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Jan. 22, 2011

Getting counseled

by Melodi Anahtar, Editor-in-Chief
Each time I've visited the counseling office this week, it has been filled with students sitting outside of their counselors' office with a pink schedule change slip in hand. Most of these students are making last minute adjustments for second semester because their math class was "too hard" or they don't like their teacher.

Counselors are able to help out their students by assisting them with college decisions, financial aids and providing a letter of recommendation for college applications. Alex Lutz
Counselors are able to help out their students by assisting them with college decisions, financial aids and providing a letter of recommendation for college applications.
Looking at these students spending their lunch period slumped in the chairs that line the counseling office, I realized how shallow it was to only come running to my counselor whenever I need schedule help. It has taken almost three years, but I have finally recognized that high school counselors are not supposed to be schedule shifters. Their job is to work with students to help them figure out a solid college path and to help students deal with the problems facing teenagers who are going through the stress of high school.

Sure, counselors are supposed to advise about schedules, but the fact that most students only meet with their counselor once or twice a year means that the counselors are not getting the most out of their career choice. I doubt that they pursued counseling with the anticipation of their peak visiting hours consisting of transferring students from "class A" to "class B". Our school counselors are well-trained, experienced and went to school to learn how to help students get on the right path for their future careers by getting into good colleges.

Counselors are the ones responsible for writing college recommendations that help their students stand out from the thousands of other applicants with good GPAs and extracurriculars. These recommendations are supposed to show how the student can positively contribute to the schools to which they are applying and handle the academic workload that comes with college. Counselors also help students find scholarships, teach them how to fill out applications and decide which colleges will fit students' individual interests. Although the Career Center is also available for these purposes, counselors are supposed to be able to handle these matters on a more personal basis. But it is impossible for any of these tasks get done if nobody takes the time to drop by and talk to their counselor.

Students have to acknowledge that they can't get into college by themselves. It takes a lot of planning and preparation, and counselors are able to help out in these regards. Although students tend to take counselors for granted, it is not entirely the counselor's fault. The only times when students are really encouraged to interact with their counselors is during these few weeks of schedule changes.

It is part of the administration's duty to encourage a strong counselor-student relationship. There should be a required number of visits per year or check-in weeks so students can get to know their counselors on a more personal level. These meetings would give students the opportunity to organize their future plans and become more acquainted with their college options. They would also make it much easier for the counselors to write a meaningful letter of recommendation for their students, which would help Blair's students shine. This is difficult because of Blair's large student population, but a schedule can definitely be implemented to give students some face-to-face time with their counselors.

This Tuesday rings in a new semester of a new year, and Blazers should take advantage of the fresh start to get in touch with their counselors and form a connection before it's too late.



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  • asdf on January 22, 2011 at 8:44 PM
    wisdom. people need to read this
  • a nice thought, but... on January 24, 2011 at 12:24 AM
    it's just not realistic for counselors to have a one-on-one relationship with almost 3,000 different students.
  • alkwe on January 24, 2011 at 9:25 PM
    yeahh melodi! i'm with ya
  • valid opinion on January 31, 2011 at 6:35 PM
    valid opinion....

    But counselors do know that most of the time they spend as counselors will be to assist students who come to talk about shifting classes, which in a way, is helping them construct a career path. When you go to a counselor, she won't just say, "Okay, I'll switch you out from Photography and put you in Pottery," she'll say, "Well what are your goals, and how will this class help you achieve it."

    But I do agree that students need to fully utilize available resources and work with their counselors to better their chances of getting into a college, and also not to forget, surviving high school.

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