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How School Counselors Act as Academic Advisors

Instructor: Lauren Meleah Ellis

Lauren Meleah Ellis received her bachelors degree from the University of Alabama and masters degree in elementary education from the University of West Alabama. Meleah is currently completing her doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of Louisiana Monroe. Her research and dissertation is focused on inquiry based learning and teaching with a concentration in differentiated instruction.

School counselors serve students by advising them on academics and preparing them for the next step after high school. This lesson will provide helpful strategies that school counselors can use to guide college and career readiness in their students.

School Counselors Serving as Academic Advisors

Can you remember back to the role that your guidance counselor played in assisting you with your academics or other life decisions? Preparing to enter the workforce or attending college can be exciting but also overwhelming for students. The process of entering into this new phase of life presents students with uncertainties and challenges.

A survey of school counselors indicated that 90 percent of their schools offered students college admission tests, financial aid guidance, and other graduation resources, but the number of students that took advantage of those resources was very low.

Linda is a school counselor assisting students in completing graduation requirements and guiding students as they are preparing to make plans after high school. Let's look at the strategies she uses to promote awareness and help prepare students.

Assisting with Graduation Requirements

Schedule one on one meetings with students to discuss academic and social needs.

Linda meets with high school seniors every nine weeks in order to review their progress and academic records. During this time, she engages in meaningful conversations with students regarding their grades, attendance, life events, and future plans.

One of the students in Linda's school is a young man named Samuel, who plays on the basketball team. She has noticed that his GPA has dropped recently and that he has exceeded the number of absences allowed for the school year. Linda schedules a time to meet with Samuel to express her concerns and offer him support to ensure that he meets all of the necessary graduation requirements.

Samuel expresses to Linda that he does not have reliable transportation to school and is unable to keep his grades up because of the time spent at basketball practice. Linda understands basketball is an important part of his life, but also realizes that academics are a vital part of his overall success. Linda addresses his academic needs by collaborating with his coach to designate a time for him to participate in study hall in order to finish the credits he needs to graduate. She addresses the issue of absences by arranging for Samuel to ride to school with another student that lives close to him.

Provide a list of academic resources for students.

During the school year, Linda helps connect students to resources within the school and in the community that will assist with their academic needs. These resources can offer academic assistance to students to help them fulfill graduation requirements.

Angeline is a junior and wants to apply to a four-year university in another state next year but her ACT scores do not meet the requirements for admission. Angeline asks Linda if she can help her find a tutor to help her study for a retake of the ACT. Linda provides her with a list of several individuals that offer tutoring services to students. This strategy allows Linda to connect students with the necessary resources to help them be successful.

Family, Preferences, New Activities

Invite college representatives to school for a college fair day.

Each year, Linda coordinates a college fair day with visits from local college representatives who meet with high school juniors and seniors. The students at her school can visit with university representatives to learn about their programs. This college fair day allows students to receive information about admission requirements, scholarships offered, and to ask any questions about college life, tuition, and financial assistance.

Melinda is a senior that is interested in studying to become an engineer. During the college fair day, she is able to visit with different college representatives to ask questions about their various programs. She is also interested in attending a school that offers students an intramural sports program. After gathering information from the different college representatives, Melinda is able to narrow down her search to two schools that offer engineering degrees and have the intramural opportunities she wants.

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