The Importance of College Counselors
In helping students see the full range of college and career pathways, classroom teachers seem to be the primary focus of any discussion. Rightfully so, as these educators help inspire, cultivate, lead, and encourage their students to discover their interests and aptitudes and pursue those opportunities to the fullest.
Equally important, though, are school counselors. Recently, the National Association of College Admissions Counseling wrote of the importance of high school counselors in shaping students’ postsecondary attendance. Looking at recent U.S. Department of Education data, NACAC noted that high school seniors who worked with school college counselors were:
- 6.8 times more likely to complete a FAFSA, or Free Applicaitno for Federal Student Aid;
- 3.2 times more likely to attend college; and
- Twice as likely to attend a bachelor’s degree program.
NACAC also reported that “other key factors that influenced students’ college-going behavior included: speaking with a counselor in ninth grade about going to college; parents speaking with a counselor by 11th grade about college participating in a college preparation program outside of school; having close friends who plan to attend a four-year college; and parents expectations about college going.
It is important for students and families to remember the important role counselors can play in identifying a pursuing college and career pathways. Counselors are part of the strong network of educators found in secondary schools and should serve as both a resource and a guide for those planning their futures.
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