The American School Counselor Association recommends counselor-to-student ratios not exceed 1:250. The current average is 1 counselor to 455 students, and is projected to get worse in the coming years.
The ideal role of a guidance counselor in high schools is to work with students to achieve their post-high school goals, in addition to working through any social and academic problems. Counselors need to help choose high school classes that prepare students for their post-graduation plans. They also should help students apply to colleges or trade schools by advising them about admission requirements and financial aid.
However, given the counselor to student ratios in most high schools, guidance counselors struggle to schedule enough one-on-one time with each student to be considered effective in their primary role. Also impacting this is the increasing number of mental health or behavior issues that has shifted their focus to the individual students experiencing these issues, as well as developing or implementing programs that aim to identify and prevent these issues. The role of preparing students for life after high school has shifted to helping them make it through high school.
Most schools have applications, like Naviance or Kudder, which are being relied on more and more to help with college and career readiness. Groups of students are gathered together and instructed on how to access the self-assessment tests, search on colleges, find a list of scholarship opportunities, and track their activities. These tools can be useful but students are left to complete activities on their own time. Day-to-day homework requirements and extracurricular activities quickly push this off the ‘to do’ list for most students.
Given the economic benefit a college degree will provide your student over their lifetime, and the present issue of cost associated with attending, it is incumbent on parents to be engaged in the process beginning freshman year. Your student’s guidance counselor is most likely not in a position to proactively check in to make sure you student is keeping their grades up to qualify for merit-based scholarships, verifying they are logging enough community service hours colleges are currently emphasizing, researching private vs. public/large vs. small/in-state vs. out-of-state options, discussing interests or areas of study with them, or helping them fill out and submit applications.
Start by leveraging your student’s event schedule (practices, club meetings, volunteering, etc.) you keep on your electronic calendar. MePlusMore does the work for you. Our professionals organize your student’s activities and awards to produce an interactive digital portfolio. Having a digital portfolio that is up to date and easily shareable can have an impact on your students success throughout high school and when applying to colleges and scholarships. MePlusMore also keeps parents up-to-date on available resources so you can work with your student on one of the biggest decisions you’ll both make. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.