Guidance counselors deal with issues of the student as a person: physical and emotional development, family situation, interpersonal interactions at school, and goals and aspirations. This article tells more about what a guidance counselor does.
The Guidance Counselor and the Student’s Past
Students beginning school come having had a range of out of school and home experiences prior to their arrival. Due to their experiences and their inborn predispositions, talents, and other factors, students arrive at school with varying levels of intellectual and emotional development, having mastered prerequisite tasks to various degrees, and with various levels of the social skills that allow smooth classroom function.
The guidance counselor is likely one of the person who works on the team to decide class placement for the incoming group of students, in an elementary school, based, perhaps, on a screening and interview, at higher level schools, considering a child’s academic record and recommendations of previous teachers. The guidance counselor may help to identify students with special needs and arrange the experiences that will help familiarized incoming students with their new environment and the expectations that the school holds for them.
Even after beginning in a school, a student’s life is a pattern of time in school and time out of school, including time at home. Each morning, depending on what has happened to them the night before, how much sleep they’ve had, and the state of their nutrition, students return to school more or less able to deal with the demands of the day’s work.
The guidance counselor can help sort out the influences from outside the school that affect a student’s ability to function well in school, as well as influences that are deleterious or damaging in any way to the child’s well-being. The guidance counselor can enroll the student in a program that provides breakfast in school, help the family navigate requests for the school lunch program, and arrange for professional consults with other specialists, as necessary.
The Guidance Counselor and the Student’s Present
The guidance counselor is on hand to deal with school situations as they arise. These can range from a child whose class placement isn’t working out for academic or non-academic reasons, any kind of altercation, or a student who turns out to need a more challenging course load than the one he or she has been assigned.
Guidance counselors may set up weekly sessions for students who are going through difficult times, whether because of bullying by classmates, experiencing a divorce, has family member with a serious illness, or any other situation that imperils that student’s wellness and/or school success.
The school guidance counselor may oversee the school’s assessment program when standardized tests are given. He or she may also help colleagues interpret the results of such tests and respond to them when students’ performance is out of line with expectations, whether high or low.
The Guidance Counselor and the Student’s Future
Helping students choose courses to prepare for graduation requirements and college admissions, career and technical educational options are ways in which a guidance counselor helps students prepare for their futures. Guidance counselors help students with college selection, the college admissions process, and financial aid applications. Often, guidance counselors will stock the guidance office with a variety of resources to help in this process, including reference works that rate colleges; college brochures, course catalogs, and pr materials, including video recordings; and references for various college-related testing programs, including the PSAT, SAT, ACT, and AP examinations.
Guidance counselors also advise parents of students who are planning to pursue higher education or career (and) technical education (CTE), helping them to understand the process and their contribution to it. Setting up college or job fairs may also fall to the guidance counselor. Often, the guidance counselor is responsible for writing a recommendation for each student who is graduating, addressing either college admissions committees, potential employers, or CTE admissions groups.
Careerbuilder.com: Guidance Counselor at Connections Academy - careerbuilder.com
College Board: Twenty Questions to Ask Your School Counselor - collegeboard.com
U.S. College Search: Becoming a Guidance Counselor - uscollegesearch.org