High School Counselors – Students’ Key to Success in College

4/17/12 The Diag is teaming with traffic as students move around campus on the last day of classes before exams start during a Day in the Life of the University of Michigan on April 17, 2012.

According to a survey conducted by The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it is expected that between 2012 and 2022, job opportunities for high school guidance counselors will rise by nearly 12%. The survey cited an increase in student enrollments in a number of high schools across different states of the country as the main reason behind this increase.

Considering the nature of work a high school counselor has to perform on a daily basis, it is no surprise then how the demand for such workers has suddenly risen. In collaboration with teachers, administrators and parents, high school counselors not only help students deal with everyday issues at school but also, simultaneously, assist them in realizing their future goals.

“The biggest challenge we as counselors face is the diverse range of students that we have to cater to on a daily basis,” says Tawnya Pringle, a high school counselor at the Hoover High School in San Diego. “You can have one student suffering from emotional, financial and psychological issues as a result of them being homeless one day and you can have another student stressed out about getting straight A’s in all his/her courses the very next day.”

Many counselors, in fact, decry the general opinion that exists in society regarding the nature of their jobs as being those that revolve around merely scheduling classes and helping students applying to college. “What many people don’t know is that most school counselors have received special training to help students deal with the variety of issues that they may have,” explains Shelby Boisvert, a guidance counselor at Lowell High School in Massachusetts. “As a result, many counselors are able to help students thrive on an academic, social as well as personal level.”

High school counselors enable students to see the bigger picture and thereby guide them to make the right decisions for their future. Some of the ways in which counselors assist students looking to apply to college are:

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Academic Advice

High school counselors help students figure out what field to opt for by asking them about their favorite subjects as well as their plans for life after high school. Many counselors can also help students deal with issues they may be facing with their teachers by holding discussions with the latter about various ways in which they can be motivated to do better.

One of the biggest reasons why many high school students are unable to plan for college, according to Pringle, is their inability or unwillingness to make use of the service in the first place. “Many students are embarrassed to ask for help as, in their view, it makes them look weak,” says Pringle. “Many others have had bad experiences with student counselors in the past and, hence, avoid going to one altogether.”

Planning for College

Once a counselor has determined the field in which students are interested, he/she will be in a much better position to direct them to the colleges/universities that suit their future career goals. When the time comes for students to start applying, counselors play a significant role by making students aware of all the things they would probably need in order to ensure that their application gets accepted.

Career Planning

A counselor’s job does not end with your college application getting accepted. Many high schools offer a variety of resources such as career coaches, career fairs and job nights that aim to help students plan their future careers. Once a student has decided what career path he/she wishes to pursue, a student counselor can inform the student on the kind of education and training he/she may need in order to do so.

High school counselors are trained to give the right kind of guidance needed for students to do well in college and, ultimately, professional life. With almost every school offering student counseling services, high school students now stand a much better chance of getting into leading colleges around the country.

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