Exploring Job Satisfaction and Turnover Progressions of Former Admission Counselors: A Retrospective Multiple Case Study



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The market for student enrollments is becoming increasingly competitive and four-year colleges and universities must seek effective prospective student recruiting practices to maintain solvency. Admission counselors, responsible for student recruitment are influential in the college decision process, are critical to the enrollment management enterprise. Although admission counselors are valuable to both the institution and prospective student, these professionals attrite at high rates. The constant need to replace and train new admission counselors is inefficient, costly, and can inhibit recruiting productivity. Institutions who can foster job satisfaction and retain productive admission counselors can improve enrollment operations and maintain institutional vitality. This qualitative study explored job satisfaction factors and turnover progressions of former admission counselors at four-year colleges and universities in Texas. The purpose of this study was to provide administrators a better understanding of challenges faced by admission counselors, identify opportunities to enhance job experiences, and impart effective employee retention strategies. Eleven former admission counselors were interviewed and their responses were analyzed for emergent themes. Results indicate that admission counselor turnover experiences are not comprehensively represented by the unfolding model of turnover (Lee & Mitchell, 1994). Dissatisfaction was associated with limited career mobility, professional development, inadequate compensation, incongruent values with leadership, pressure to drive enrollments, cyclical nature of work, and team and working relationships. The unfolding model was expanded to include nuanced turnover progressions of admission counselors.



Admission Counselor, Turnover, Higher Education, Job satisfaction