Editorial: The importance of counselors
November 18, 2017
School counselors are a fundamental part of any high school. Yet, our school counselors are expected to supervise too many students — a responsibility that diminishes the individualized attention they can provide students.
With the addition of a new grade this year, the school gained another counselor but the student to counselor ratio is still relatively high. Currently, each counselor is responsible for about 350 students, 100 more than the national recommendation, according to the American School Counselor Association (ASCA).
As a result, students will be left on their own to deal with problems they encounter throughout high school. This could possibly have dangerous consequences for the students; those that need support emotionally, academically or socially won’t have an outlet to go to.
High school is meant to be a place for learning; whether from a lecture, interacting with classmates or the everyday experience of the cafeteria. Yet the constant bombardment of activity at school, at home or in extracurriculars can be daunting and sometimes overwhelming. During these challenges, the school counselor is a stable and reliable go-to.
An important aspect of their job is to maintain a relationship with their students — preferably in person — because it allows the counselors to keep tabs on the students academically and catch them quickly if they begin to struggle.
They also take the time to meet personally with students to talk through emotional problems. Additionally, counselors do plenty of work behind the scenes; they give lessons to classes, arrange student schedules and manage high school and college registration.
Many students also rely on the school counselors for advice and guidance. They act as confidants, allowing kids to ease their worries, which is more crucial now that it ever has been with the raised stress and anxiety levels in high school students today. They support students in areas like personal/social development, academic achievement, career development and emotional stability both in person and behind the scenes.
Adding more students to each counselor’s workload only limits his/her ability to connect personally and support the students. To combat this, the school should hire more counselors. This would not only reduce the student to counselor ratio, but also give each counselor more time to dedicate to their school-wide responsibilities. That way, school-wide changes will be quicker, more comprehensive and more student-friendly.
It’s vital to keep in mind the importance of counselors in the educational system. Though it’s possible to keep the system we have now, the counselors aren’t given the proper tools to do their jobs successfully and the students aren’t able to receive the guidance they need. School counselors have an essential role in ensuring today’s students grow to be the productive and confident adults of tomorrow.