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Jobs: Assistant Director, Special Cohorts

Date Posted: June 20, 2024

Job #: 24147 (apply here)


What does the person in this role do? 

The Assistant Director for Special Cohorts leads targeted recruitment initiatives and evaluation processes for academically, technically, and entrepreneurially distinguished college applicants. They build and maintain relationships with key national and international organizations that identify and develop such students, and partner internally with stakeholders with a special interest in students with unusually advanced abilities. They also coordinate reading and selection processes for international applicants and serve as a liaison for international students with other MIT offices.

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

This role is responsible for identifying, recruiting, and evaluating applicants who have demonstrated unusual academic, technical, and entrepreneurial abilities —  even by the standards of MIT students generally —  who will benefit from the unmatched resources of an education at the Institute and be dynamic intellectual and interpersonal contributors to the broader community. It also expands access to international students by adding dedicated capacity to attend to all of the complexity of the world’s educational ecosystem.

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

Someone who is a good fit for this role will have a genuine personal affinity for students with unusual interests and aptitudes, an unmistakeable sense of broad intellectual curiosity and responsibility that generates credibility and and trust with stakeholders, and a tremendous amount of attention to detail and good judgment when it comes to mapping and navigating complex educational systems. 

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, and will supervise a team of up to 5 student workers and/or temporary staff.

Characteristic Duties + Responsibilities 

Specific Role Duties + Responsibilities 

  • Develop and lead targeted recruitment initiatives to attract and recruit distinguished college applicants in academically-oriented, co-curricular and extracurricular programs
  • Work with faculty, current students, and staff on long-term strategic planning to recruit and manage these specific applicants
  • Travel to science fairs, math competitions, academic camps, and other similar programs
  • Build and maintain relationships with key national and international organizations that develop and identify academically talented college applicants
  • Develop strategies and campaigns to yield admitted distinguished 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 
  • Counsel walk-in visitors, complete email correspondence and respond to phone calls from prospective students and guidance counselors.  Regularly conduct on-campus information sessions for visiting students and parents
  • Will be eligible to work a combination of in-office days and remote days each week

Qualifications, Requirements, Preferences


The fundamental qualifications for an 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 in college admissions or related field
  • Demonstrable ability to support MIT’s goals of access, equity, and inclusion 
  • Excellent interpersonal, organizational, communication and public speaking skills
  • The ability to work independently with minimal supervision over sustained periods with superior judgment and discretion
  • 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: 

  • Leadership and supervisory experience
  • Proficiency in SLATE (Technolutions)