If parents and students are relying on their middle school and high school counselors to provide the necessary guidance for college and career preparation then they are likely to find themselves in trouble. The research has long indicated that counselors are overwork, overloaded with non-counseling responsibilities, and responsible for far too many students. The Education Week article, “Counselors See Conflicts in Carrying Out Mission” highlights the challenges facing middle school and high school counselors and provide startling news for parents and students:

  • 9 out of 10 counselors believe that ensuring that all students have access to high-quality education and that they graduate well-equipped for college and careers, however, less than 4 out of 10 believe that their schools share such goals
  • Less than 2 out of 10 (19 percent) counselors in high-poverty schools said their college and career readiness was part of their school’s day-to-day mission
  • Counselors reported caseloads of 368 students per counselor in most schools and 427 students per counselor in high poverty schools
  • Counselors reported that a disproportionate amount of their training is directed at crisis intervention, group counseling, and human growth as opposed to college and career planning

The CollegeBoard identifies 8 components of College and Career Readiness Counseling, as essential to expanding college and career preparation:

  1. College Aspirations: Build a college-going culture based on early college awareness by nurturing in students the confidence to aspire to college and the resilience to overcome challenges along the way.
  2. Academic Planning for College and Career Readiness: Advance students’ planning, preparation, participation and performance in a rigorous academic program that connects to their college and career aspirations and goals.
  3. Enrichment and Extracurricular Engagement: Ensure equitable exposure to a wide range of extracurricular and enrichment opportunities that build leadership, nurture talents and interests, and increase engagement with school.
  4. College and Career Exploration and Selection Processes: Provide early and ongoing exposure to experiences and information necessary to make informed decisions when selecting a college or career that connects to academic preparation and future aspirations.
  5. College and Career Assessments: Promote preparation, participation and performance in college and career assessments by all students.
  6. College Affordability Planning: Provide students and families with comprehensive information about college costs, options for paying for college, and the financial aid and scholarship processes and eligibility requirements, so they are able to plan for and afford a college education.
  7. College and Career Admission Processes: Ensure that students and families have an early and ongoing understanding of the college and career application and admission processes so they can find the postsecondary options that are the best fit with their aspirations and interests.
  8. Transition from High School Graduation to College Enrollment: Connect students to school and community resources to help the students overcome barriers and ensure the successful transition from high school to college.

Watch the CollegeBoard’s YouCanGo video…