College of Education

Frequently Asked Question

What Do School Counselors Do?

Educational, vocational, and school counselors-in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools-help students evaluate their abilities, interests, talents, and personality characteristics in order to develop realistic academic and career goals.  Counselors use interviews, counseling sessions, tests, or other methods when evaluating and advising students.  They operate career information centers and career education programs.  High school counselors advise on college majors, admission requirements, entrance exams, and financial aid and on trade or technical schools and apprenticeship programs.  They help students develop job search skills such as resume writing and interviewing techniques.  College career planning and placement counselors assist alumni or students with career development and job-hunting techniques.

Elementary school counselors observe younger children during classroom and play activities, and confer with their teachers and parents to evaluate their strengths, problems, or special needs.  They also help students develop good study habits.  They do less vocational and academic counseling than do secondary school counselors.

School counselors at all levels help students understand and deal with social, behavioral, and personal problems. These counselors emphasize preventive and developmental counseling to provide students with the life skills needed to deal with problems before they occur, and to enhance personal, social, and academic growth.  Counselors provide special services, including alcohol and drug prevention programs, and classes that teach students to handle conflicts without resorting to violence.  Counselors also try to identify cases involving domestic abuse and other family problems that can affect a student's development.  Counselors work with students individually, with small groups, or with entire classes. They consult and work with parents, teachers, school administrators, school psychologists, school nurses, and social workers.

Taken from the Occupational Outlook Handbook (