Our So You Want My Higher Ed Job series highlights desirable careers in Higher Ed. We interview professionals employed in desirable Higher Ed jobs and ask them about the reality of their work, their career path, and any advice they can share for others interested in their jobs.
Today we have the privilege of interviewing Katie Krodinger. Katie is the Assistant Director of Admissions for New Student Programs at Southeast Missouri State University. She took a few minutes out of her hectic schedule to share about her career in New Student Programs. Katie’s passion for her work clearly shines through in her interview, and she offers some invaluable advice for anyone looking to pursue a career in Orientation (or any other Higher Ed field for that matter!).
Take it away Katie…
1. Could you please briefly describe your current position?
I am the Assistant Director of Admisions for New Student Programs at Southeast Missouri State University, where I coordinate orientation for all incoming students (both new first-time and transfer). This includes nearly 25 events annually, and supervision of the Orientation Leader team. I also organize Opening Week activities (and its 100+ student volunteers), some freshman transition efforts, and our first-year parent newsletter. And as a part of the admissions staff, I participate in recruitment efforts, including Financial Literacy presentations.
2. What was your career path to arrive at your current position?
I worked in Southeast’s Admissions Office from my freshman year of college, first as an ambassador, then a student staff member, and finally as the event coordinator for our largest recruitment event, Show Me Day. As an 18-year old, it didn’t occur to me that talking to people about college and helping them make a decision for their future was a career path, but once I realized it was, I knew that is where I belonged. I found my passion not only for the college experience, but making sure that each student and family found a place that was right for them academically, socially, and financially. After graduating, I worked for a year and a half at Truman State University, where I traveled as an admission counselor as well as coordinated their summer orientation, Becoming a Bulldog. I returned to my alma mater as a Financial Counselor in Student Financial Services, where I worked for 9 months. A background in financial aid and navigating the process of paying for college is invaluable in my current role. In August of the following year (during Opening Week!), I took over my current position.
3. Could you walk us through a typical day for you?
There is no typical day! That’s one of the best parts about the job. Every day involves its own set of tasks and challenges. Some days it might be planning committees, some may be event set-up, some are days I spend on the phone with our incoming students. The only constant for me is that each day brings a new opportunity to ensure that a student and their family are having their needs met, and that Southeast is making their transition to college life easy for them.
4. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
The most rewarding moment for me is when a student comes out of their advising session at First STEP (new student) Orientaiton, fall schedule in hand, and picks up their student ID. They check-out for the day and are so excited to officially be a college student, and have all their questions answered. I’m also a pretty big fan of Move-In Day in August!
5. What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Trying to make Orientation both fun and informative. It can be difficult to strike a balance when so many departments on campus need to share their information with families and students on that day.
6. Would you have any advice for someone looking to go into the Orientation or New Student Programs field?
Gain as much knowledge and experience as you can in all steps leading up to orientaiton for a student. Be familiar with the admission process, scholarships, housing, financial aid, etc. The more you can answer questions for a student without sending them all over campus, the better. The relationshhips you build with your partners in other departments on your campus is the key to your success, and don’t plan on getting to use your desk chair very often!