WASHINGTON — More than 8 in 10 school counselors surveyed reported that a top mission of schools should be ensuring that all students complete 12th grade ready to succeed in college and careers, yet only 30 percent of all school counselors and 19 percent of counselors in high-poverty schools saw this as closely fitting their school’s mission in reality. These same counselors — the majority of whom have master’s degrees — reported that they lacked adequate preparation when they began their careers, possibly limiting their ability to effectively aid the students they serve.
These are just some of the findings of the new Annual Survey of School Counselors — commissioned by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center’s National Office for School Counselor Advocacy (NOSCA) in collaboration with Civic Enterprises and Hart Research Associates — that will be released today at an event in Washington. The study was made possible with the help of a generous grant from the Kresge Foundation. School counselors are on the front lines in our schools and are high-value resources for students. They have a unique viewpoint to offer and take a holistic approach to guiding students toward college and career readiness.
“School counselors are an integral part of our national strategy to raise the college completion rate and reclaim America’s place as the global leader in education,” said Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board. “Counselors are the wide-angle lens bringing together academics, extracurriculars, family life and career planning to match the right students to the right colleges. Their work is invaluable, and it’s time we start treating it that way.”
The survey of 5,308 middle and high school counselors — the largest and broadest national survey of these key education professionals — is especially relevant given the current economic conditions we are facing. Our nation’s ability to thrive economically and socially is directly aligned with our students’ ability to succeed by attaining a postsecondary education and being prepared to enter a highly competitive workforce. We need to better utilize the resources already at our disposal to help reach this goal.
“The first large-scale survey of school counselors could bring about a sea change in how schools view and deploy counselors,” said John Bridgeland, CEO of Civic Enterprises and coauthor of the study. “Counselors want to focus on the college-ready mission, understand their unique role in seeing the complete picture of their students over time, and support measures of effectiveness to hold themselves accountable for success.”
“Counselors are largely unified in their views of their role and their mission, but they are frustrated that their schools are not taking full advantage of their abilities to help students prepare for success in college and their careers,” said Allan Rivlin, partner at Hart Research Associates.
Other Key Findings:
- Three out of four counselors (74 percent) reported their unique role as being student advocates who create pathways and support to ensure that all students have opportunities to achieve postsecondary goals (by selecting it as one of their two or three most important contributions among a list of five potential roles).
- Only 42 percent said their schools take full advantage of this contribution (giving ratings of 9 or 10 on a scale of 0 to 10).
- Nearly all counselors said that they are committed to a strategic approach to promote college and career readiness by 12th grade, including 57 percent who strongly supported this approach (93 percent rated NOSCA’s Eight Components of College and Career Readiness counseling system a 6 or higher on a 10-point scale; 57 percent rated it a 9 or 10).
- More than 6 in 10 counselors (61 percent) supported accountability measures and incentives for counselors to meet the 12th-grade college- and career-ready goal.
- The majority of high school counselors endorsed FIVE accountability measures as fair and appropriate (with a rating of 6 to 10 on a 10-point scale) including 57 percent who endorsed college application rates as fair and appropriate.
- Counselors at higher poverty schools (as determined by 75% or more free lunch eligibility) are more likely to report a desire to spend more time on building a college-going culture (75%) than counselors at lower poverty schools (49% at schools with 25% or less free lunch eligibility).
“The Kresge Foundation is pleased to support the College Board’s Annual Survey of School Counselors,” said William F. L. Moses, Kresge’s program director of education. “We believe it is important to hear directly from counselors because of the critical role they play in creating a college-going culture in each school and helping students prepare for life beyond high school. This survey will provide data that will help shape programs and policies that enable all students to have access to the high-quality counseling services they deserve.”
The findings of the report will be released at an event in Washington. Participants at the discussion include:
- Congressman Timothy Bishop
- Anita Berger, Principal, Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, Washington, D.C.
- John Bridgeland, President and CEO, Civic Enterprises
- Barbara Gill, Assistant Vice President of Undergraduate Admissions and Enrollment Planning, University of Maryland
- Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, Professor and Chair, Department of Counseling and Human Services, Johns Hopkins University
- Patricia Martin, Assistant Vice President, NOSCA
- William Moses, Program Director of Education Initiatives, Kresge Foundation
- Gary Meunier, School Counselor, Weston High School, Connecticut
- Donae Owens, Student, Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, Washington, D.C.
- Tom Rudin, Senior Vice President of Government Relations, Advocacy & Development, College Board
- Jay Tucker, Counseling Department Chair, Delaware Valley High School
- Amanda Wintersteen, Assistant Director for Government Relations, National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC)
A video featuring Secretary of Education Arne Duncan discussing the findings of the survey and the importance of school counselors will be shown to participants during the event. To view the video click here.
If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Carly Lindauer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-713-8052.
The College Board Advocacy & Policy Center was established to help transform education in America. Guided by the College Board’s principles of excellence and equity in education, the Center works to ensure that students from all backgrounds have the opportunity to succeed in college and beyond. Critical connections between policy, research and real-world practice are made to develop innovative solutions to the most pressing challenges in education today. Drawing from the experience of the College Board’s active membership consisting of education professionals from more than 5,900 institutions, priorities include: College Preparation & Access, College Affordability & Financial Aid, and College Admission & Completion.