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What Do School Counselors Do?

School counselors have many roles. Their primary goal is to encourage, support, and foster positive academic, career, social, and personal development in child and youth in schools.

Below, we have listed specific responsibilities and roles of school counselors.

  1. Individual counseling and advisement
    e.g., Resolve conflicts, identity development, specific student concerns (cultural adjustment, learning a new language, social class, racism, substance use, grades, peer pressure, etc.)
  2. Consultation—working with administrators, teachers, and staff to meet student needs
    e.g., Teach staff about various student issues (suicide and loss)
  3. Student appraisal—coordinating information that goes into confidential student files and interpreting the info to help qualify students for special programs
  4. Parent help—meet individual and in groups with parents, provide resources and information on child development, specific topics, etc
  5. Referral—provide referrals to appropriate professionals in the schools and in the outside community
  6. Program planning—coordinating work of various school personnel, parents, and other interested parties in implementation of the school counseling program. Students in the USF School Counseling Program have developed programs in the following areas:
    • Ethnic identity
    • Health education
    • Bullying
    • Retention and first generation college students
    • Sociodrama around peer relations.
  7. Career development—developing and implementing career awareness as part of the school counseling curriculum
  8. Change agent for the school atmosphere
  9. Student advocate in meetings with teachers and staff
  10. Classroom observations on behaviors, relationships and providing feedback to teacher, students, parents, staff
  11. Public relations—explain importance of counseling with school staff, parents, teachers, students, community members, explain problems students may have. Relate to cultural stigmas
  12. Local research—student population characteristics (drug use on campus, etc.)
  13. Screen students—interview new students, etc.
  14. Staff development—around particular issues

From: Muro, J. J. & Kottman, T. (1995). Guidance and Counseling in the Elementary and Middle Schools: A Practical Approach. WCB Brown & Benchmark Publishers: Madison WI.