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Robert Alexander - University of Rochester. Rochester, NY, US

Robert Alexander

Dean of Admissions, Financial Aid, and College Enrollment | University of Rochester


Alexander is an expert in undergraduate admissions, enrollment management, and curricular design.

Areas of Expertise (11)

Undergraduate Admissions

Test optional admissions

College Admissions


Higher Education Affordability

Nonprofilt organizations

Enrollment Management

Access and Education

College Affordability

Financial Aid in Higher Education

Undergraduate Education



Dr. Robert J. Alexander serves as the dean of admissions, financial aid, and enrollment management at the University of Rochester, with responsibility for more than 70 staff members, an operating budget of $9.4 million, and distribution of over $330 million in student aid. As a first-generation college graduate, his twenty-year professional career is animated by a passion for higher education’s transformational impact on a diverse array of students.

Alexander is active with the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the American Association of College Registrars and Admission Officers (AACRAO), the College Board, the Association of Governing Boards (AGB), and the American Marketing Association (AMA), speaking at national meetings regarding enrollment management and marketing strategies. His work has appeared in national publications, including the Association of Governing Board’s Trusteeship Magazine.

Prior to the University of Rochester, Alexander held senior administrative and teaching roles at various institutions across the United States. As vice president for enrollment and communications at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, his work increased undergraduate net revenue per student, doubled the representation of domestic students of color and the proportion of international students. As an academic leader and instructor of management, Alexander helped revamp the undergraduate curriculum and developed and taught in Millsaps’ nonprofit management program, combining Liberal Arts and Business concepts to provide skills for graduates to positively impact their communities.

While serving as the associate provost for enrollment at University of the Pacific in northern California, Dr. Alexander coordinated strategic plans that dramatically increased prospective student interest, increased university-wide enrollment to record levels, while simultaneously improving academic quality and financial metrics. As assistant vice president for enrollment management at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, Alexander’s efforts during and following Hurricane Katrina successfully restored enrollment and improved the institution’s reputation and impact on its surrounding community.

Education (3)

University of Pennsylvania: Ed.D., Higher Education Management 2012

Tulane University, A.B. Freeman School of Business: M.B.A., Management and Marketing 2005

Tulane University: B.S., Psychology 1999

Selected Media Appearances (10)

The Path to Affordable Ed

Rochester Beacon  print


“I’m training my staff at every institution to not just be admissions counselors, but to advocate and educate financial literacy,” says Rob Alexander, vice provost and dean of university enrollment management at the University of Rochester since June 2020. He previously served as vice president for enrollment and communications at Millsaps College in Mississippi, and before that in administrative and teaching roles at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., and Tulane University in New Orleans.

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Why a growing number of colleges and universities are becoming test optional

WXXI Connections  radio


Columbia is one of a growing number of colleges and universities that have become test optional, citing equity issues. We’ve reached out to colleges and universities in the region to inquire about their policies. This hour, we discuss the issue and current trends in the college application process with our guests: Shaun Nelms, Ed.D., superintendent of East High School, and professor at the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester Robert J. Alexander, Ed.D., dean of admissions, financial aid, and enrollment management at the University of Rochester.

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How parents can be involved in the college admissions process—without overstepping

University of Rochester  online


Parents and guardians of college-bound students are more involved than ever in choosing the right school—and that’s what their children want.

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Students approach admissions strategically and practically

Inside Higher Ed  online


"The best [essays] bring some tears,” says Robert Alexander, dean of undergraduate admissions, financial aid, and enrollment management for Arts, Sciences & Engineering, “but in the end, they’re tears of hope and let you see the inspiration and opportunity that bringing these students into our campuses will provide. Our community will get better because of them.”

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What We Look For: An Admissions Dean on What Really Counts, Especially When Standardized Tests are Optional

US News & World Report 2022 College Guide  print


Rochester's Robert Alexander provides an essay on how college applicants are evaluated right now, especially at a time when the SAT and ACT have become optional.

UR Dean of Admissions on the perfect college admissions essay

WROC 8 Rochester  tv


Many high school seniors are currently going through the college admissions process, and an essay is a key part of most college applications. Rob Alexander, dean of admissions at the University of Rochester, joined us on Good Day Rochester to explain how students should approach their college admissions essays.

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The Future of the Campus Tour

Inside Higher Ed  online


At the University of Rochester, officials decided to resume small, one-hour tours of the campus this summer. Masks are required. In what the university says is "an abundance of caution," Rochester is only taking reservations for the tours one month in advance -- in case conditions change.

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Wild admissions ride: What 2020-21 may mean for fall

University Business  print


“Rochester was test optional before it was cool, but others who only adapted because of the pandemic will continue more flexible policies,” said Robert Alexander, Dean of Admissions, Financial Aid, and Enrollment Management at the University of Rochester. “I hope that change re-norms what was an overreliance on a single marker for college readiness.”

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Rochester remains strong New Dean of Admissions Robert Alexander discusses how this top research university has found 'opportunities' amid the obstacles and challenges of 2020.

University Business  print


When Hurricane Katrina tore through New Orleans in 2005, Robert Alexander was the assistant vice president for enrollment management at Tulane University.

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How to Write About Coronavirus in a College Essay

US News & World Report  online


"For some young people, the pandemic took away what they envisioned as their senior year," says Robert Alexander, dean of admissions, financial aid and enrollment management at the University of Rochester in New York. "Maybe that's a spot on a varsity athletic team or the lead role in the fall play. And it's OK for them to mourn what should have been and what they feel like they lost, but more important is how are they making the most of the opportunities they do have?"

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Selected Articles (3)

Institutions Must Begin the Work of Cost Transparency


Dr. Robert Alexander


Prospective students need accurate, complete, and individualized information about their expected costs to determine the institutions to which to apply, and to appropriately plan for how to pay the costs. We’ve asked experts to give their take on the key ways colleges and university can address the college affordability crisis and be more transparent on the costs of college.

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Everybody's Talking...But What Can We Do?


Dr. Robert Alexander


As enrollment officers become more engaged in the strategic planning efforts of their institutions, our focus will continue to widen beyond the old reporting lines of admissions and financial aid, broadening to include closer relationships with student retention, academic program development, and marketing. At institutions on the cutting edge, multidivisional efforts already underway reinforce the value for current students on our campuses, not only during the sales portion of recruiting new students but also throughout their educational experience. We’re beginning to think beyond graduation, to how institutions and alumni can deliver ongoing value through engagement in career networking and mentoring, fundraising activities, and as potential recruiters to perpetuate a virtuous cycle and sustain our colleges into the future.

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Wanted: A President with a Compelling Vision


Dr. Robert Alexander


Selecting the right president is the most important thing a board must do. But close behind is the need for the board to insist that board members and the president agree on and work together to carry out a strategic vision.

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