What does it mean to be a school counselor?
I am looking into possibly looking at this as a career. I want to know what this career is like and all that it entails.
Thanks for posting this question. It's definitely a good one to consider for anyone entertaining the idea of pursuing a career as a school counselor. In many ways, it's difficult to encapsulate the true essence of being a school counselor, but I'll do my best to answer your question. Honestly, it means that you answer a call to guide students in any number of situations while they work in school. More specifically, you choose to sacrifice yourself in the best possible way to help others succeed. Let me give you an example.
If you've ever seen the movie "Good Will Hunting," you'll have a better idea of what I'm describing here. The movie itself focuses on an incredibly bright young man whose life took a lot of hard turns and let him down. But he chooses to work through those weaknesses and becomes the better man for it.
I worked as a high school counselor for five years, and it was easily the hardest job I ever loved. Many students in this particular school had experiences that paralleled the movie's main character - bad parents, alcohol and/or drug use, neglect, etc. These students needed someone, and even though I hadn't experienced a lot of what they had, I was in a position to help them, and I did.
One student who was very intelligent lost his mother to cancer during the spring of his senior year. His grandmother and father died the following year, and then his aunt died six months after that. That young man took all of those losses very deeply, which was understandable. He could've given up on his dreams to get out of town and pursue another life. But he didn't. Instead, with a lot of help and time, he wound up having a full-ride scholarship to college. He and his younger siblings were in great need for years, and I worked very hard during the school day and after school to ensure I did everything I could to help them in a very difficult season.
Don't get me wrong - not all student situations will be like this. However, if you're interested in helping students grow by overcoming obstacles to become their best, then I'd strongly encourage you to think about becoming a school counselor.
Best of luck!
School counselors help students plan their high school schedules and curriculum. They advocate for students. They listen to students and help them with personal, social, family, and academic problems. They evaluate when students or their families need other services or professional help. They participate in evaluating students for special education services. They must respect confidentiality, state laws and school rules. They help students identify strengths, weakness, and interests for career planning. They write recommendations and help process students’ applications to college or trade school. It is important and rewarding work. School counselors help administer and interpret the results of standardized tests. A master’s degree in school counseling is usually required, beyond a bachelor’s degree. That is about 6 years of college. To learn more, volunteer in the guidance department at your school or interview your school counselor.