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Elements of a Comprehensive School Counseling Program

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

This lesson will discuss the essential elements of a comprehensive school counseling program. The lesson will end with a brief quiz to test what you have learned.

School Counseling Program

Think about your school years. Did you have a school counselor ? If so, what types of things did that individual do for you, the other students, and the school? It is very probable that you are not even aware of the many things that school counselors are responsible for. They are leaders, advocates, counselors, educators and collaborators who are responsible for offering comprehensive school counseling programs to students. These programs are designed to support the academic, career, and personal development of students. Let's take a closer look at the many facets of a comprehensive school counseling program.

Academic Development

When you were asked to think about your school counselors, did you think about the advice and guidance they gave about classes and scheduling? Academic counseling and guidance is a primary responsibility of school counselors and comprehensive school counseling programs. Student success is the goal for all school counseling programs and academic success is a major part of that.

As mentioned previously, sometimes students just need guidance on the classes they should be taking. At other times, struggling students may need extra help to deal with learning or developmental issues that may be blocking their success. Standardized tests are a huge part of this academic facet of school counseling programs because they are often required in order to pass a class, graduate, or enter college. School counselors work one-on-one with students to make sure that they are on track in these areas. They may also design specific programs and events for groups of students and perhaps for parents to be sure that students have access to essential information for academic success.

Career Development

Why are you reading this lesson? Are you studying for a test or attempting to earn credit for a course of study? Most people report that the driving force behind their efforts in education come from a desire to enter a specific profession or obtain a certain job. Comprehensive school counseling programs recognize the importance of career development and support the student through this process.

For example, school counselors frequently administer tests to students to try to pinpoint vocational interests or abilities. These types of tests help to show students and their counselors the professions they may enjoy and be good at. Comprehensive school counseling programs may also offer career focused events such as job fairs or specific vocational training opportunities for students. These events help to introduce potential job opportunities and employers to students. School counselors may also assist students with resumes and interviewing skills in an effort to foster career development.

Personal Development

Did you ever have a personal or social problem in school? If so, did you seek help and support from a school counselor? Comprehensive school counseling programs recognize the importance of the personal and social development of students. The school years are frequently fraught with emotional ups and downs. These problems, if allowed to fester, may serve as a barrier to success in school.

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