Today’s young people are living in an exciting time, with an increasingly diverse and mobile society, new technologies, and expanding opportunities. To help ensure they are prepared to become the next generation of parents, workers, leaders, and citizen, every student needs support, guidance, and opportunities during adolescence, a time of rapid growth and change. Adolescents face unique and diverse challenges, both personally and developmentally, that impact academic achievement.
High School Students' Developmental Needs
High school is the final transition into adulthood and the world of work as students begin separating from parents and exploring and defining their independence. Students are deciding who they are, what they do well, and what they will do when they graduate. During these adolescent years, students are evaluating their strengths, skills and abilities. The biggest influence is their peer group. They are searching for a place to belong and rely on peer acceptance and feedback. They face increased pressures regarding risk behaviors involving sex, alcohol and drugs while exploring the boundaries of more acceptable behavior and mature, meaningful relationships. They need guidance in making concrete and compounded decisions. They must deal with academic pressures as they face high-stakes testing, the challenges of college admissions, the scholarship and financial aid application process and entrance into a competitive job market.
Why High School Counselors?
High school years are full of growth, promise, excitement, frustration, disappointment and hope. It is the time when students begin to discover what the future holds for them. High school counselors enhance the learning process and promote academic achievement. School counseling programs are essential for students to achieve optimal personal growth, acquire positive social skills and values, set appropriate career goals and realize full academic potential to become productive, contributing members of the world community. The professional high school counselor holds a master’s degree and required state certification in school counseling. Maintaining certification includes on-going professional development to stay current with educational reform and challenges facing today’s students. Professional association membership is encouraged as it enhances the school counselor’s knowledge and effectiveness.
Example Supports and Services:
- Academic skills support
- Organizational, study and test-taking skills
- Post-secondary planning and application process
- Career awareness and the world of work
- Substance abuse education
- Individual/family/school crisis intervention
- Peer relationships and effective social skills
- Communication, problem-solving, decision-making, conflict resolution and study skills
- Goal setting/decision-making