Resources for Undergraduates

Graduate Prep Program Directory

Graduate School 101:  From Application to Acceptance

Sponsored by ACPA & the Coalition for Graduate Students and New Professionals

Are you an undergraduate student interested in pursuing a graduate degree in student affairs?  Are you a faculty or staff member who has students interested in the field of college student development?  This webcast was presented on October 26, 2011 and was designed to provide an overview of navigating the graduate admissions process in student affairs.  From deciding between a part-time versus full-time program to having a successful campus interview, a panel of faculty, staff, and current graduate students shared their expertise on graduate programs in student affairs. If you are interested, we have posted a recording of the webcast with a transcription here. Coming soon!

Are you considering a career in Student Affairs, but are looking for more information?  You have come to the right place!  The Coalition for Graduate Students and New Professionals provides support and guidance to undergraduate students.  Below you will find information ranging from conferences, where to look for a job, where to get the latest news on student affairs and some helpful reading material on the profession.  The Coalition for Graduate Students and New Professionals provides two elected chairs to help support and recognize the needs of undergraduate students within ACPA.  If you have questions, comments or concerns, please contact Jess Colwell ([email protected]) or Jordan Edelman ([email protected]).

Are you still deciding if Student Affairs is right for you?

Next Generation Conference

Are you interested in meeting other students who are interested in student affairs?  Are you interested in talking with seasoned professionals?  Then, the Next Generation Conference is for you!  Next Gen is a unique opportunity for about 100 undergraduates from across the nation to learn about careers in student affairs.  Participants will meet and learn from current graduate students, graduate preparation program faculty, and seasoned student affairs professionals who work at a variety of colleges and universities across the country for two days in March at the same location where ACPA's national conference takes place.  To learn more about this opportunity, explore last year's Conference.  Check out videos and quotes from Next Gen alumni, planning committee, and ACPA members about their experience with Next Gen!  Check out more information about the Next Gen Conference.

Interested in having a mentor? 

Are you interested in learning about student affairs from someone not on your undergraduate campus?  Then the SCGSNP Mentoring Program is a great opportunity for you.  This program will match you with a graduate student or new professional who will in turn assist you with everything you could want related to graduate school and student affairs.  If you are interested please fill out this form and someone will be in contact with you shortly for pairing.

Are you trying to figure out which graduate preparation programs you should apply to?

ACPA has a comprehensive directory of Graduate Programs Preparing Student Affairs Professionals, developed by the Professional Preparation Commission of the American College Personnel Association.  Make an informed decision about your choice to go to graduate school and find out more information here.

Are you interested in finding a job in the field?

Perhaps you have decided to get your feet wet in the field first before going to graduate school.  Explore the list below of online job listings for positions in student affairs:

ACPA On-Line Placement

ASJA Career Center

Chronicle of Higher Ed Jobs

Higher Ed Jobs

LGBT Job Listings

NASPA Placement Exchange


Are you interested in reading more about student affairs?

Student development research is the foundation the work our profession uses with undergraduate students.  Take a few moments to read what some of the professionals have to say in our field:

Beginning Your Journey: A Guide for New Professionals in Student Affairs (2009)

Marilyn J. Arney & Lori M. Reesor

Job One: Experiences of New Professionals in Student Affairs (2004)

Peter Magolda & Jill Carnaghi

Where You Work Matters: Student Affairs Administration at Different Types of Institutions (2006)

Joan Hirt

Forgotten Promise: Race and Gender Wars on a Small College Campus

Gretchen Von Loewe Kreuter

Critical Issues for Student Affairs: Challenges And Opportunities (2006)

Arthur Sandeen & Margaret Barr

The Gatekeepers

Jacques Steinberg

Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World (2009)

Don Tapscott

College of the Overwhelmed: The Campus Mental Health Crisis and What to Do About It

Theresa Foy DiGeronimo

Beyond Borders: How International Developments are Changing Student Affairs Practice (1999)

Jon C. Dalton

Learning Reconsidered 2: A Practical Guide to Implementing a Campus-Wide Focus on the Student Experience

Edited by Richard P. Keeling


Do you keep hearing about professional associations, but you're not sure what they are?

Professional associations are smaller groups of individuals within the larger profession of student affairs.  Associations may be based on type of interest, region or division.  Consider joining a professional association in your field(s) of interest - or at least check out its website.  While not all associations have membership options for undergraduates, many may be willing to help you find a mentor in your field of interest.  As of 2008, ACPA's undergraduate membership is just $25 per year. 

Friend the Coalition for Graduate Students and New Professionals: ACPA SCGSNP

News, blogs, twitter - O, My!

Blogs and higher education news websites can be a great way to figure out from different perspectives both what's going on and what it's like to work in the field of student affairs.

Resources for Graduate Students

  • Make new contacts and find mentors. Attend conferences and events like ACPA's Convention Colleagues program (run by SCGSNP with help from the other coalitions and commissions), which links experienced professionals with graduate students or new professionals.
  • Join the professional association for your intended discipline.
  • Consider giving back to the profession by generating new research. If you're interested in continuing with a PhD program, read what a panel of five graduate students and new professionals had to say during a session at the 2007 Joint Conference (PDF). You can also download the handout (PDF) that was passed out at the session. ACPA's Professional Preparation Commission maintains a list of graduate programs in student affairs.
  • Share your knowledge by presenting at the annual conference. As a graduate student, you can propose a session, team up with a professional/mentor to present a session, or present a paper at the graduate student poster sessions. Instructions for submitting a proposal can be found at the upcming conference's site. SCGSNP selects a number of sessions to sponsor at every conference, so your session might receive our highlighting!
  • Come to the annual conference! SCGSNP offers a scholarship to help graduate students attend their first national conference.
  • Promote the field to undergraduates. Start a tradition or continue to support Careers in Student Affairs month in October. Download the ACPA Careers in Student Affairs Month Flyer for suggestions on your campus.

Helpful Reads

Magolda, P.M., & Carnaghi, J.E. (Eds.). (2004). Job one: Experiences of new professionals in student affairs. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Advancing Supervision: Supporting Graduate Students by Strengthening Supervisory Relationships (PDF): Handout for a SCGSNP-sponsored session at the 2005 annual conference.

Resources for New Professionals

  • Explore professional development opportunities. Your department or student affairs division may have funds for you to attend local, regional, or national/international conferences.
  • Join a professional association in your discipline.
  • Find a mentor. A mentor is not necessarily the same thing as your supervisor. If you are having difficulty finding on our your own campus, come to Convention Colleagues at ACPA's annual conference and make some contacts with experienced professionals looking to support new professionals.
  • Keep up on the latest research.
  • If you do not already have a graduate degree, you should consider pursuing a graduate degree in the field. ACPA's Professional Preparation Commission maintains a listing of programs that can prepare you for student affairs. Masters degree programs in the field are called by different names such as Higher Education Administration or (College) Student Personnel Administration. They may come in a variety of forms including M.A., M.S., M.Ed., or MS.Ed. Some emphasize a counseling perspective, while others may focus on administration or student development. The Professional Preparation Commission's page list a number of things to think about when selecting a graduate preparation program.
  • Promote the field to undergraduates. Start a tradition or continue to support Careers in Student Affairs month in October. Download the ACPA Careers in Student Affairs Month Flyer for suggestions on your campus.