The Core Competencies consist of the knowledge, skills and dispositions that are necessary for all AACRAO professionals irrespective of their role at their institutions. Click any of the following links to access specific proficiencies related to admissions, records and academic services, or enrollment management.
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Functional Description: Identify the need for implementing a change within the organization based on data analysis and environmental scans, define the scope of the change, and provide the leadership required to execute the change. Develop coalitions necessary for to guide and support the change. Communicate the need and urgency for change to the campus community and plan execute a communication plan to keep the campus community informed about the status of the change.
Content knowledge requirements:Understanding of general literature surrounding organizational change (e.g., Kotter’s Leading Change) and popular change management methodologies (e.g., Six Sigma or Agile). Understanding of project management skills and means of communication.
Skill requirements: Strong skills in data analysis, project management, communication, staff development, business process and policy analysis, and creativity required.
Ethical requirements: Conduct aligned with the established AACRAO principles of professional ethics and practice in academic and enrollment services. Ensure that campus codes of conduct and ethics are followed.
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Entry level: Understands the general steps (e.g., planning, developing support, budgeting, leading, communicating) of implementing change and has been a part of organizational change as part of an enrollment management organization. Involvement in managing change limited to transactional or operational processes.
Intermediate level: Demonstrated success in leading a change project within an enrollment management organization. Projects are generally limited to within the organization itself, and leadership is limited to leading the implementation team itself. Changes generally limited to transactional or operational processes.
Expert level: Demonstrated success in leading change across a university campus. Projects
include service units and/or academic units beyond enrollment management organization.
Leadership required beyond the implementation team to ensure support
and success of the change. Success in anchoring the new change into the culture
of the enrollment management unit and the campus. Incorporates the needs to
change and/or develop policies for the campus. Leads transformational change
that fundamentally alters the vision or mission of the enrollment management unit
Functional Description: Admissions, registrar, and enrollment management professionals value and foster an environment that ensures respect, support and safety for all members of their campus and professional communities, and actively promote the expansion of ideas, perspectives, and understanding that comes from a diverse and inclusive community.
Content knowledge requirements: Broad understanding of social justice, racial, ethnic, sexual and gender identity
theories and their application within admissions, registrar, and enrollment management practices, structures, and objectives.
Skill requirements: Ability to identify systematic barriers to equality and inclusiveness and to purposefully
advance enrollment management processes and systems to contribute to an
inclusive campus climate.
Ethical requirements: Actively integrate diversity and inclusivity principles into all aspects of personal and
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Entry level: Integrate cultural knowledge on specific diversity topics into enrollment-related
programs and services, designing culturally relevant programs, services, policies
and practices. Willingness to assess and one’s own skill set regarding equity and
inclusivity and develop strategies to increase one’s understanding of other cultures.
Intermediate level: Building on basic skills, actively engage enrollment management staff in learning
opportunities to facilitate growth and understanding of social justice concepts, as
well as how to integrate these principles into their daily work. Use advocacy skills
to contribute intentionally to the creation of an inclusive campus climate and profession.
Expert level: The principles of diversity and inclusion are integrated into all activities, including
identification and elimination of barriers, resource allocation, strategic planning,
attracting and hiring individuals of diverse backgrounds, and personal and professional
leadership. Ensure enrollment management policies, practices, structures,
resources, and technologies contribute to a diverse and inclusive climate and represent
diverse abilities and beliefs. Serve as a leader on campus and across the
profession in fostering a culture that supports a safe and open exchange of ideas,
identifies instances of power and privilege, and actively works to address areas in
which diversity is not fully supported.
Functional Description: Ability to facilitate the processes needed to facilitate stakeholders involvement,
through the stages of collective and effective solutions.
Content knowledge requirements: Understanding and knowledge of the collaborative and consensus building processes.
Skill requirements: Ability to work effectively with diverse groups.
Ethical requirements: Understand the process necessary to directionally move stakeholders towards
consensus, while keeping the integrity of inclusiveness and diversity.
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Entry level: Understand the foundation of group dynamics, processes movement and consensus
building as a participant.
Intermediate level: Identifies and facilitates group dynamics resulting in resolution and implementation
of the identified goals.
Expert level: Employs high level of ability of inclusiveness, diversity and diplomacy with more
challenging group dynamics within the context of divergent subject matter.
Functional Description: Employs the ability to view the Institutional culture, holistically and systemically.
Has a working knowledge and understanding of applications of systemic thinking
principles the academic and service mission, goals and values.
Content knowledge requirements: Intimate knowledge of higher education and higher education cultures
Skill requirements: Ability to analyze and understand the interconnectedness of systems, cultures and
Ethical requirements: Willingness to view higher education philosophies and principles from different
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Entry level: Identifies interconnection of systems.
Intermediate level: Identifies the interconnectedness of systems and the relationship they have with
one another. Can see institutional cultural implications.
Expert level: Helps lead institutional strategic and SEM plans and initiatives. Employs the understanding
and interpretation of the interconnectedness of multiple systems, cultures
and process and the implications on the institutional. Has the ability to identify and
explain possible systemic change to the culture.
Functional Description: Understanding of institutional and external data in the context of what impact the
data has on the strategic enrollment goals of the institution. To be able to interpret
and apply the data for the purposes of short term and long range planning and
Content knowledge requirements: Higher education service and retention models and the significance of data in the
application of those models.
Skill requirements: Ability to analyze and understand the interconnectedness of data in the context of
the services to the institution’s strategic plan and contributing to fulfillment of the
Ethical requirements: Knowledge of principles of data integrity.
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Entry level: Understanding of institutional and external data and understanding data-driven
principles related to the institution’s strategic plan, mission and values.
Intermediate level: Working knowledge of institution and external data and the understanding of its
implications to the Institution’s strategic, enrollment and retention plans.
Expert level: Ability to interpret and apply the data to help the institutional strategic plan, plus the
institution’s strategic initiatives become operational and maintained.
Functional Description: Ability to identify the functions and business processes necessary to operate an
office, develop an operating budget, and build a professional staff to conduct the
activities of the office. Ability to identify utilization and operationalize customer and
student services best practices.
Content knowledge requirements: Budget development, understanding of the core business processes of the unit,
personnel management and development.
Skill requirements: Strong quantitative skills, management, leadership, and communications.
Ethical requirements: Understanding and practice of professionalism, integrity and best practices in the
areas of management and personnel.
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Entry level: Understands the basic operations of an office unit and is capable of assuming the
leadership of a functioning office and continue the activities of the office.
Intermediate level: Identifies best practices of the profession and develops plans and strategies to
improve existing business processes.
Expert level: Understands the full range of emerging technology of the profession and incorporates
strategies and solutions that meet the needs and goals of the office and
institution. Is viewed as a subject matter expert in the profession and shares his/
her expertise regularly with others in the profession.
Functional Description: Employs an analytical and creative approach to address problems, while drawing
on individual & collective skills, knowledge & experience.
Content knowledge requirements: Understanding and knowledge of foundational theory and practices of problem
Skill requirements: Understands various problem-solving techniques.
Ethical requirements: Ability to weight and implement the problem solving strategies equitably.
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Entry level: Identifies the problem and considers potential solutions.
Intermediate level: Identifies the problem and considers potential solutions. Employs multiple problem-solving
strategies. Seeks assistance as necessary.
Expert level: Employs multiple problem-solving strategies. Identifies possible explanations and
alternatives, identifies the information necessary to solve a problem, anticipates
obstacles, and develops contingency plans. Undertakes a complex task by breaking
it down into manageable parts in a systematic, detailed way. Presents problem
analysis and recommended solutions, rather than just identifying or describing the
problem itself. Seeks assistance as necessary.
Functional Description: Ability to carry out professional activities in an honest, professional and ethical
manner. To engender a climate of trust and fairness in all dealings with students
and colleagues within and outside the institution.
Content knowledge requirements: Understanding of AACRAO’s Statement of Ethics and Practice, applicable state
and federal laws, and institutional policies governing responsibilities within the
Skill requirements: Ability to identify a decision-making construct or process to guide ethical decisions;
ability to balance institutional policy, practices and resources with appropriate and
fact- and data-driven decisions; willingness to recognize how personal values and
beliefs may influence a decision and check those decisions with colleagues and
peers when appropriate.
Ethical requirements: Ability to recognize the conflict between personal interests, values, and beliefs and
professional responsibilities. Commitment to being truthful when sharing information
and advice with staff, peers, and colleagues, both within and external to the
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Entry level: Has a basic understanding of institutional policies, procedures, and resources;
state and federal law; and professional standards. Knows how to locate and
use available resources to find answers. Willingness to seek out and rely on the
expertise of others both to improve decision-making and as a means of expanding
Intermediate level: Comfortable answering questions and serving as a resource to others concerning
institutional policy and government regulations. Recognizes when to seek the
advice and guidance of others. In work with legal counsel, is able to summarize
relevant facts and discuss the legal and ethical issues involved in developing a
Expert level: Possess a thorough understanding of institutional policies and procedures, state
and federal laws, and professional standards as they relate to one’s own institution
or state, as well as to other institutions and states. Ability to differentiate between
what is legal and illegal and between what is ethical and unethical. Serve as an
expert and resource for students and colleagues.
Functional Description: The set of abilities enabling a person to interact positively and work effectively
with others. Development of the interpersonal skills of employees is a key goal
of training and development initiatives for many companies, and is considered a
constructive manner in which to handle office disputes and other personnel issues.
These skills include the areas of communication, listening, delegation of tasks, and
Content knowledge requirements: Verbal and non-verbal communication, listening skills, ability to draw information
from others, business etiquette, negotiation and consensus-building, problem-solving,
decision-making, social awareness, self-management, and assertiveness.
Skill requirements: Knowledge of appropriate business etiquette, verbal and non-verbal communication
skills, situational awareness.
Ethical requirements: Responsibility for using strong interpersonal skills to achieve mutually agreed upon
goals rather than for self-advancement at the expense of institutional goals.
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Entry level: Ability to communicate and interact with others individually and in groups. Work
well as part of a team and communicate effectively with a variety of constituents.
Awareness of how one interacts with others. Includes verbal and non-verbal communication
skills and listening skills.
Intermediate level: Ability to work with others to find a mutually agreeable outcome. Explore and analyze
options to make sound decisions. Communicate ideas, beliefs, and opinions
freely and appropriately. Ask questions and seek clarification. Understand that
others may have different points of view.
Expert level: Ability to negotiate, persuade, and give and receive feedback effectively. Recognize
verbal and non-verbal cues that the receiver feels uncomfortable with the
message and address appropriately. Recognize and adapt to the emotional climate
and expectations of the participant(s) for the interaction. Influence the attitudes
and behaviors of others.
Functional Description: The ability to possess the appropriate technological knowledge and skills to function
as a successful Enrollment Services professional.
Content knowledge requirements: Possesses functional and technical knowledge to complete Enrollment Services
responsibilities at a high level of accomplishment.
Skill requirements: Possesses technical skills commensurate with level of responsibility.
Ethical requirements: Conduct aligned to the established AACRAO principles of professional ethics and
practice in academic and enrollment services.
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Entry level: Chooses appropriate technology tools for tasks. Demonstrates functional experience
with Microsoft office or similar productivity software. Capable and willing to
share technical skills and knowledge with others.
Intermediate level: Knowledgeable of technical application for Enrollment Services processes. Improves
or redesigns processes using technical solutions to maintain efficiency.
Consistently shares ideas and knowledge with others, teaching skills and explaining
Expert level: Demonstrates an avid interest in continuously enhancing technical skills and learning
new ones; applies advanced technical knowledge and innovation to Enrollment
Service processes and complex functional problem solving. Selects optimum technology
tools for the design or redesign of core processes.