Going from university student to Miami employee

AJ Searle graduated from Miami with a degree in family science in May 2015. Two months after receiving his diploma, he was back at his alma mater working as an admissions counselor.

Originally from New Jersey, Searle said it was a big jump to stay in Oxford and work for Miami.

He views life as having three different types of people: people who peak in high school, people who peak in college and people who peak later in life. Searle hopes to be the person who peaks later in life.

“I had an awesome experience here as a student,” Searle said. “I absolutely loved every second of it, but I didn’t want people to think I was afraid to hop into something else.”

After graduation, he explored several employment options and interviewed for multiple jobs. But ultimately, he felt at home in the admissions office at Miami, where he loves his job.

During his time at Miami he was a campus tour guide, participated in undergraduate research and was a part of the a cappella group Soul2Soul. He first became a tour guide the summer before his senior year at Miami, and the experience opened his eyes to all the career possibilities in higher education.

Now, as a senior admissions counselor, he is able to use his college experience as a selling point for the university.

He works with the Office of Admissions to bring in each new class of students and plays a large role in making sure people feel welcome on campus. He’s also in charge of student tour guides. He reads some of the admission applications submitted, but he works mostly with the prospective student visit center. Being a recent alum helps him answer the questions visiting prospective students and parents ask about college life and campus culture.

One of Searle’s favorite parts of his job is feeling connected to student life at Miami. Working with 150 tour guides — all current students with different majors and backgrounds — exposes Searle to current events and happenings on campus.

“I love being a part of a community, and that’s what Miami has really showed me, even on the professional side of things,” Searle said. “I still get to be a part of the campus community and it really does keep things exciting.”

Moving from his status as a Miami student to a Miami employee has taught him a lot, but Searle says that it has showed him the uniqueness of the City of Oxford.

“Working here and creating connections with other staff and families and people beyond students, Oxford is such a uniquely beautiful town, because it has this perfect combination of great family community but also this rich campus environment,” Searle said.

Being on the professional side of the desk at Miami has offered Searle several opportunities that he feels have shaped how he sees his future. Although he is still working on figuring out his dream job, he knows for sure that his ideal career is in higher education. He can see himself working in student activities or advising in the future.

Searle is grateful that he has this experience of working for Miami immediately after graduation.

“When you learn about what the whole career of higher education really is, Miami does it really, really well, so I got lucky to get a position like this,” Searle said. “Working in this field, with this department with this team, has given me so many professional skills that are translatable to every college campus.”