Report: School Counselors Critical to College and Career Readiness

The Education Trust, a Washington-based organization, released a paper highlighting the role of school counselors in preparing high school students for postsecondary education and careers.

According to the paper, school counselors play a vital role in setting up students for success; however, they are often overwhelmed and sidetracked by assigned tasks that distract from the goal of preparing college- and career-ready students. Despite this, many school counselors are taking extra steps – such as poring over data to spot struggling students, or identifying students who need additional services – to increase students’ performance and their postsecondary opportunities.

The authors stated that all school counselors should be positioned to “assume leadership in the movement for college and career readiness,” and states, districts, and schools can take action by making these changes:

1)      Rework school counselors’ job descriptions to focus more on tasks that will result in college and career readiness for all students.

2)     Refocus counselor education programs so that school counselors are trained in educational equity and college and career readiness.

3)     Add more school-specific training and coursework on data usage to university counseling programs.

4)     Support current school counselors through additional professional development.

5)     Align school counselors’ evaluations with student outcomes.

Secondary students, including the many enrolled in Career Technical Education (CTE), would benefit from changes that allow school and career counselors to increase focus on college and career readiness for students.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

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