Always Be Learning

Longtime admissions professional Katrina Souder continues to up her skill set

Successful professionals know that they need to keep their skills sharp. This holds true for Katrina Souder, who continues to buttress her credentials even after a long career in admissions.

As senior assistant director of admissions for Brown University, Katrina knows that continuing education is a safe bet to hone her knowledge. “After being in admissions for more than a decade,” she says, “I found that it was time to refresh my knowledge base beyond what I was learning from just attending professional conferences and training.”

Working full time meant that Katrina didn’t have time to commit to a master’s program, but our Certificate Program in Student Affairs and Higher-Education Administration allowed her the flexibility to earn a respected certificate.

“This allowed me to demonstrate to my supervisor my long-term investment in the profession,” Katrina shares.

Steady Career Rise

Katrina certainly has a long career in higher education. In her undergraduate days at Stonehill College, she served as a tour guide and interned in her college’s admission office. She then jump-started her career as an admission officer at Salve Regina University and then took a promotion to senior admission officer at Marymount Manhattan College.

Her continued success meant that she stepped up the ladder to assistant director of admissions, first at Columbia University and now at Brown. Katrina certainly feels a sense of accomplishment, both in her professional achievements and in the mission she’s able to fulfill in the admissions profession.

“I chose admission,” she enthuses, “as I believe it is a higher-ed field that resides at the intersection of education and access, while also allowing me to still work closely with prospective students and their families.”

Online Convenience and Late Nights

The certificate experience was novel for Katrina because it marked her first sustained online educational experience. She dove right in, which meant many long nights as Katrina lives in Rhode Island.

“Because the classes were taught during the evenings in the Pacific Time zone, I was actually taking two classes that were two 3-hour blocks from 9 pm to midnight in my time zone,” she says with a laugh.

Coupled with the fact that Katrina was taking her courses during the high application-reading season of admissions, she had to give herself designated school and work times to ensure that she had the appropriate time for both.

Asked about her time-management skills with such a heavy schedule, Katrina shares her strategies: “I just practiced open communication with my instructors, especially surrounding the time of day of the courses. I found them all to be supportive and understanding of the need for balance—or even the need to turn my camera off from time to time when classes ran late.”

Practical Courses

Despite the tough schedule, Katrina happily applied her learning directly to her day-to-day work, which Katrina appreciated from day one. “History of American Higher Education shed some light on historical trends that impact much of our practice today,” she says. “Student Development in College: Theory to Practice challenged me to look more critically at the lenses through which I conduct my work.”

Katrina rates her experience in the certificate as “overwhelmingly positive,” with one unexpected benefit: “It was really beneficial to take courses from faculty and with students who mostly lived and worked in a different part of the country in a different educational system than I had professional experience.”

The supportive atmosphere encouraged Katrina throughout those long nights. “I found that people were open and eager to learn and the instructors made themselves more available than I had ever imagined,” she enthuses.

A Good Grounding in Higher Ed

When I ask her about how this certificate can benefit those looking to enter the field, Katrina is forthright.

“I think that these courses allow for a broad overview of the field and are approachable and applicable to many divisions of higher ed. This is a great entrypoint for folks who are looking to get back into education or to determine if a full master’s program would be of interest to them.”

Her last comment is particularly relevant given the relationship we have with the University of San Francisco (USF). You can apply 12 semester units earned from this certificate toward the USF Master's in Organization and Leadership. (If admitted, you will need to complete an additional 18 units to earn the USF degree.)

While Katrina took to the program quickly and finished it apace, she cautions that her enthusiasm might not be for everyone!

“I would encourage students to pace themselves,” she explains, “and don’t be afraid to prioritize your time management. I was able to balance two courses each term but that might not be best for everyone.”

That’s the type of dedicated professional that Katrina Souder is, always looking out for the students!