A school guidance counselor is a degreed professional who assists students with the personal and social pressures of school dynamics. In addition, school guidance counselors help students by working with them to plan their academic and career goals.
What Does a School Guidance Counselor Do?
Unlike how parents may perceive school counselors spend their time, they do not spend the majority of their days handing out applications and dealing with unruly students. So, what does a school guidance counselor do? They spend the majority of their days reviewing students’ records and collaborating with teachers to plan core curriculum.
School guidance counselors do not
- diagnose physical or mental health in students,
- prescribe medications to students, or
- plan or administer standardized testing.
School guidance counselors do
- deal with social issues such as bullying, self-esteem, and personal relationships,
- help students plan realistic academic and career goals, and
- interpret aptitude, cognitive, and achievement tests.
School guidance counselors use diagnostic tools like testing, as well as interviews and counseling sessions to provide students, and their families, with achievable academic program plans. In elementary schools, counselors can assess students’ needs and abilities, while in middle or high school, they focus primarily or career development.
Although a school guidance counselor cannot diagnose a condition or prescribe medications, they can provide a referral to an appropriate medical professional if or when it is needed.
How Do School Guidance Counselors Help Students?
Helping Pin-point Issues
Because a school guidance counselor’s objective is to help students plan academic programs and to monitor related social, academic, and personal issues, a school guidance counselor should be a first stop for any student experiencing issues in school. For example, if a student has been having difficulty with his or her academic performance, the student can go into a school counseling session to get help with how to get back on track. The school counselor can then help pinpoint what issues are contributing to low academic progress.
Offering Emotional and Social Support
School guidance counselors also help students who experience bullying, low self-esteem, and negative relationships. Because these issues can contribute to poor academic performance, it is important for students to get help with dealing with personal and social issues to maintain high academic performance.
Developing a Plan
When school guidance counselors help students, they refer to the students’ records to create a plan of action to best help the student. While counselors may not conduct testing on their own, they rely on reports created by certified medical professionals and teachers, in addition to standardized test scores and interviews with parents to determine the best way to help students achieve personal academic goals.
No matter when a student meets with a school guidance counselor, it will be a helpful part of the student’s academic development. Parents, too, can make use of a school counselor’s vast knowledge and experience in helping their students through academic or social rough spots.
What Can You Do to Assist Your Child’s School Guidance Counselor?
One of the best things parents can do to help their child is to communicate with a school guidance counselor with any issues their child appears to be dealing with. School guidance counselors can help students and their parents deal with, not only academic achievement, but also student crisis, special needs, and test interpretation.
Some things parents can do to communicate effectively with a school guidance counselor is to ask for specific information about their child’s progress.
Questions to Ask Your Child’s Guidance Counselor
- How is my child doing in school?
- What are my child’s goals for this year? What progress has he or she made on these goals?
- What are some of my child’s strengths? How will this help him or her?
- What are some of my child’s weaknesses? How can we help him or her adapt for a better learning experience?
- What resources are available to help my child?
In some cases, regular meetings could be needed to help a student make positive academic advances in the same way that regular communication with a teacher can help parents make a positive impact on students’ learning at home.
Have you spoken to your child’s school guidance counselor lately?
Author: Nicole Acevedo, Teacher Manager, A Grade Ahead