A school counselor is someone who works in a school, helping children and adolescents gain social and academic skills and work through personal issues. They offer children personal, developmental and academic support throughout their school careers.
At the middle school and high school level, school counselors assist adolescents in choosing their class schedules and help them prepare for the college or career path they will pursue after graduation. School counselors work in an office within a school building. They work full time throughout the school year and have the summer off.
What are the Daily Tasks of a School Counselor?
The daily tasks of a school counselor vary slightly based on whether the counselors work at the elementary school, middle school or high school level. School counselors working in an elementary or middle school make sure children receive the emotional support they need to succeed in the classroom. They may provide counseling to individuals or within a small group. School counselors may teach classes or hold special awareness events on topics such as bullying, abuse or eating disorders. They look out for possible cases of abuse, neglect or self-harm and report parents or individuals to the proper authorities when necessary. They may also refer students and parents to outside agencies who can help them with their specific needs.
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School counselors also help students receive the support they need to succeed academically. Counselors help teachers assess students’ interests and abilities through interviews and aptitude tests. They help children become better students by helping them improve their organization, time management and study habits. They may observe children in the classroom or within a small group in order to assess the childrens' strengths, weaknesses and special needs. They then report their findings to teachers, parents and other support staff. Counselors may also work with the principal to help ensure that the school curriculum meets the students’ academic needs.
High school counselors have many of the same roles as counselors at the elementary and middle school levels, except that they also have the added responsibility of helping students figure out what they are going to do after high school and of helping to prepare students for the paths they choose. High school counselors can help adolescents gather and complete college applications and study for important graduation tests such as the SAT or ACT. They help students learn about careers or colleges they may be interested in and determine if they are a good fit. Counselors help students write resumes and develop interview skills. They also help students deal with personal issues that may get in the way of the students’ education.
Looking for Further Information?
School Counselors have the very important tasks of helping children succeed in school and of preparing them for the rest of their lives. Individuals interested in this challenging but very rewarding job should be compassionate and they should possess excellent listening, people and speaking skills. Individuals seeking a school counseling career should also obtain a master’s degree in school counseling and become licensed according to state standards.