Student affairs job market expects growth

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, careers in student affairs are expected to grow 19 percent from 2010 to 2020 because of increased enrollment in those programs coupled with a growing need for administrators in higher education.

At Grand Valley State University, Lindsay Greyerbiehl, a graduate assistant in the Dean of Students Office, is in her second-year in the College Student Affairs Leadership program.

“The CSAL curriculum prepares students for professional positions in institutions of higher education in a variety of areas, such as admissions, housing, student life, academic advising, recreation, financial aid, minority affairs, careers services and international affairs,” Greyerbiehl said.

The student affairs program is a 42-credit master’s degree in education with an emphasis in College Student Affairs Leadership. Students are required to complete research, a thesis and dissertation, two practicums, and an internship to graduate.

Aaron Haight, director of Judicial and Special Programs at GVSU’s Dean of Students Office, coordinates the CSAL graduate assistant program. She said the program was created in the early 1990s to help prepare students who are going into student affairs for higher education, and she added that the “program has grown a lot over the years”—with about 60 students currently enrolled.

Haight said the job market looks good for students graduating with the degree, as 90 percent of last year’s graduates were employed in a CSAL career somewhere across the nation.

“In this economy, people see more of an interest of going into higher education,” Haight said.

To promote student affairs, Greyerbiehl and two other graduate assistants at the Dean of Students Office are coordinating two main events as part of National Careers in Student Affairs Month. The first is a student affairs presentation, which will occur tomorrow from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in 2263 Kirkhof Center.

“(This event will) explore different careers in student affairs, what to look for in a graduate program, and how to find a program and graduate assistantship,” Greyerbiehl said. The event will also host a panel of current graduate students who will share their experiences and answer questions.

The other event is the Michigan College Personnel Association NextGen Conference on Sunday, which is “intended for students who may be interested in exploring careers in higher education,” Greyerbiehl said.

The daylong event will take place from noon to 6 p.m. in the Eberhard Center on the Pew Campus.

“Students will have the opportunity to meet long-time professionals in the field, obtain understanding to different types of graduate programs, gain insight to what we do and so much more,” she said.

Greyerbiehl said these events largely cater to people interested in student affairs or who have been nominated by a faculty or staff member. However, all students are welcome to attend as the events are held to raise awareness about the student affairs program and the career opportunities available for students.

“It is rare that students enter college knowing they want to pursue a career in student affairs,” Greyerbiehl said. “Students should attend to learn about an amazing career opportunity where they can impact and engage students on a daily basis through a multitude of avenues. Having a career in student affairs is demanding but also extremely rewarding.”

For more information, visit or

[email protected]