Be a College Advisor

By Eric Hammer

One of the most gratifying professions you can have is that of helping children to decide where they should go to college. That's what a college advisor does and it's a very interesting job which can be quite rewarding, if you treat it as a calling rather than simply another 9-5 job. In essence, you'll be helping to shape people's futures. Here's what you need to know:

A college advisor works in a high school and basically helps the students to decide on their best path post high school. This means that you need to be able to evaluate the student's grades as well as her SAT scores and help her decide on exactly which colleges if any she has a realistic chance of attending.

You need to also be someone who can listen to students and understand what it is that they are interested in doing with their lives so that you can suggest appropriate venues for their education where they will get the kind of training that they need in order to go on to the career of their dreams. It's really quite an important and fulfilling role because you will in many cases be responsible for shaping the future of these students.

How Much Can You Make?

According to Salary.Com, a college advisor makes anywhere from $33,000-$50,000 per year depending on experience and location.

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The most important thing for a college advisor to be is a good listener. You need to help guide students in the right direction while also making sure that you are clear on what they can and cannot expect to get out of college. For example, a student with an average GPA and a 1080 on his SATs is not likely to get accepted to Harvard and thus you need to be prepared to help that student to find the kind of schools where he will feel comfortable that he is getting a quality education while being realistic about getting in.

You also need to be prepared to help students to choose their preferred professions as many kids simply aren't sure what it is they want to do when they go to college. This may mean interviewing them about their interests as well as reviewing their academic records to see what areas they happen to be strongest in.

It's also useful to keep in mind that while the title may be either college advisor or academic advisor, you will in some cases need to recommend that students don't attend college but instead attend a trade school which may give them a better shot at actually landing a spot and a decent job when they graduate.

Qualifications / Requirements

Generally, you'll need at least a bachelors degree yourself in order to become a college advisor. It can be helpful to have a master's degree as well in order to ensure that you have the grounding in schooling that is necessary to help the students to understand what college will be like.

First Steps

Start by earning your bachelor's degree and then looking into different college advisor positions. These can easily be found online. Be sure to check on the specific requirements that they have. You may need to take some additional college courses in order to work as a college advisor in some states. If so, do that as well.


Check out these helpful resources to learn more about becoming a college advisor:

UC Berkley: College Admissions Certificate Program - This is a certificate program from the University of California Berkeley which will help prepare you to become a college advisor or a college admissions expert.

eHow: How to Become an Academic Advisor - This is a good basic introduction to what it takes to become a college advisor.

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