Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education

Guidance counselors
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Author:  Maggie Chambers [ Sat Apr 08, 2006 11:27 am ]
Post subject:  Guidance counselors

The SAT thread got me thinking: What was your experience with high school guidance counselors? I never heard of them telling people not to take the SAT, but I did see a lot of problems with them. I don't know how much of this was district or school policy, but here's what I experienced:

* Before school started, once you got your class schedule, you could go to the school at a certain time and request to have it changed. However, once you were taking a certain number of AP classes, you could NOT get out of them. They'd let you switch which AP class you were taking, and they'd let you add an AP, but by no means were they going to let you lower the number you were taking. Apparently, number of AP enrollment was very important to them.

* You were required to take the AP exam for any AP class you were in. Period. Not taking it automatically reduced your year grade in that class by a letter.

* They looooved to talk about how much money the senior class was awarded in scholarships. To inflate this number, they pushed students to apply for as many colleges and scholarships as possible. "It doesn't matter if you don't think you want to go there, just apply, and apply for the scholarships, and report everything you're awarded!! It doesn't matter if you already have a full ride, keep applying!!!!!" (They told this to someone who got the Morehead to Carolina, and had already accepted it.)

* They also set up a Wall of College Acceptance, listing everywhere anyone got in. Again, they didn't care if you wanted to go there, they just wanted to be able to put one more name under the list for that school, especially the more prestigious ones. I was a major disappointment: I only applied to App. :wink:

It was obvious that most of the counselors were focused on making the school look good, not on making sure you got the most out of your education and planned well for your future. But my experiences may have been affected by the fact that I had a high SAT and good grades. What did the rest of y'all experience? (Sorry this was so long.)

Author:  Laura Greene [ Sat Apr 08, 2006 12:09 pm ]
Post subject:  guidance counselors

Hmmm i can't say that I had exactly the same experience as you, Maggie, I guess our school wasn't quite as focused on announcing who got into college and everything, but there were some similarities. They did have an awards ceremony where they read off everyone's scholarships and how much money they received. I didn't really think much about it except that it was boring, but now that you mention it, I don't think it's such a good idea either. lots of students did not receive scholarships, and i think that probably made them feel pretty left out. also, the students who were going to a technical college were not recognized either. as far as guidance counselors go, i really didn't think they were that helpful. mine never met with me except when she came in to talk about the SAT. she didn't talk about applying for college, and i think that should have been changed because what if i wasn't planning on applying for college? she could have encouraged me to go and helped me with the application process. i think counselors should be more involved in helping students achieve.

Author:  Amy McDonald [ Wed Apr 12, 2006 12:46 am ]
Post subject: 

There was a woman in the guidance department at my school who had the job of helping everyone get scholarships. Juniors and seniors signed up for meetings with her and she helped us with college applications and scholarship applications. She handed me all of the information about national and local scholarships that I wouldn't have known about otherwise. This lady was persistent too-she would track you down in the hallways and remind you of deadlines and such. I'm really grateful that she was around, because I was super-lazy my senior year and wouldn't have applied for so many scholarships if I hadn't been pushed.
Our school threw a banquet at the end of the year where the scholarship recipients and donors were recognized, and I think it was a really good idea. Receiving a scholarship is a big achievement, and deserves recognition.

Author:  Emily Dale [ Wed Apr 12, 2006 10:27 am ]
Post subject: 

I absoutely hated my senior guidence counselor (as did most of my classmates!). I guess I would describe him as opposite of what everyone else seems to be saying about theirs. He was not as involved in pushing students to apply for colleges and scholorships and did not seem to realize how stressful the experience was. On the other hand, he did a lot of work with at-risk students which I'm sure was very needed. Our school also had a designated counselor for each grade level and did not allow students to see a different counselor, even if another counselor was better suited to help in certain situations.

Author:  Laurie Tate [ Wed Apr 12, 2006 2:03 pm ]
Post subject: 

My senior guidance counsler had it really rough. We had two other counslers that both had a third of the non-graduating student body but mine had the final third AND all the seniors. The poor woman was permantely stressed out and often forgot things. She really tried hard but was underpaid and undersupported. Our guidance counslers didn't ususally meet with everyone before signing up for classes because they didn't have time. The AP teachers relied on recommendations from our previous teachers to decide whether or not we should be accepted in an AP class. Basically my guidance counsler didn't push on college to me personally, because she knew I wasn't one to worry about. Her main concern was helping the problem students graduate high school. In our situation, she had to use a triage method in helping students.

Author:  Luci Osborne [ Thu Apr 13, 2006 3:00 pm ]
Post subject: 

My experience with my high school guidance counselor was really a pretty good one. I'm from a small, rural area where a lot of kids don't end up going to college. They graduate (hopefully) and then go on to work. My counselor wasn't necessarily the most upbeat person, but he did do whatever he needed to, to help us get our stuff together for applying to colleges. He reminded us of things we needed to do for sholarships, etc. He really did a good job in my opinion.

Author:  Maggie Chambers [ Wed Apr 19, 2006 10:28 pm ]
Post subject: 

I'm glad that most of you seem to have had better experiences with your guidance counselors than I did. :D

Author:  Brianne Henderson [ Tue Apr 25, 2006 1:11 pm ]
Post subject: 

I don't even remember having a guidence counselor. I never had anyone tell me where to go or where not to go, but I also had the attitude that no one was going to tell me I couldn't do something. Which I find that alot of counselors don't give students the encouragement that they need and they really don't care, I do agree that sometimes they can be more concerned about the school than the student.

Author:  Lauren Shook [ Tue Apr 25, 2006 4:12 pm ]
Post subject: 

I did not experience the college issue Maggie talked about. I had very supportive counselors that were willing to help me in any way possible. I was encouraged to apply to more than one college, but it was due to the fact that I may not get in that certain one. I applied to four different colleges. I was accepted to all but one. There were no "look where we're headed" lists hanging on our walls. All the counselors were very happy to have us apply and they did everything they could to encourage us to do well. We requested our classes at the end of the year for the upcoming year. We got our schedules in the mail and most of the time they were what we wanted. We did not have the problem of being given too many AP classes and not being able to drop them if we needed/wanted to. We were encouraged to take AP classes if we wanted and yes, we had the option of not taking the exam if we wanted our grade lowered. Overall, I had a good high school experience with counselors. I am looking to go to Graduate School at the Univ. of South Carolina and have thought about getting a degree in Elem. Ed and Counseling.

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