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The Importance of High School Counselors

by Shelley Frost

A counselor's role may go unnoticed, but this key member of a high school staff works with students, teachers, administrators and parents to improve the overall education process. A school guidance counselor works with students on immediate issues and future planning. Understanding the counselor's role allows you and your high school student to reap the benefits.

Behavioral Problems

Teachers, counselors and parents make a powerful team when a behavioral problem arises. The US. Department of Education's official blog suggests that teachers call on the counselor as soon as problem behavior starts. This allows her to suggest strategies for the teacher or work directly with the student to address the situation. When other students are involved, the counselor can serve as a mediator or help the students deal with peer pressure, which often pushes a high school student to make poor decisions. She can offer referrals if the behaviors warrant additional counseling or intervention.

Academic Support

The high school guidance department is a resource for students who need academic support. High school students may feel pressure to perform well on homework assignments, exams and standardized tests. The counselor provides one-on-one help for students on academic skills, such as note-taking, test-taking and studying. The counseling program may also include group instruction on these skills to benefit the general student population. Teachers collaborate with the guidance department and administrators to ensure learning goals are met.

School Environment and Development

According to the American School Counselor Association, counselors work with administrators to control the school climate and assess the overall needs of the school. A guidance counselor may take part in professional development planning. She often works with the staff to address school-wide problems, such as bullying or alcohol use. She might teach general skills to the high school students, such as social skills and coping strategies. Crisis management for an individual student, family or entire student body also falls under the counseling umbrella.

Future Planning

On top of all the studying and socializing in high school, your student faces decisions about his future. The school counselor offers guidance on choosing a path after high school, whether that means college, work or the military, as well as laying out a plan to get there. A counselor can help with visits to colleges and manages bringing college representatives to the high school. For undecided students, the school guidance department helps sort out the options and may offer surveys to analyze skills and preferences.

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