Academic struggles or personal issues experienced by students can be aired out to high school counselors. “School counselors’ primary role is supposedly to improve your child’s academic success, career development, and personal/social health. As part of this, they should be helping children overcome a variety of issues that affect school achievement and overall wellness,” wrote Janet Hicks, PhD.
For high school counselors, every day is a chance to encounter something purposeful, different, or sometimes something seemingly outrageous. Every time a student walks inside the office, a counselor knows that something’s up – like someone asking help for being homeless, or a student stressing out for not getting good grades. These are minor things that counselors experience on a daily basis.
Role Of High School Student Counselors
School counselors can help students thrive socially, academically, and personally, while assisting them in exploring and considering their options after they’ve graduated high school. According to an article that was previously published in The New York Times, the ratio of students to counselors is almost 500 to one, but that should not deter parents and students from getting the most out of the services they offer.
Probably one of the biggest misconceptions about high school counselors is that they merely exist for scheduling. Also, a lot of people, especially parents, have this notion that school counselors are trained to therapeutically counsel students and specific individuals.
Benefits Of Counseling
There are three significant benefits that students and likewise parents can get from high school counselors.
- Counselors Provide Full Academic Assistance
Academic support is essential in a student’s school performance; however, those who are academically struggling are often unaware of how counselors can be of great assistance. High school counselors are often underused in this aspect. One of the reasons might be because students are mostly embarrassed to seek help with regards to their academic discrepancies, or maybe, they have had a bad experience with their counselor.
Counselors assist students with their failing academics by sitting down with the student’s teachers and talking about the problem and agreeing on the best solution. Other times, counselors will let the distraught student communicate with other students or peers who are dealing with the same struggles so they can learn from each other.
Furthermore, high school counselors also conduct seminars for freshmen students that mainly talk about establishing good study patterns and habits, which incoming students can utilize throughout their school years, until they graduate, and once they go on to college to pursue their academic careers.
- Counselors Provide Parental Advice
Counselors offer their students’ families effective strategies on parenting with beneficial advice on how to properly communicate and understand their children. Often, parents would drop by the high school counselor’s office claiming they don’t know what to do in handling their teenager. More often than not, if things are going out of hand, counselors would recommend that the parents together with their teenager go into family therapy, especially if issues at home become complicated that even the student’s performance becomes severely affected.
- Counselors Give One-On-One Counseling
Students can seek out their high school counselors for an individual meeting to discuss academic concerns, bullying, racism, or other personal issues that the student is struggling with. Keep in mind that counselors are only there to give counsel or advice and not to deal with more pressing issues like mental illness; however, through assessment of the student’s problems, counselors can refer him or her to a qualified therapist.
“Many people would be surprised to know that much of the time we are working with students who may have mental health or other personal concerns,” said Brandi Lewis, MEd, LPC. “We have to provide individual care for those students—whether it’s referring them to a school-based mental health counselor or providing community resources.”
Trust Your Counselor
At the beginning of your talk, your high school counselor will immediately inform you that whatever is divulged or confided in your conversation is strictly confidential, unless the students will initiate giving out information that may put their safety at risk. Remember that school counselors are there to connect, help, and make a difference in their students’ lives. So as parents and students, it is in your best interest to make the most of your school counselor’s time and presence.
“Effective counseling is a two way street. It takes a cooperative effort by both the person receiving counseling and the counselor,” reminded Lynn Ponton, MD.