University of Iowa College of Education faculty share tips for school counselors to help all students succeed. Check back often for more tips and insights on topics and issues that will empower school counselors with best practices, the latest research, and valuable resources.
College and Career Readiness: A reminder that it’s a life-long process
To the lay person, “CCR” – College and Career Readiness – happens in high school, when a young person turns their full attention to “what they want to do with the rest of their life.”
However, school counselors know that CCR doesn’t happen in only the four years of high school. Instead, it is about “identifying all those things that we think students need to be capable of doing as they transition through school and prepare themselves for an investment in lifelong learning,” says David Duys, an associate professor in the University of Iowa College of Education’s School Counseling Program, who also notes the sooner career exploration is introduced to a student, the better.
Duys discusses in detail each stage of a student’s academic journey and how the experiences in each build on the previous to remind all that college and career readiness truly begins in elementary school.
Preparing Today's Students for the Ever and Fast-changing World of Tomorrow
Susannah Wood, an associate professor at the University of Iowa’s College of Education and the former program coordinator for the master’s program in school counseling, suggests “life skills” like critical thinking, self-awareness, and the ability to collaborate are also “work skills” and so, too, are using technology wisely and using social media wisely.
Wood also notes the importance of school counselors working to establish a positive culture within their school. “School counselors are a large part of that (process) because they are leaders in the school,” she says.
Gerta Bardhoshi, an assistant professor in the College of Education at the University of Iowa, specializes in helping school counselors prevent burnout as they provide critical assistance to students.
“Counselors often feel like they’re too emotionally exhausted to be able to stay engaged and remain vital in their jobs, and like they don’t have the supports necessary to meet the needs of all students,” she notes.
According to Bardhoshi, research indicates that a self-aware school counselor, one who is attentive to their own needs, is often more effective in their role and has a greater chance at longevity in the field.
“School counselors are really good about advocating for their students, but sometimes they need a little bit of encouragement in advocating for their roles,” says Bardhoshi.
Addressing Mental Health Needs
Gerta Bardhoshi, an assistant professor in the College of Education at the University of Iowa, says school counselors are being presented a professional opportunity as the national discussion turns to addressing the mental health needs of students.
Bardhoshi recommends school counselors advocate for engaging directly with students, consult with teacher and parents, and have a thorough understanding of all resources that are available for a student who is experiencing persistent and intense mental health challenges.
“If we have healthy students, if we have engaged students, if we have students who have empathy and show self-control, and are interested in others, we can then work on college awareness, work on career needs, work on academic needs,” says Bardhoshi.