Counseling Pitfalls Drag College Completion Goals

Click on the image for the full article
Click on the image for the full article

This article is brutally honest, but without this, where will improvement come from?  I want to go on record: this is not the counselors’ or casemanagers’ fault.  It’s all about ratios.  Just like with class size, when one professional is responsible for too many students, it is impossible to provide the quality support each individual needs and deserves.

Counselors’ case loads also matter. Nationwide, the average counselor sees nearly twice as many students as the 1:250 ratio recommended by the American Counseling Association. On average, each counselor is responsible for 471 students.

I have a caseload of about twenty and an additional twenty in my advisory each year.  It’s a challenge to keep up with them in addition to my teaching duties. I cannot imagine being responsible for 250+ students, all of which have individualized needs including: emotional, physical, and mental trauma, family trauma, relationship advice, college-guidance, etc.

All of this makes it difficult to accomplish the personalized approach that is so desperately needed.  But clearly, the personalized approach is successful, especially with the “underserved” populations.

“While current efforts … may produce some gains in college-going rates, emerging research points to specific counselor attitudes and priorities, as well as video, coaching and texting approaches demonstrated to have meaningful impacts, particularly among low-income students and others underrepresented in higher education,” the report says.

So why not invest in some of the low-cost (although perhaps time-consuming, especially upfront) strategies?  Seems worth it to me!


One thought on “Counseling Pitfalls Drag College Completion Goals”

  1. While I like approaches that are cheaper in monetary cost, the personalized approach that is so desperately needed is very expensive when it comes to time. High needs students require more individualized instruction in all things, not just classwork. We all know that these students aren’t getting what they need; however, this is not the fault of the counselor or the caseworker, but it is a result of mismanagement of resources and, frankly, a willful disregard for acknowledging the needs. Better resources and better compensation for educational staff will result in academic progress and college-readiness improvement.

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