficult decision, you might find them advising a student group on campus, you may find them attending graduation to their their advisees walk across the stage, or you might find them in the cafeteria eating lunch with some of their students. Simply put: Student Affairs professionals love students.

What Area Can I Work In?

The basic concept behind Student Affairs, is providing resources to students. These resources can come in many forms however, so most college campuses have an entire division of student affairs, with a number of different functional areas. **It is important to note that Student Affairs functions differ widely from campus to campus. The following are the traditional functional areas as identified by NASPA and ACPA**

Academic and Research Initiatives

  • Academic Advising
  • Career Development
  • Assessment and Research
  • Judicial Affairs

Alumni and Fundraising

  • Alumni Services
  • Fund Raising

Campus Life

  • Campus Safety
  • Student Centers
  • Student Activities
  • Leadership Development
  • Community Service
  • Fraternity and Sorority Life

Diversity and Inclusion

  • Multicultural Affairs
  • COmmuter Services
  • International Student Services
  • Disability Support Services
  • Religious Services

Health and Wellness

  • Health Services
  • Counseling Services
  • Wellness and Nutrition Education


  • Residence Life
  • Dining and Food Services
  • Off-Campus Student Services

New Student and Enrollment Services

  • Enrollment Management
  • FInancial Aid
  • Registrar
  • Admissions
  • New Student Orientation
  • First Year Experience

Sports and Recreation

  • Athletics
  • Recreation
  • Fitness Programs










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