What Does a College President Do All Day?

Read the job description for a college president, and you’ll notice that the leader’s duties are divided into planning, leadership, and fundraising. As simple and straightforward as it sounds, a college presidency requires commitment and fortitude, and it’s not a position for those looking for fewer responsibilities and hours in a work week.

A college president carries a tremendous amount of responsibility while focusing on leadership, planning, fundraising and developing in-depth knowledge. This leader can pull down an impressive half-million dollar salary or more each year, but what does he or she do all day?


A college president is always a leader first. Everything he or she does must forward the university’s goals. A typical day spent leading the campus involves meeting with trustees, faculty, students and state education representatives.


A college president attends a variety of planning committees, ranging from college focus groups to state agency meetings. Planning meetings also include building and construction meetings, policies and procedures, courses of study, and more.


College presidents are accountable for fundraising, and a president who is also a rainmaker brings in the kind of significant funding necessary for the college to grow. These leaders must demonstrate a willingness to attend functions outside the traditional day, which can eat away at the personal time one might hope to have on evenings and weekends. 

Developing deep knowledge

Perhaps most importantly, college presidents need to know their constituents. That means spending time with a variety of stakeholders, including not only donors and education leaders at state and national levels, but also the students and faculty.

You may think the job looks easy, but here’s what a sample schedule for a college president looks like:

5:30 AM Wake up, exercise, shower, dress, check emails

6:30 AM Drive to first meeting

7:00 AM Breakfast meeting with school district superintendents

8:30 AM Meet onsite to review potential land acquisition

9:15 AM Meeting with college deans

10:30 AM Review financial audits and prepare report for the board

11:30 AM Visit campus cafeterias, talk to professors and students

1:00 PM Back to the office, follow up on emails, phone calls

2:00 PM Review new personnel policies and make recommendations for changes

2:30 PM Establish new committees to address campus concerns

3:00 PM Meet with the accreditation committee

4:30 PM Scheduled meetings with individuals

6:00 PM Check emails, follow up on requests

7:00 PM Attend fundraiser gala

11:00 PM Professional reading and writing

12:00 AM End of day

What does a college president do all day? She – or he – epitomizes the college’s philosophy through complete devotion to the job at hand.

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