The School Counselor and College Access Professionals
(Adopted 2016, revised 2022)
ASCA PositionSchool counselors play a critical role in preparing all students for lifelong learning and success. To ensure students have the opportunity to reach their full potential, school counselors collaborate and consult with community-based organizations, including college access organizations and college access professionals, within the framework of a school counseling program.
The RationaleImplementation of a school counseling program involves working collaboratively with community-based organizations, including college access organizations and college access professionals, to help meet students’ academic and career development needs. Community-based organizations often have expertise and time to work with historically marginalized populations and should be part of the total communitywide approach to postsecondary education.
Community-based organizations can provide tremendous value to the work school counselors do in the context of improving school-based programs and student outcomes. The Council of National School Counseling and College Access Organizations, in collaboration with ASCA, acknowledges, the various professions that play a role in facilitating the process of aiding students in their postsecondary endeavors (Richardson, et al., 2022). College access professionals often include school counselors, college advisors, professional/trained mentors, career advisors and other specialists trained to serve students in navigating their college and career pathway.
Clear agreements between the school and the college access professional or community-based organization should be in place. The agreements should outline:
- a definition and delineation of functions and responsibilities of the college access professional, with particular focus on the limitations college access professionals must have in students’ social/emotional developmental needs
- clear language stating the college access professionals’ role is in support of the work of the school counselor rather than a replacement for the role/function of the school counselor
- a list of the student records or personal information college access professionals can access
- expectations that college access professionals must maintain the highest level of confidentiality related to student records or personal information
- the responsible supervisory entity for the college access professional, which includes a statement indicating the need for college access professionals to make referrals to this entity in the event students present issues beyond the scope of their college access training and skills
- the responsible compensation entity
- increased postsecondary attainment rates, particularly among low-income and marginalized student populations (Perna, 2015)
- mentoring opportunities, individualized needs-based services and academic remediation to help students access postsecondary opportunities
- opportunities for students to enroll in postsecondary courses or programs to prepare for postsecondary education
- partnerships with college access programs, scholarship programs, the Department of Education and mentoring services that raise awareness of the importance of postsecondary training
The School Counselor's RoleSchool counselors understand that partnerships are an integral component of college readiness (Bryan et al., 2017). As such, collaborative partnerships are defined as community-based organizations within the framework of a school counseling program. School counselors actively seek to assist students in preparing for postsecondary success. Through collaboration and consultation with college access professionals, school counselors can increase the scope of their work and provide communitywide benefits within a school counseling program approach by:
- initiating and sustaining conversations regarding community needs with community stakeholders
- planning a communitywide response to college preparation and access
- setting communitywide goals and action plans for college access
- sharing common data with community stakeholders
- implementing collaborative interventions in college access
- helping students complete the steps necessary for participating in college access programs or postsecondary programs, such as registering for tests or applying for financial aid
- referring/nominating students for programs
SummarySchool counselors can promote college access by fostering family and community-based partnerships that focus on access, knowledge sharing and the creation of college opportunities for K–12 students. College access organizations and professionals can provide beneficial academic and career opportunities for students by extending the reach of school counseling programs. Effective collaborations include a clear delineation of function and roles. School counselors are the catalyst for establishing the collaborative partnerships that help students receive these benefits.
ReferencesBruce, M., & Bridgeland, J. (2012). The 2012 survey of school counselors, True North: Charting the course to college and career readiness. New York, NY: College Board.
Bryan, J., Young, A., Griffin, D., & Holcomb-McCoy, C. (2017). Leadership Practices Linked to Involvement in School–Family–Community Partnerships. Professional School Counseling, 21(1), 1.
Perna, L. W. (2015). Improving College Access and Completion for Low-Income and First-Generation Students: The Role of College Access and Success Programs. Retrieved from https://repository.upenn.edu/gse_pubs/301
Richardson, S., Bowman, T., Ison, A., Miller, A., & Coffey Consulting. (2022). Building College Access/Admissions Counseling Competencies Review of the Coursework. School Counseling College Access. Retrieved February 20, 2022, from http://schoolcounselingcollegeaccess.org/
American School Counselor Association (2021). The School Counselor and Student Postsecondary Recruitment. Alexandria, VA: Author.
American School Counselor Association (2017). The School Counselor and Individual Student Planning for Postsecondary Preparation. Alexandria, VA: Author.
American School Counselor Association (2021). The School Counselor and Cultural Diversity. Alexandria, VA: Author.
Barnett, E. (2016). Building Student Momentum from High School into College: Ready or Not: It’s Time to Rethink the 12th Grade. Jobs for the Future. Retrieved from http://www.jff.org/sites/default/files/publications/materials/Building-Student Momentum-021916.pdf
Pathways to College Network. (2011). The role of mentoring in college access and success. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED520415.pdf
Tierney, W. G., Corwin, Z. B., & Colyar, J. E. (2005). Counseling matters: Knowledge, assistance and organizational commitment in college preparation. In Preparing for college: Nine elements of effective outreach (pp. 69-88). Albany, NY: SUNY Press.