By Rukia Abdirahman
The role of a School Counselor is a tricky one in the life of a student. With a proper dose of guidance and motivation, the student can do wonders. On the other hand, if the counselor does not realize the potential of the student and dictates him to a path that is contrary to the skill sets that he possesses, there is a major possibility that the student would land in a frustrated position sooner or later in life (Paisley & McMahon, 2001). His propensity for learning the rights and wrongs of a specific profession might be reciprocal to his innate talents which can either cause irritation or a cry for help. Either way, the student would end up in a counselor’s office. The promotion of student achievement is the main goal of a student counseling program. The counselors design and deliver comprehensive programs dealing with the ambiguity of the students with respect to the choices in deciding a career path through which they can harness success and gain the maximum out of it. These programs are an essential component of the academic mission of the school and co-relate with them at every level. They are based on the aspects of career, socio-emotional and cognitive development and are driven by the student data. The end result is the enhancement in the learning process of each and every student.
The effectiveness of counseling programs can be judged from the fact that they ensure unbiased access to rigorous curriculum and opportunities so that the students have a college ready mindset at the time of their graduation (Paisley & McMahon, 2001). This does not only prevent them from wasting their time after graduation by straying from their intended career paths but it also helps them to keep a rain check on their aims. In order to achieve a measurable result, the counselors make sure that they study the changes in the academic life of students before and after the counseling sessions (Rale & Adams, 2007). The feedback is extremely critical for them to figure out whether the sessions are actually playing an influential role in the lives of the students or not. They observe the attendance and behavior patterns of the students in order to study their achievements. This feedback is also important for them to formulate their future actions plans and strategies through which they can create a positive and constructive life suggestion for the students.
According to Reine et al., (2009), principals regarded school counselors as integral to the school system as they are collaborators and values formation advocates resulting in a more holistic academic school program. Scarborough (2005) expressed the need for school counselors as they aid principals in fulfilling their primary responsibility of helping their students achieve their full potential.
So that this is achieved, counselors must directly serve the interest of students by working with small groups in counseling and in-service coordination with teachers at the same time, collaborating with the school and the community (Scarborough, 2005). Both principals and counselors shared the belief that if there is mutual respect and understanding towards the role of the counselor, the school counselor would be most effective. However, school counselors must continuously educate principals and teachers regarding their role as well as tasks which are appropriate and inappropriate for them (Schellenberg, 2012). Numerous times has the school principal’s job involve the selection of a guidance counselor and it has also been the principal’s assignment to define and delineate the level in which the school counselor dictates the type of counseling program that will be implemented (Schellenberg, 2008).
Students are worried about the new people, new classes, where the classes are, etc. The counselor allows the student to choose their classes, but they must also meet the graduating requirements. Another job the school counselor does is helping students plan their careers for the future (Schellenberg, 2008). They provide information on careers they might be interested in, colleges and their requirements. Throughout the students school years they guide them in a path that will help them in the future, depending what colleges they want to go to and what they want to major in (Rale & Adams, 2007).
Lastly, school counselors help students deal with personals problems. For example, family related, drug related, social problems or struggles in class. Your counselor is there for you whenever you need them. To be a counselor, you must want to help the students in the best way possible. You are required to be patient, confident, trustful and resourceful. My main goal while being a counselor is making sure the student feels safe. But also, help them with what they need, make sure they still have fun, listen to what they say and guide them in the direction of success.
Paisley, P. O.; McMahon, G. (2001). “School counseling for the 21st Century: Challenges and opportunities”. Professional School Counseling. 5: 106–115.
Rale, A. D.; Adams, J. R. (2007). “An exploration of 21st Century school counselors’ daily work activities”. Journal of School Counseling. 5: 1–45.
Reiner, S. M.; Colbert, R. D.; Perusse, R. (2009). “Teacher perceptions of the professional school counselor role: A national study”. Professional School Counseling. 12: 324–332. doi:10.5330/psc.n.2010-12.324.
Scarborough, J. L. (2005). “The school counselor activity rating scale: An instrument for gathering process data”. Professional School Counseling. 8: 274–283.
Schellenberg, R. (2012). The school counselor’s study guide for credentialing exams. New York: Routledge.
Schellenberg, R. (2008). The new school counselor: Strategies for universal academic achievement. Rowman Littlefield.