“Thoughts From A..”interview Series provides you with a small glimpse of different career paths and advice on getting there.

Kristen, Residential Coordinator, Stanford, CA

I am a Student Affairs educator in Higher Education, focusing specifically on Residential Education and community development on college campuses. Right now, I work at Stanford University as a Residential Coordinator for Pre-Collegiate Studies, where we host high school students in the summertime while they experience the life of a college student. I just began this position 4 weeks ago and previously worked as a live-in Coordinator for Residential Education at a nearby institution for two and a half years. Overall, I am committed to helping students along their journey in Higher Education.

Q1: How did you get to where you are now?

Kristen: I was a Residential Assistant in college and realized I enjoyed the work I was doing in this capacity more than I enjoyed my Pre-Law coursework and the idea of being a lawyer. I sought out Masters Programs in Higher Education & Student Affairs and began this degree work right after college. I haven’t looked back on this career path since.

Q2: What inspired you to take on this job?

Kristen: I enjoy helping students learn about what it means to be in community and I wanted to help pre-college students develop these skills in the program I am working in. I also wanted to work with the talented staff at Stanford.

Q3: What is one thing about this job that you really enjoy?

Kristen: Interviewing candidates for our summer staff positions and learning about their passion for helping others.

Q4: What would you say is a minor downfall with this job/career (if any)?

Kristen: Less student contact during the majority of the year (I am only actively helping students during the summer).

Q5: What is one thing you would do differently when searching for a job?

Kristen: Be open to positions that maybe seem outside of your current scope of work; at first I wasn’t sure if working with pre-college students instead of colleges students was going to be as fulfilling for me. I quickly realized, though, that the meaning of my work can be found when working with both groups of students.

Q6: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in this career path?

Kristen: Find a mentor (or several!) to point you in the directions of resources that help you. I was able to find my Master’s program, feel confident in the interview process, and then feel supported in my time in the program because of a couple of great mentors that I had. Having this support from the beginning of my career tremendously helped me connect to the field in expedited ways.


For more information on working in student affairs, I’ve included some links below:

  1. Women in Student Affairs
  2. StudentAffairs.com
  3. Careers in Student Affairs
  4. Stanford’s description of Student Affairs

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