Often, when I tell people my Master’s degree will be in College Student Services Administration (CSSA), I am met with a blank expression. I usually have to follow-up with an explanation about what I will be able to achieve professionally post-graduation. Before I start regularly blogging about my experiences in the CSSA program, I wanted to give a brief explanation about what it is students in the CSSA program learn and aim to do with this degree.
If you’ve ever interacted with college offices including (but not limited to) Undergraduate or Graduate Admissions, Academic Advising or the Academic Support Center, you’ve worked with student affairs professionals who offer support to the diverse population of potential students, enrolled students, or graduates from The College of Saint Rose. While student affairs can have many meanings, here are just a few of the goals of student affairs professionals based on my experiences in the CSSA program:
- To understand the needs of students coming to college who bring with them a unique set of experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives that shape their view of the world and college experience. If you’re sitting in a college classroom, look around you. You are likely to see individuals with different ethnicities, ages, religions, sexual orientations, and certainly life experiences from your own. Each college student has a variety of visible and invisible identities that student affairs professionals must be prepared to understand, respect, and consider when helping each student reach their personal and academic goals.
- To use their knowledge about diverse student backgrounds (#1) to aid students in making unbiased, informed decisions and offer support. A student affairs professional must have a solid knowledge base about their department and offices across campus. He or she uses this knowledge to present a student (while taking his or her background characteristics into consideration, a.k.a. #1) with an array of options and resources the student can then use to further decision-making and academic and social development.
- To develop programs for students and/or college employees which impact the growth and learning of those who take part, and regularly evaluate those programs for effectiveness. If you went to the Career Center’s Career Carnival event last week, you learned about the Career Center’s services and facts about job searching in a fun and interactive way. If you are a first-year student paired with a mentor through the ALANA is Leadership program, you will develop a relationship with another Saint Rose student and discover ways to get involved on and off campus. Programming comes in a variety of forms, but the goal is to help members of the campus community reach their academic, social and career aspirations.
One of the main reasons I chose to enroll in the CSSA program is because as a freshman student, I had a lot of difficulty adjusting to college life. If it weren’t for the on-campus professionals I developed genuine relationships with, I don’t think I could have become successfully acclimated to college life. I would like to spend my career returning the favor and helping students reach their own personal and professional goals.
If you are interested in a degree in College Student Services Administration, please contact Graduate Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org or (518) 454-5143!