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Director Student Engagement Programs

Non Profit Organization

This is a Full-time position in Arlington, VA posted November 21, 2021.

Do you have a passion for higher education?

Do you want to make a positive impact on the college admissions process?

Our staff helps to remove barriers and encourage students to forge their path to a better future.

Common App is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the pursuit of access, equity, and integrity in the college admission process.

Each year we support more than 1 million students, one-third of whom are first-generation, as they apply to our nearly 900 diverse member college & universities using the Common Apps free online application.

If you have experience in education policy, college access, program and events management with a particular passion for encouraging and support first-generation students and students from low-income families navigate their path to and through this process, our Director Student Engagement Programs position could be the right fit for you!

Reporting to the Vice President Student Advocacy & Engagement, the Director of Student Engagement Programs leads the planning and execution of student engagement programs and activities to support college access and completion.

This individual supervises a team to ensure smooth and impactful student engagement programs such as texting intervention programs, College Signing Day, Beating the Odds, Excellence in College Counseling, and other stakeholder and partner activities.

Day to day, the director will work across Common App teams to ensure that the student perspective is incorporated, and work collaboratively with the Advancement team to support grant-funded student engagement projects and programs, and strategies to increase student engagement.

This includes interventions, events, student outreach, social media activations, event planning and management, VIP outreach, and communication to stakeholders.

The director will also work collaboratively with the Vice President Student Engagement & advocacy to translate overall strategic vision and organizational priorities into actionable plans that are set up for transparency, accountability, and success.

Additionally, the director manages programs associated with the Reach Higher initiative with a specific focus supporting first-generation, low income, minority students achieve higher education.

Started by former First Lady Michelle Obama during her time in the White House, Reach Higher inspires students across the country to pursue and complete a post-secondary degree, whether at a traditional four-year college or university, a two-year college, or through an industry-recognized certificate.

The initiative works to help young people realize their college potential and gives them tools to support their efforts to graduate.

The director represents the Student Advocacy and Engagement department on multiple cross-functional teams within the organization and other comparable leadership cohorts as assigned.


The ideal candidate will possess a bachelor’s degree or higher and ten or more years of experience in education policy, student affairs, communications, college access, school counseling, higher education administration, education practice; event strategy and management experience is preferred.

Candidates must understand the complexities of topics and issues facing the K-12 pipeline, college and career readiness, higher education and college access and completion.

Individuals must have program/project management experience with the ability to scope, develop, track and accurately manage projects/programs within timelines and budget; experience with grant funded projects is preferred.

This individual will manage a team and must have strong people development and management skills along with the ability to effectively lead change with varying levels of ambiguity.

This individual will represent Common App and Reach Higher though public presentations, speaking engagements and panel discussions and relationships with high profile partners; exceptional public speaking and relationship building skills are necessary for this role.

Common App is a virtual environment, individuals must work effectively as an individual and team member in a highly collaborative, diverse, virtual environment.

A passion for higher education is a plus.

This position will require travel for events.

Our staffs safety is a priority so we require employees who travel for Common App to be fully vaccinated.


Common App employees may work virtually from anywhere in the United States.

Common App values our employees’ time and efforts.

Our commitment to your success is enhanced by our competitive salary and an extensive benefits package including paid time off, medical, dental and vision benefits and future growth opportunities within the organization.

Plus, we work to maintain the best possible environment for our staff, where people can learn and grow.

We strive to provide a collaborative, team-oriented, creative environment where each person feels encouraged to contribute to our processes, decisions, planning and culture.