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Jobs: Assistant Director, Special Cohorts

Date Posted: March 31, 2022

Job #: 21041-7


What does the person in this role do? 

The Assistant Director for Special Cohorts manages the recruitment and selection of the world’s most academically, technically, and entrepreneurially accomplished students. They are responsible for understanding pipelines of exceptional talent, developing relationships with the people who run them, and training staff about them. They further support the Selection team by coordinating the international selection process. 

How does this role advance the mission and vision of  our office?  

We work to recruit and enroll “some of the world’s most intelligent and creative individuals interested in an education centered on science and technology,” many of whom will come from the pipelines of exceptional talent that this person interacts with. They will support our staff in evaluating candidates from these pipelines, with a focus on access and equity, fostering an understanding of how to best contextualize accomplishments given resources and opportunities.  

What would make someone a good fit for this role, specifically? 

Someone who is a good fit for this role will have strong interpersonal skills to connect authentically with all of the various stakeholders, including students, faculty advisors, and enrichment program leaders. They will have the ability to communicate complex systems in easy-to-understand ways. They must be able to both see the forest and the trees: the overall ecosystem of exceptional achievement, as well as the individual circumstances and trajectory of each applicant.  

Where does this role fit in the organizational structure of the office? 

At MIT Admissions, an Assistant Director provides management and leadership of a specialized, critical programmatic area, reporting to an Associate Director who leads a team. The Assistant Director for Special Cohorts reports to the Associate Director for Selection. The position does not currently have any dedicated direct reports, but may exercise full or partial supervision of student or temporary workers, and is indirectly supported by Counselors and support staff from the Selection and Operations teams. 

Characteristic Duties + Responsibilities 

Specific Role Duties + Responsibilities 

  • Oversee staff training + selection processes that ensure the appropriate evaluation of students from within this academically distinguished cohort 
  • Work with faculty, current students, and staff to develop strategic initiatives and long-term planning to recruit and yield exceptionally promising prospective students.  
  • Coordinate travel to science fairs, math competitions, academic camps, and other such programs in conjunction with the Associate Director for Outreach and Associate Director for Staff Development.
  • Build and maintain relationships with key national and international organizations that develop and identify academically outstanding students
  • Coordinate reading and selection process for international applicants in conjunction with the Associate Director for Selection
  • Serve as liaison with other campus partners to support international applicants and admitted students during the enrollment process

General Admissions Duties + Responsibilities 

  • Read and evaluate approximately 2,000 domestic and international first-year and transfer applications annually, requiring regular evening and weekend work from late October through May.
  • Participate in the first-year and transfer selection process.
  • Schedule, plan and present numerous regional recruitment information sessions throughout the country, generally requiring 3 to 4 weeks of travel.
  • Other travel requirements include attendance at local and national college fairs, and occasional professional conference participation. 
  • Regularly serve as the designated available Admissions Officer at the Cambridge campus, presenting information sessions and answering questions from visitors.  

Qualifications, Requirements, Preferences


The fundamental qualifications for any admissions officer include the following: 

  • The ability to read and write quickly, accurately, and well, with keen attention to detail, and the ability to discern pattern from chaos 
  • The capacity to rapidly form a well-supported opinion, and just as rapidly defer to the collective judgment of the committee when situationally appropriate
  • The adaptability to succeed in multiple professional contexts: reading at home alone, discussing cases in committee, and traveling to speak publicly before large audiences
  • The discretion and tact to discuss deeply sensitive matters, and the integrity to be entrusted with extremely important decisions
  • The initiative to work independently with minimal supervision over sustained periods

Certain roles in the office require specific skills, but these are the underlying attributes common to people who tend to enjoy, and do well in, the admissions profession. 


A successful applicant will be able to demonstrably meet the following requirements: 

  • A bachelor’s degree (in any field) 
  • At least three years experience, including at least two years of experience related to college admissions, academic advising, or related field
  • Demonstrable ability to support MIT’s goals of access, equity, and inclusion  
  • Excellent project management skills and experience developing and managing programs 
  • The interpersonal ability to manage the concerns and interests of many different stakeholders 
  • Experience taking initiative to transform ideas into practical solutions
  • The ability to perform regular evening and weekend work during the academic year, and a few (cumulative) weeks of travel by air annually. 
  • A driver’s license 


The following attributes may be a plus, but are not expected or required: 

  • A graduate degree (in any field) 
  • Experience with Technolutions Slate 
  • Supervisory experience