I am just curious - who reviews undergrad admissions at a university (say in the US, to make the question more concrete)? Are people in departments involved at all? Or is it university wide? How are these people hired and what are their qualifications?

I am not applying for undergrad, I'm a postdoc. I know that there's committees for graduate hiring, for postdoc hiring and TT hiring that are in the department.

This is a question about university structure. I am asking this question as someone who hopes to be TT soon - what will my relationship be to undergraduate admissions?

  • 2
    This task is nearly always handled by a specific "department" of the college/university. The name of that "department" varies, but one of the most common names is Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 9:12
  • Admission Committee
    – Neuchâtel
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 9:23

1 Answer 1


In most places, the scale of the problem results in this being a largely clerical problem. Most colleges and universities have an office responsible for advertising programs, processing, and accepting or rejecting undergraduates.

The "admissions office" likely hires counselors, and sometimes students, to interact with secondary school academic counselors and with individual students.

One reason for this is that it is seldom necessary to declare a "major subject" during application in the US. The education itself is quite generalized with everyone studying broadly. Thus, a math department, say, doesn't really get involved, though it might be occasionally asked concerning some specific student.

As a postdoc you would be very unlikely to ever be in the loop and certainly not as a job requirement.

Note, however that someone at the university needs to set policy for the "admissions office". Faculty might be involved in that, but it is more likely to be tenured faculty who have some experience with the institution. Not guaranteed, but likely. Good universities also tend to want to "clear the decks" for untenured faculty to give them a chance to learn to excel at the institution.

  • Thanks for the response, this was helpful. As a postdoc I'm pretty out of the loop of most university stuff, lol. It is nice though - I just get to focus on research and teaching which is the fun part. As a TT or tenured prof, it sounds like I will not be involved in undergrad admissions much if at all which is fine by me.
    – xyz
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 15:42
  • I'm in my 54th year on the faculty, and I've never been involved in undergrad admissions. Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 20:56
  • Some institutions, like mine, have a faculty committee that develops admissions policy and might handle appeals from students who are denied admission. Commented Oct 19, 2022 at 3:24

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