With the college application season in full force, it is very important for the students to visit the school/college counselors at their high school. It is also important to note that school counselors do so much more than help the students go to college or help find a career path. School counselors can help students in the development of the social and behavioral stages and help them develop life skills that are essential as they enter adulthood (careerexplorer.com). School counselors follow the national guidelines that the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) designed to help the development of every student in K-12.
As published in ASCA Schoolcounselor (2019), school counselors have specialized knowledge to help students address their academic, career and social/emotional evolution goals. They also collaborate with school stakeholders, like teachers, parents, and administrators, to help students achieve such goals. School counselors are also the change agents’ students go to when they do not feel supported as students. Advocacy for students is one of the main focuses of a school counselor.
As mentioned, school counselors use many hats in the education field. They help students when they are sad, anxious, happy, overwhelmed, etc. If the student is being bullied, a counselor is there to help in the journey. If a student doesn’t know what they want to do after graduating high school, a counselor is there to help them try to figure it out. If a student is having personal problems (at home or with friends), a school counselor is there to support and validate their feelings. They do all this while still completing their day-to day- tasks as school counselors.
College and career readiness are an essential part of school counselors and one of the main reasons schools hire school counselors. School counselors put workshops for students and families to expose them to the possibilities that exist after high school. They plan college field trips to allow students to explore the different types of colleges that exist so they can find the best fit for them. Most of the counselors also help create college and career fairs at their school or take students to local fairs like the NACAC National College Fair. The school counselors help students with their college and financial aid applications. They also help students deal with getting accepted to the school of their dreams, as well as comfort them when they get rejected from the school of their dreams.
Mariela Flores, School & College Counselor at PUC Community Charter Early College High School states: “I became a school and college counselor because I want to provide opportunities for first generation students that they would typically be unaware of. I like to inform my students that if they are not 4-year college bound students the options don’t stop there. As I went to a community college, I had the option of multiple colleges, if the workforce is there calling then let’s also have options. Each student has their agenda that I want to individualized. The satisfaction I receive in being able to guide them through a post-secondary path is one of the best feelings in the world.”
To be a school counselor, a master’s degree in school counseling and a credential in Pupil Personnel Services is required in the state of California. Graduate students must complete a total of at least 700 hours in school settings with a PPS credentialed supervisor. During this program and field sites, candidates learn essential skills and trainings important for K-12 students. Such as, suicide prevention, conflict resolution, preventing and eliminating bullying, needs assessments, student scheduling, effective communications skills, and self-care.