High school counselors play a vital role in the lives of the students they advise. From ensuring students select coursework that will challenge them with the appropriate amount of rigor each year to helping them identify and evaluate best-fit colleges to advising on application timelines, counselors provide invaluable guidance as they help students navigate the often-confusing journey to college.
Shouldering these responsibilities, however, especially in a large, public high school with hundreds of students assigned to each counselor, can be daunting. In 2018, the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) in conjunction with the American School Counselors Association (ASCA), produced a report on the student to counselor ratio in each state after tracking 10 years of data from school year 2004-05 through 2014-15. While the ASCA recommends a 250-1 student-to-counselor ratio, NACAC’s report found the average nationwide ratio to be 470-1 during this period, effectively doubling the workload for each counselor in US public schools.
Overworked counselors inevitably lead to underserved students in many cases. Despite their passion for serving students, counselors serving 450+ students simply don’t have enough time in a day to devote the time and attention necessary to adequately advise students. Given the complex array of steps, considerations, and decisions that students must make to maximize their high school experience, identify appropriate colleges, and develop the strongest applications, all while ensuring they maintain their mental health, how can counselors keep up?
Independent educational counselors can help to alleviate high school counselors’ workload. IECs have the capacity to get to know students well and ensure that they receive the individual time and attention necessary to empower them to navigate their post-secondary options with knowledge and confidence.