“Thoughts From A..” interview Series provides you with a small glimpse of different career paths and advice on getting there.
*Note that Amanda answered these questions when she was working in Admissions.
Amanda, Admissions Outreach Representative, Bay Area CA
My name is Amanda Cheung and I currently work in Admissions at UC Santa Cruz. I have been working in Admissions since July 2016. I live in the Bay Area, CA! *She is now traveling the world and being awesome!
Q1: How did you get to where you are now?
Amanda: During college I really wanted to go into academia to be a modern Chinese history professor. Following graduation in 2015, I taught English language in Taiwan through the Fulbright program. There my interests changed – I wanted to stay in education, but not through teaching history. Once I came back in May 2016, I decided to apply to jobs at community colleges and universities to get see what it’d be like working in higher education/student affairs.
Q2: What inspired you to take on this job?
Amanda: I always wondered what university admissions was like, and this was my chance to be on the other side. I have been in two contract positions so far – the first as an admissions outreach representative during the summer/fall and a frosh application reader during the winter. I was drawn to the outreach position because I would get to do presentations and work with high school students to help them get more informed about the college admissions process, which is something I wish I had more of at that age.
Q3: What is one thing about this job that you really enjoy?
Amanda: I loved interacting with students! My favorite part was just being able to talk to students and help them understand what UC Santa Cruz is all about. Being able to connect to first generation and underrepresented students really motivated me to go to work each day to help these students achieve their dreams.
Q4: What would you say is a minor downfall with this job/career (if any)?
Amanda: The downfall to my job is that I am in contract positions. Many universities hire contract workers when they need the extra help, and it may be difficult to secure a full-time position. In addition, working in admissions gives you an overdose of certain tasks at certain times. In the fall, everyone is doing outreach so there is constant traveling and constant talking. I had to drive to at least 3 high schools a day and give the same presentation. One time, I did 5 presentations in a day and was so exhausted. In the winter, everyone has to focus on reading college applications. Sitting and staring at your computer screen reading applications for hours can be straining to your eyes!
Q5: What is one thing you would do differently when searching for a job?
Amanda: I would take notes after every interview about what questions were asked so I can be prepared for other interviews.
Q6: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in this career path?
Amanda: Going into student affairs isn’t something most people think of as a future career. I encourage those to explore their interests within higher education by getting involved in on campus orgs, working as a campus tour guide, as an RA, peer advising, etc. These positions will help give you exposure to what working in student affairs is like! I want to give myself more opportunities, so I applied for grad school to master’s degree programs in student affairs and will begin in Fall 2017.