Susie Hakeman
Associate Director of Admission Operations
Central College (IA)

What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
I first got involved in higher education as a college student working as a tour guide, resident assistant, and leader of our campus activities board. I started my professional career right out of college as a residence hall director in St. Joseph, Missouri, for two years and then relocated to Pella, Iowa, and have worked in the admission office for the past 10 years.

What is your favorite part of the job?
I absolutely love watching families come to Central College for their campus visits. Some families might be visiting for the first time, while others are on campus for the third or fourth time. Each experience is so important to a student in helping them find their best fit. I love seeing the way our student ambassadors interact with families by sharing their personal experiences.

I also love having the opportunity to lead our operations and student ambassador teams. They are a great group of professionals who work extremely hard every day to help benefit the students.

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
I became involved with Iowa ACAC 10 years ago as a Government Relations committee member. That allowed me to take another step forward in my leadership journey by joining the executive board for three years and leading the committee to coordinate Visit the Hill experiences for college admission professionals, high school counselors, and graduate/high school students. I also had the opportunity to be recognized and awarded Admission Professional of the Year within Iowa ACAC. I’m very grateful to have that experience!

I got the chance to attend my first-ever NACAC conference last year. It was a great experience meeting and networking with other professionals!

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today? 
There are many challenges, as this is a fast-paced environment, but currently we are all faced with the challenge of the new FAFSA rollout and delay.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I love spending time with my husband and our three little boys – twins who are 6 and a 4-year-old. We enjoy playing with Legos, competing in sporting events, and woodworking. We are also adding 3,500 square feet to our house and doing a lot of the work ourselves!

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
I don’t know a lot about this, but my kids would answer Princess Peach from Super Mario Bros. They are obsessed and always so thoughtful about including me in their interests!


Published April 8, 2024