Common App - Vice President, Communications and Public Relations

VA, Arlington
Education - Marketing/PR/Sales/Business Development

Common App, a non-profit membership organization representing nearly 900 diverse institutions of higher education across all 50 states and 20 countries, seeks a seasoned, creative and dynamic leader to serve as its new Vice President, Communications & Public Relations. Acting as a strategic thought partner and member of the leadership team, this new vice president will be ready to tackle an ambitious set of agendas at one of the nation’s most impactful mission-centric education access organizations.

Reporting directly to President & CEO Jenny Rickard, the vice president must demonstrate deep experience in external communication strategies, public affairs, community engagement and media relations in order to conceptualize and implement Common App’s global strategic communications plan, with attention to its core mission of access, equity and integrity in the college admission process. 

More than 40 years ago, a small group of 15 forward-thinking colleges and universities came together to reimagine the college application process. What began as an experiment to simplify the admission process evolved into a college access movement. Common App’s steadfast commitment to the pursuit of access, equity and integrity in the college admission process has not wavered, but as the path to higher education and technology landscapes have evolved over time, the organization has been proactive and intentional in its response. It continues to serve member schools, the students who apply to them and the counselors and teachers who support them, and each year more than one million students—a third of whom are first generation—apply to college through Common App.

Common App’s proud history of leadership means it also has taken steps to address societal shifts and needs. Recent efforts to close the equity gap are effecting real change, specifically by educating all students—regardless of circumstance—about the value, attainability and affordability of postsecondary education. In 2019, Common App joined forces with Reach Higher, a college access initiative started by former First Lady Michelle Obama during her time at the White House. Common App is proud to continue that work with Reach Higher as part of the access and equity team, and events like College Signing Day celebrate and shine a spotlight on high school seniors and transfer students. To say it is an exciting time for Common App may be an understatement; the organization is embracing and extending its foundational commitment to access while enacting large-scale transformation.

To ensure that Common App is meeting the needs of this evolving community, the vice president will set the external brand and communication strategy and develop and support a unifying and consistent narrative within and across the organization. The Vice President, Communications & Public Relations will oversee the teams responsible for marketing and communications; conferences and events; and media and public relations. These teams will work in collaboration with others across the organization to focus on Common App’s overall global strategic communications plan, brand identity and organizational narrative as well as opportunities for public engagement and thought leadership throughout the field of K-12 and higher education. The vice president will demonstrate cross-organizational leadership and transparent decision-making as well as mission-centric, servant leadership on behalf of the organization and its values.

Inquiries, nominations and applications are invited. Common App’s consultants, Melissa Fincher, Lisa Meyer and Amy Crutchfield, can be reached at or via the desk of Christine Macias at

Candidates should provide a resume and a letter of application that addresses the responsibilities and requirements described in the leadership profile. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Common App values diversity and is committed to equal opportunity for all persons regardless of age, color, disability, ethnicity, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status or any other status protected by law.