High School Guidance Counseling
The goals that public high school guidance programs emphasize vary according to school size and location.
In 2002, the National Center for Education Statistics conducted a survey about guidance counseling in public high schools. This indicator draws on the survey’s findings to provide a description of guidance staff and the various goals their programs emphasize.
Among schools included in the survey, there was an average of 284 students for every guidance counselor, including counselors who were employed full and part time (see table 27-1). This number varied with certain school characteristics. For example, the number of students per counselor increased (from 150 to 365) as school size increased from small (less than 400 students) to very large (2,000 or more students). Schools with the lowest minority enrollment (less than 10 percent) and schools in rural areas had a lower number of students per counselor than did other schools.
The survey asked schools how much their guidance programs emphasize four goals: helping students plan and prepare for their work roles after high school, helping students with personal growth and development, helping students plan and prepare for postsecondary schooling, and helping students with their academic achievement in high school. Among these goals, helping students with their academic achievement was the most emphasized goal at the schools surveyed: 48 percent emphasized this goal foremost. In comparison, 26 percent of schools reported that the primary emphasis of their guidance program is to help students plan and prepare for postsecondary schooling, 17 percent to help them with personal growth and development, and 8 percent to help them plan and prepare for their work roles after high school.
The primary emphasis of guidance programs also varied by the characteristics of the school. For example, schools located in a city or urban fringe were more likely than rural schools to make helping students with their academic achievement their primary emphasis. The smallest schools (those with less than 400 students) were more likely than larger schools (those with 1,200 students or more) to report that their primary emphasis was on helping students plan and prepare for postsecondary schooling.
Reprinted with the permission of the National Center for Education Statistics.
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