How Much “Guidance” Can You Expect From Your “Guidance Counselor?”
In the research study by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center, “2012 National Survey of School Counselors: True North: Charting the Course to College and Career Readiness” middle school and high school guidance counselors acknowledged that they simply do not have time, or in many cases, the training to for provide students with the necessary college or career guidance.
The National Office for School Counselor Advocacy(NOSCA) identifies eight components deemed to be critical to ensuring college and career readiness for students in grades K – 12:
- College Aspirations
- Academic Planning for College and Career Readiness
- Enrichment and Extracurricular Engagement
- College and Career Exploration and Selection Processes
- College and Career Assessments
- College Affordability Planning
- College and Career Admission Processes
- Transition from High School Graduation to College Enrollment
To support the implementation of these 8 components:
- Elementary school counselors should be creating early awareness and assisting students in developing the knowledge and skills that lay the foundation for the academic rigor and social development necessary for college and career readiness.
- Middle school counselors should be creating opportunities to explore and deepen college and career knowledge and assisting students in developing the skills necessary for academic planning and goal setting.
- High school counselors should be creating access to college career pathways that promote full implementation of each student’s personal goals that ensures the widest range of future life options.
Most counselors support these 8 components and although 9 out of 10 counselors believe that all students should have access to a high-quality education, only 56 percent of counselors see this as a reality in their schools (49 percent in high poverty schools).
In response to these eight components, high school and middle school counselors surveyed indicated that only:
- 50 percent of counselors have the training and knowledge to implement schoolwide strategies
- 48 percent of counselors know how to create solutions that remove barriers
- 47 percent know how to keep students’ parents and families involved
- 31 percent of counselors collaborate with outside organizations and businesses to support their strategies
Less than half of all counselors believe they have sufficient training to assist students with:
- academic planning,
- college aspirations,
- college and career admission processes,
- connect college and career aspirations and the selection processes,
- enrichment and extracurricular activity engagement, or
- college affordability planning
The reality in most schools is that guidance counselors are responsible for too many students, lack adequate resources, were not adequately trained in college and career planning during graduate school, and lack access to high quality staff development in their current school districts.
The undeniable truth is that students and parents are unlikely to receive sufficient guidance from guidance counselors to develop an effective middle-through-school college admissions and financial aid plan. Students and their families must accept responsibility for developing their plans and for putting forth the necessary effort to implement their plans if students are to expand their college and financial aid options.