6 Signs You Were Made to Work in Educational Policy


Some people are fine with sitting aside. And some are anything but. People like you aren’t happy simply waiting for progress. You’re not one to let others do the heavy lifting—and you definitely aren’t the type to turn your back on the issues that matter most to you.

You understand the intrinsic value in education and the need for individuals to safeguard it for generations to come. Tomorrow’s students need people like you who will advocate for them today.

Working in educational policy would allow you to play to your passions on a larger scale. But are you really driven enough for this field? Keep reading to see if you’re cut out to make a difference in this often overlooked area.

You should consider working in education policy if …

1. You have unparalleled patience

“When it comes to policy of any kind, but especially educational policy, patience is not a virtue, it’s a requirement,” says Dr. Chester Goad, educational policy advocate. “When we take our passions and interests and pursue making policy out of what we believe to be a worthwhile idea, it’s easy to become frustrated.”

Educational policy may test your patience, but good things take time. And when your accomplishments finally come to fruition, they’ll be all the more rewarding. After all, change doesn’t come easy and meaningful progress doesn’t happen overnight.

“There are thousands of policy changes that are made yearly at different levels of the education system,” says Mike Holiday of HomeSchoolBase, who worked in educational policy prior to shifting his focus to homeschooling. “Patience is needed because there is so much going on.”

2. You’re passionate about education

You’re passionate about education because you’ve experienced the transformative effects of good teachers firsthand. You may not have been top of the class, but maybe a teacher went out of their way for you. Maybe you saw the fault lines of the education system firsthand. Maybe you saw how an impassioned educator can make all the difference.

Whatever the case with your own experience, you’re passionate about quality education because you realize the power that comes with it. It’s exactly that passion that makes you well suited to work in educational policy. It will fuel your work and give you that extra edge to propel you to accomplish great feats throughout your career, helping students just like you.

3. You’re a natural networker (or can become one)

You’ve never been one to shy away from reaching out to new people and finding common ground with people from all walks of life. This ability to make contacts and build relationships will serve you well working in educational policy. You’ll be amazed what the right connections can do for you and your work. After all, it’s all about who you know.

“The legislative process takes time, and building relationships with trust takes even longer,” Goad explains. “It’s worth it to spend the time building those relationships because in the end, educating people enough to garner their support is the key to policy success.”

4. You have excellent communication abilities

Your words will take you far in the educational policy field, whether they’re written or spoken, as strong communication skills are key to conveying the message of your work in a clear, persuasive or understandable manner. You’ll be tasked with scrutinizing the big picture of education and deconstructing arguments in your writing. Telling the story in a compelling way is what will help garner support for your initiatives.

5. You’re culturally sensitive

Working in educational policy isn’t always about the big picture. You’ll also need to have a deep understanding of the ramifications of your actions and how they impact people at an individual level. After all, remember the driving factor behind all of your hard work—the children.

This often means putting yourself in the shoes of someone entirely different from you. You must be empathetic to the feelings and concerns of diverse groups of people in order to meet their needs.

“People who aspire toward a career in educational policy should have an openness to other cultures and experiences,” says supplemental instructor Laken Brooks. “Successful educational policies meet all students where they are, engaging in the kaleidoscope of diversity that represents these children and young adults, helping them feel supported in and out of the classroom.”

6. You care about the bottom line—the students

“In order to make appropriate systemic choices for educational departments, it is vital to have an awareness and a concern for how those policies will impact pupils,” Brooks says.

At the end of the day, everything you’re doing is for the well-being of the education system and the students it serves. The best and brightest minds in educational policy never forget that underneath all the policies, students are relying on your advocacy for their well-being. If you’re truly invested in improving the lives of children, all of the stress and hard work will be worth it.

Ready for the next step?

If these qualities resonate with you, do you think you’re up for working in educational policy? Are you willing to fight for tomorrow’s students? To better serve the underprivileged? To boost student outcomes?

Are you ready to put up the fight for education? Then what are you waiting for? If you think you’re made for this, see how Wheelock is made for you. Check out the Wheelock College Educational Studies degree page to learn how we can help you improve the system from the inside out.