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What Professional School Counselors Actually Do

Each February, the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) celebrates National School Counseling Week. During this week, schools through the United States celebrate the work of all professional school counselors who assist in making schools better places for students.

At CEHS, we train professional school counselors who do just that. But what is it that professional school counselors actually do, you might ask? We’re here to answer that question for you.

First and foremost, school counselors are no longer “guidance” counselors who dole out college applications, write excuses for tardy students, provide coverage for classrooms in the absence of a qualified teacher, and facilitate class schedule changes. In fact, guidance counselors really aren’t a thing anymore. We prefer the term professional school counselor because it speaks to the significant and diverse responsibilities that these individuals carry out on a daily basis. Though school counselors fulfill a number of roles in their schools, their primary duties include:

  1. Providing both group and individual counseling for students facing a variety of issues in school or at home.
  2. Interpreting school data, including grades, attendance, discipline records, and achievement test scores, to help administrators and schools develop solutions to shortcomings.
  3. Assisting teachers with classroom connections, classroom management, and student issues such as mental health, addiction, changing family structures, and trauma.

In our School Counseling Master’s Program, we train professionals who are highly trained in individual and group counseling, improving school climate and culture, supporting teachers and support personnel, the effects of trauma, addiction, and improving student outcomes. School counselors contribute different perspectives to student challenges, ranging from social and emotional development to gaps in academic achievement to mental health struggles, just to name a few. In short, school counselors provide critical support to students of all ages and implement interventions to help students succeed in and out of the classroom. Ultimately, professional school counselors work alongside educators and administrators to improve the lives of all students.

Be sure to follow #NSCW2020 on social media to see highlights from National School Counseling Week in schools throughout the country. If you’re interested in becoming a school counselor or learning more about our School Counseling Program, visit counseling.wvu.edu/counseling.