The State of School Counseling: Revisiting the Path Forward

Posted by National Consortium for School Counseling and Postsecondary Success on May 29, 2017

The 2011 national survey of school counselors, Counseling at a Crossroads, charted a clear new direction for the profession, highlighting the unique opportunity for school counselors to advance the nation’s goal of increased college attainment. This comprehensive survey of the field positioned counselors as key leaders within schools and drivers of education policy, explicitly linking the work to broad academic outcomes as well as specific college-related tasks ranging from the completion of financial aid applications to the creation of a college-going culture. This report cast a spotlight on the conditions that undermine counselors’ current efforts to increase postsecondary success, such as limited training and poorly defined roles. Most importantly, it told the profession: “We could either become central to accelerating student academic achievement in our schools or remain at the margins of educational progress.”

A national focus on college attainment combined with an emphasis on career pathways has affirmed the criticality of school counselors to assist in navigating the college and career process. In 2015, the National Consortium for School Counseling and Postsecondary Success (NCSCPS) formed in response to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative and the call for improvements to school counseling and school-based college and career counseling systems. NCSCPS members coordinated four national White House convenings (Harvard, San Diego State University, University of North Florida, and American University) to carry the momentum of the 2014 introduction of Reach Higher and the achievements that followed. The consortium aims to provide a leading voice for college and career readiness with specific attention to advancing equitable and accessible pathways to postsecondary success for all students, especially those who face formidable barriers to postsecondary opportunities

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