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Reasons Why We Need School Counselors

by Louise W. Rice
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School counselors play a number of different roles in the students’ lives. A large part of their role is to provide psycho-social support, and at other times they help students find their true calling or educational path.

Schools with counselors on their staff have a greater understanding of each student’s strengths and weaknesses, and armed with this additional knowledge, they can better fine-tune the services they offer to each student.

School counselors are increasingly becoming a vital part of the educational system. They can help students deal with many issues such as substance abuse, depression, and other problems teens often experience going through school. If you’re still on the fence on why we need school counselors, here are some reasons to change your mind in favor of them.

Counselors help students deal with problems that might or might not be related specifically to education. Usually, students that have a lot going on in their personal lives perform poorly in academics. This interdependence of the personal and academic life means that there is a need for student counselors.

Increasing Demand

According to the American School Counselor Association, the number of students per counselor is 482 in elementary schools, which is twice the recommended ratio. In middle and high school, the ratio of students to counselors is 905 and 350, respectively. There are many reasons why each school should have a full-time counselor.

The student to guidance counselor ratio has been growing for years. The increased number of students per counselor has a negative impact on the amount of support each student receives. Students struggling with anxiety, depression, bullying, and substance use disorders, don’t have access to counselors who can help them address their issues.

The role of a school counselor is evolving due to this increased student population that is in need of serving. To make matters worse, in some schools, the counseling staff has reduced and the student population has increased. This means that counselors are not just tasked with helping students succeed academically but also socially and emotionally as well.

What is the counselor’s role?

Counselors are professionals who have undergone extensive training and specialized education. The acquired skills from the training and education let them counsel students in their personal and academic lives.

They provide valuable advice and support in times of stress, anxiety, or depression. To be skilled at this work requires the right type of education and skill development, which you can also avail through online degrees in counseling, in aiding students to recognize and overcome perceived and hidden hurdles in their lives.

If you’re having trouble balancing school work along with your other responsibilities, school counselors can help educate you on developing the right strategies to better manage your time and make the most out of your days spent at school.

In addition, they can also offer advice on handling specific problems, such as relationship issues with friends and family members.

A counselor provides many services to the students at the school, including:

  • Academic planning
  • Career planning
  • Personal/social development

Counselors work directly with students. They talk with them one-on-one, in small groups, or in classrooms as part of classroom lessons. Counselors use many different methods to teach students about things like:

  • Decision-making skills
  • Peer relationships
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Learning styles

Benefits of quality counseling

The benefits of quality counseling are indisputable. A school counselor can be the one person in a young person’s life who recognizes their potential, recognizes that they have gifts and talents worth nurturing, and plays a positive role in their life. But in the absence of a school counselor, the young minds have nowhere to turn to when faced with difficult circumstances.

1. Improves students’ future prospects

Students with a high-quality school counselor benefit from better academic performance, increased job prospects, and improved mental health. Counselors can also help identify high-potential students belonging to less-privileged backgrounds, ensuring that every child has an opportunity to reach their full potential. All students deserve access to a qualified counselor, regardless of their background or zip code.

Counselors provide crucial support to students navigating their education, employment, and personal lives. A counselor helps students make informed decisions about their future by discussing options, such as college admission requirements, financial aid availability, career goals, aptitude tests, and more.

Students who receive guidance from a counselor are more likely to explore higher education opportunities than those who do not have one.

The school counseling programs have been proven to promote success among students by increasing attendance rates and improving academic performance.

2. Counseling nurtures skills in students that last for life

Counselors play a key role in helping students build skills that will last throughout their lives by providing them with preventive classroom lessons on topics such as study skills, test-taking strategies, career exploration, and decision-making skills. And for students experiencing more serious problems such as abuse or neglect at home or substance abuse, counselors provide supportive counseling services to help them cope with their situations.

3. Helps with their mental health

Counseling is one of the most effective methods of improving quality of life. In difficult times, counseling can act as an outlet for students to safely express their emotions, work through their own thought processes, and talk openly about sensitive issues without fear of any judgment or criticism.

Counseling can also help students learn more effective ways of coping with stressors in their daily life, improve communication skills, and develop positive attitudes, so they can overcome any challenge they may come their way.

4. School counselors are a trusted source

Students need someone they can trust so that they can open up about their life. Counselors are bound by confidentiality and, therefore, limited from telling the student’s issues to the outside world. This allows the students to open up and let go of any feelings of judgment that might hold them back. Students may shy away from expressing themselves despite all this because they might feel themselves to be a bother to the counselor, or they might be harboring the belief that talking about things doesn’t change circumstances. The school counselor must be able to see through these excuses in order to help students get the support they need.

Conclusion

Since school counselors play such an influential role in the lives of their students, it is essential that they be well-educated, hardworking individuals who care about their student’s future. The reason why we need school counselors is that we care about our children and young teens, and want to see them reach their fullest potential. Counselors are powerful advocates for children in our communities. In all probability, they are the first a student will approach with a concern or a problem at school.

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