Do students really go to guidance counselors for help?

by Abby Ryan, Reporter

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Imagine a classroom teacher having to maintain lessons, grades, and personal relationships with a class of more than 50 students.  This sounds ridiculous, but, by comparison, this is what school counselors experience. There are just too many students to get to know personally. This creates a circumstance where students don’t know their counselors well, so the valuable advice about today and the future gets overlooked and disregarded.

“It’s important for schools to have school counselors to guide students and parents through the academic, career, college readiness, and social/personal issues which arise throughout high school,” said Renata Emery, school counselor.

Emery elaborates that the role of a school counselor is to advocate for the best interest of every student, on their caseload and personal issues.

Some students don’t feel comfortable talking to their counselor. “I felt judged, rushed, and unwelcomed in previous visits,” said sophomore Harper Lindsay. She prefers to go to friends about her issues.

Sophomore Lexi Gullum, like many other students, doesn’t even know her counselor’s name. “If I wanted to talk to my counselor, I wouldn’t even know who to go to, let alone feel comfortable trusting them with my problems.”

School counselor Katherine Becker explains why students have such difficulty talking about their issues. “I think trust is a big factor.  If they feel like others have forsaken them before, they find it difficult to trust again.  They are also afraid of sharing information with us for fear it will get back to their parents.”

Becker continues, “Unfortunately our caseloads are so big that it makes it difficult to get to know each of our students on a more personal level.  With that said some students do not feel comfortable speaking to us because they do not know us well and feel that we do not know them well.  Then there are others who will come down because they feel they need to speak to someone and feel there is no one else to go to.”

According to The American Counselors Association the maximum recommended ratio of students to school counselors is 250 to 1. The average ratio of US high school students per counselor is 476 to 1. At LHS there are about 375 students assigned to each counselor.

Ilana Blum, new 9th grade school counselor,  said she works hard to be “student friendly and approachable.”

Blum explains that people have a hard time coming in and talking about their personal issues, especially teenagers. “High school is a hard time for a lot of kids and a time when people find themselves.”

She also said, “The reason students feel like they can’t come in and talk to us is because of a lack of relationships with their counselors.”

The American Counselors Association said, “Common problems school guidance counselors come across in high school are more complex because this is the transition into adulthood. They are beginning to search for their independence and peer pressure is very powerful in influencing their decisions. Aside from creating a foreground to a student’s future career, a counselor is their guide to making sound decisions in their academic, social and individual lives.”