The school counselor role is a multi-faceted one. In fulfilling job responsibilities, school counselors serve as leaders, advocates, consultants, and program managers. All of these roles influence student academic achievement and success in life.
Well-designed counseling interventions can improve attendance, reduce disciplinary incidents, and increase graduation rates. Unfortunately, the U.S. is experiencing a shortage of school counselors. Nearly 1 in 5 students do not have counselors in their schools. Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SOSU) is doing its part to fill this shortage across America by offering counselor education through its Master of Education in School Counseling online program.
SOSU’s program follows the guidance of the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) and the ASCA National Model for building a comprehensive counseling program. Students who progress through SOSU’s online M.Ed. program are professional counselors-in-training and role models well-versed in ASCA’s Ethical Standards.
According to the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), school counselors support student growth in three developmental domains: academic development, social/emotional development, and the development of college or career goals. Service delivery includes classroom curriculum lessons, small group counseling, and individual counseling. Counselors explore relevant, research-based interventions useful in meeting student needs.
The SOSU online M.Ed. program in School Counseling dovetails with ASCA’s guidelines by equipping counselors-in-training with research methods necessary for locating relevant information.
Cultural Awareness Benefits Students
Coursework in SOSU’s online M.Ed. in School Counseling covers topics of importance for effective counseling. Cultural awareness is fully addressed in COUN 5483: Social and Cultural Diversity Issues in Counseling. This important topic receives emphasis throughout SOSU’s online M.Ed. in School Counseling program. Being aware that some student groups remain underrepresented in advanced academic programs, counselors advocate for equity and inclusion.
Counselors are leaders for systemic change and advocate for diverse populations with variations in race, economic status, culture, religion or sexual identity. According to research findings published in the Professional School Counseling journal, black students and first-generation college students are more likely than their peers to identify a school counselor as the person who had the greatest influence on their decision to seek a postsecondary education.
Developing Practical Applications
COUN 5423: Pre-Practicum prepares counselors-in-training with the basic counseling skills necessary to their work with children, adolescents and adults. Counselors-in-training then apply these skills to a field experience during their culminating Practicum course (COUN 5543) which requires them to log 100 clock-hours of supervised counseling in a school setting.
The school counselor’s role has evolved over the years. No longer are school counselors in the reactive role of guidance counselor. The transformed school counselor is active in preventing issues from developing and offers support for the academic success of students. The knowledge and expertise gained in SOSU’s 42-hour online master’s program prepares counselors-in-training to meet the needs of America’s students and to shape tomorrow’s leaders.