Time to change the role of Guidance Counselors

Times keep shifting, and the role of guidance counselors is yet again beginning to change. Moving away from a more holistic approach of a school counselor that works with students on their personal issues and problems, are now more involved and bogged down with administrative and critical planning roles in how the school curriculum can work best in benefit of the students.
School counselors can be a useful resource to work collaboratively with parents and students. Though besides helping students out with improving their self-esteem, confidence and people management skills working on an average of 1 to 250 students is a scary number to deal with. Let alone most of the counselors time and energy are utilized in scheduling tasks and paperwork which is not their main role of expertise.

The role shift is more in the division of tasks within private and public schooling models rather than responsibilities; as a student counselor, one can work with students and their personal problem academic and non-academic. Whereas, the role of a guidance counselor as they are still called in public school systems is more relatable to college application strategies, standardized testing and scholarship related information. It is only fair to draw a line between the two as the latter requires a completely different level of knowledge and expertise and therefore public schooling systems face the knowledge gap between the two. Qualified counselors working at high schools are bound to be ignorant about critical college issues, as their main focus is more towards mental health. College admission issues are not the top rated problems to be highlighted at the graduate level.

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A guidance counselor’s role needs to be more definitive with proper training rather than relying on colleagues to help them tread on day by day. Most of all, it is imperative to know, that most college guidance counselors do not work as state hired staff members but on a voluntary basis or as per high school requirements. Counselors need to be given the authority and the space to work on innovative and useful policies and reforms of collaborative work with the system keeping the social, health and safety factors under consideration.
Guidance counselors are best to guide and supervise individual learning opportunities like a mentor engaging students in relevant curriculum and educational plans. This allows the guidance counselors to understand students well enough to understand what fits well with their personalities, what they are good at as compared to where their passions lie; leading to advising on alternate pathways to graduation available for students in our highly advanced, complex digital world.

 

More so the generational gap has changed the future work roles, and therefore, the pathways which students can now follow rather than sticking to the traditional form of attaining one basic degree and leading to the following specialization which is more understood by a generation much older to them. Guidance counselor roles are also changing as universities, and graduate programs have started to look at student applications as a whole rather than assess students merely on academics; keeping in mind students with learning disabilities and other special educational needs (SEN).
All in all, the role of a guidance counselor has changed to a more interpersonal role working with people, and families to facilitate their learning process along with honing on critical skills of students to help them achieve their goals rather than just get them through an admission application process. Both school systems and the counselors need to define the roles most essential for their students and their future in hand.

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