School counseling provides a safe place in school for children and young people to discuss and address their worries and concerns. School counselors work with students to develop academic and social skills that can lead to better grades, improved friendships and better behavior.

As part of a school support team, school counselors provide a counseling program that promotes students’ wellbeing. They facilitate access and equity for all and connect the program to the school’s academic mission and improvement plan. Professionals in this field must deeply comprehend behavior, social culture and career development.

School counselors work with students in three domains: academic, career, and social and emotional development. These domains are interlinked, each affecting the other and all important in achieving success. Improving student commitment and performance can contribute to a school’s educational outcomes. Promoting mindsets and behaviors that enhance learning help prepare students for life after school. Walsh University offers an online Certificate in School Counseling. The course will enable you to influence students’ lives through learned counseling methods.

Real-life experience

When he was young, Angel B. Pèrez moved from Puerto Rico to New York City in America. In his article ‘America Needs More School Counselors’, he writes about his experience at an inner-city school with rising drug use and gun violence. The school counselor asked him if he had thought of going to college, which set him on a journey that he had not considered before. The school counselor supported him when he made college and financial applications. His parents did not speak much English, so this help was invaluable. Without the school counselor, he does not believe that he would have gone to college. Pèrez champions equity in American education and calls for more counselors in schools.

Career development

School counselors help to prepare students for life after school. They support them in identifying and working on their career goals, giving them direction when they leave school.

School counselors recognize that every student has skillsets, interests and values that can lead to future opportunities. Leaving school can challenge young people as they take on new roles. All students should be supported to develop the knowledge and skills they need to do well in their chosen fields. Working with students, families, school staff and the community, they ensure that all students understand the options available and have an appropriate career pathway to follow. This could be an apprenticeship, college, university, or going straight into the workplace.

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Career education starts early, with the world of work being introduced to preschool children, and continues until students leave school. Some learning is experiential, and students can learn about different careers and their skillset by doing work experience, projects in the community, visiting careers fairs, etc. School counselors work with teachers to ensure that career development is an ongoing part of the curriculum.

School counseling provides opportunities for students to learn work-related skills, have a positive attitude to learning, and be willing to work. Activities can include:

  • Learning about educational and occupational options.
  • Increasing self-awareness relating to ambitions and abilities.
  • Developing the capacity to set goals and make career decisions.

Students can become motivated by having a sense of purpose and achieving short-term and long-term goals. Career development can have a positive influence on academic performance. It can also help with school retention rates.

There are benefits to working online in the classroom, and online activities can play a part in career education. School counselors can use the data generated to recognize which students are unsure about what pathway to take after school.

Social and emotional development

School counselors work with students with mental health and family and social problems. They must understand the social and cultural mores that affect behavior and relationships in the school environment. Counselors are trained to recognize issues that may negatively impact a student, such as bullying, academic struggles and friendship difficulties. They help students to overcome problems by running support programs to build confidence, positivity and self-worth.

Counseling in schools can include developing counseling programs, individual and small-group counseling, and improving students’ social and emotional wellbeing. School counselors help students manage emotions, develop interpersonal skills, and promote mindsets and behaviors that enhance learning.

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School performance can be compromised when students adopt high-risk behaviors such as violence, sex, substance abuse and attempted suicide. School counselors can recognize these behaviors, put support in place, and refer students to specialist services, including crisis interventions.

Some school counselors run support groups for students with the same issues, such as LGBTQ+ students, social anxiety, dealing with grief, mindfulness, or study skills.

School counselors must understand the nature of human behavior specific to child and adolescent development. They must know and use counseling theories to inform and underpin their practice. Statistics and research methods can be used to implement an appropriate social and emotional development program.

Academic development

School counselors support student academic success in many ways. They help students to have the mindset and behavior to advance their academic performance. School counseling programs use data to develop educational goals that reflect students’ ability and interests and to promote equality of opportunity. They share their knowledge with other school staff and work to create a school culture of striving to reach one’s potential. They emphasize the relationships between student, family, school and community in supporting academic achievement.

They assess school programs to identify problem areas and work with other stakeholders to address these and enable students to succeed.

School counselors contribute to educational and academic outcomes by improving student commitment and performance. They use data to understand student needs and run counseling programs to ensure that all students develop academic goals that reflect their abilities and interests.

School counselors work with other staff to create an environment that encourages academic success and reaching one’s potential. They work to remove barriers to success and give equality of opportunity to all students.

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