Director of University Guidance

African Leadership Academy

African Leadership Academy

Johannesburg, South Africa
Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Job Purpose:

African Leadership Academy serves a capable and diverse student population. ALA’s university guidance programme serves this unique population of students and parents in planning and pursuing successful transitions beyond ALA. In keeping with our leadership development philosophy, students are expected to take the lead in authoring their future. The University Guidance programme provides students and families with the information, resources, and coaching necessary to pursue their tertiary education.

At ALA, our mission extends beyond academic achievement. We recognise that nurturing the whole individual is paramount to shaping future leaders who are not only intellectually adept but also compassionate and socially responsible. Central to our approach is the cultivation of a supportive and inclusive community where students feel empowered to explore their identities, navigate challenges, and build meaningful connections with peers and mentors. Through personalised guidance, mentorship initiatives, and engaging programming, we provide a safe and nurturing space for students to develop the social and emotional skills essential for success in today's interconnected world. As Director of University Guidance, you will work closely with the Director of Student Success to ensure each student’s trajectory supports their life journey beyond ALA.

As Director of University Guidance, you will work closely with the Director of Student Success to ensure each student’s trajectory supports their life journey beyond ALA. You will be committed to collaborating with students, families, and faculty as you lead the passionate department that delivers the UG programme at ALA. As such, you will be responsible for ALA’s overall transition strategy. At this exciting time in ALA’s history, the Director will be able to build on a decade of success to expand ALA’s global transition footprint and develop industry-leading systems and processes.

Together, we uphold the values of integrity, excellence, compassion, curiosity, diversity, and humility, fostering an environment where each student feels valued, supported, and inspired to make a positive impact in their communities and beyond.

Key tasks and responsibilities:

Strategic Leadership

  • Develop and implement the university guidance strategic development plan, ensuring it reflects our context and the needs and aspirations of our students, parents, and other major stakeholders.
  • Coordinate the university guidance strategy, policy, and practice in the Academy in conjunction with the Dean of the Academy.
  • Ensure that university guidance and academic matters align and are working together in the best interests of students.
  • Develop and promote a collegial working environment, where university guidance counsellors feel empowered through appropriate consultation and communication and prioritising their individual professional growth in the context of whole school improvement.
  • Develop and maintain excellent parental relationships, ensuring a high level of communication and consultation, so that parents feel fully involved with the post-ALA transition planning of their child.
  • Produce a detailed University Guidance report to the Dean, indicating successes, areas for improvement and provisions for ensuring financial efficiency.

University Guidance Strategy

  • Collaborate with the Dean of the Academy to define and pursue an overarching transition strategy aligned with the Academy’s Strategic Plan and mission.
  • Develop, maintain, and enhance collaborative partnerships with leading universities and scholarship partners around the world.
  • Collaborate with marketing and Institutional Learning teams to develop and update departmental collateral for universities and parents.
  • Represent the Academy on college campus visits as well as relevant regional and international conferences and workshops.
  • Collaborate with university guidance counsellors on reviewing and enhancing the current University Guidance curriculum to effectively respond to the changing landscape of international university admissions.
  • Research and plan strategic travel itineraries to enhance ALA’s reputation and build stronger partnerships with universities around the world.
  • Collaborate with the Development, Networks, and Short Programmes teams to identify potential university and scholarship partners.

Financial Management

  • Prepare and manage the University Guidance budget effectively through good planning and resource management.
  • Review expenditure and align it with departmental goals.
  • Prepare monthly variance reports and review projected and actual costs to keep track of spending.
  • Collaborate with the university guidance administrator on monthly credit card reconciliation.

Program Design and Implementation

  • Design and deliver University Guidance classes, workshops, and webinars for students and parents.
  • Provide direct counselling and guidance to 25-30 students.
  • Review curriculum and instruction against changes in higher education and align with overall student well-being to mitigate stress and anxiety.
  • Collaborate with the Director of Student Success on developing individualised student roadmaps.
  • Collaborate with the Director of Teaching and Learning to develop teacher recommendation letter workshops and align on academic trends.

Staff Development

  • Provide managerial leadership, coaching, and guidance to a team of three counsellors and one office administrator.
  • Supervise the maintenance of departmental platforms such as MaiaLearning, PowerSchool, and Canvas.
  • Organise and implement team retreats, which include reviewing outcomes, and strategy, and developing or enhancing current offerings.
  • Collaborate with Institutional Learning on developing and collecting responses for the University Guidance survey, as well as leading discussions on findings and defining and addressing responses to students.


  • Develop a strategic communications outreach plan to universities to share updates and highlight students at ALA, including achievements of alumni at universities.
  • Collaborate with the Associate Director of University Guidance on the development and distribution of a monthly parent newsletter.
  • Ensure timely and informative updates to the Year 1 and Year 2 cohorts regarding opportunities, processes, deadlines, and other necessary information pertaining to the university guidance programme at ALA.
  • Engage existing university and scholarship partners on a regular basis to keep abreast of changes in processes and policies.
  • Respond to university requests in a timely and professional manner regarding student documents and outcomes.

Person Specification:



  • Ability to work collaboratively within the department and across divisions.
  • Receptive to feedback and the desire to learn.
  • Respect for the views of parents and a commitment to the importance of the involvement of parents in the learning process.
  • Uphold the values and ethos of the school by actively promoting an emotionally secure, warm, stimulating, and safe environment appropriate to the needs of the individual pupils and their families.
  • Professionalism and consideration of the well-being of children.
  • Ability to act as an effective and compelling ambassador for the school.
  • Respect for all members of the community, irrespective of position, gender, age, sexual orientation and ethnicity.
  • A positive, resilient, and solution-focused attitude to working life.
  • A flexible approach and a willingness to get involved wherever needed.
  • A commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.

Skills and Knowledge

  • An excellent understanding of international university application processes in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe.
  • Experience working with students from low-income backgrounds and a thorough understanding of financial aid applications and policies.
  • An established network of colleagues and/or affiliations with NACAC/International ACAC or similar professional organisations.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills to engage with stakeholders at various levels.
  • Strong organisational skills and attention to detail.
  • Ability to work with students from diverse backgrounds.
  • Ability to work within budgetary guidelines and able to forecast.
  • Ability to analyse data and make data-informed decisions.

Qualifications and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree conferred by an internationally recognised higher education institution.
  • A minimum of seven years of experience working in the university guidance counselling or admissions field.
  • A minimum of two years of managerial/leadership experience.


  • Willingness to contribute to thought leadership regarding university admissions. Commercial acumen.
  • Understanding of Cambridge International A-Level curriculum. Knowledge of the rapidly changing sector internationally.
  • Ten years of experience working in the university guidance counselling or admissions field.
  • Experience working with students from Africa.