There are four steps required to become a college counselor: post-secondary training, related work experience, applying for a job, and completing the job interview process. A college counselor typically works in the student services department and is usually assigned a specific student group. A college counselor is also known as a student services adviser. This role focuses on providing information about programs available to students, and is not the same as a student psychologist or psychiatrist.
People who want to become a college counselor are typically outgoing, enjoy working with others, and find satisfaction in advising students. The role of college counselor is an important one, acting as a first line of contact for students who are having difficulty navigating the college environment, have questions about their academic program, or are looking for advice on other issues. Many college counselors are responsible for scheduling events, organizing network opportunities, and providing other tools to help people meet each other.
The first requirement to become a college counselor is to complete a post-secondary education program. All colleges require their counselors to have completed an undergraduate degree or diploma. It is important to note that it is not necessary to have graduated from a particular college to work as a student adviser at that school. The degree can be in a wide range of subjects, ranging from English to history.
Related work experience includes jobs as a student adviser, residence adviser, camp counselor, student facilitator, or other advisory role. All of these jobs provide opportunities to work closely with individual clients, understand their needs, and learn the different advisory methods. These experiences can be gained both inside and outside the college environment.
When applying for a job to become a college counselor, be sure to proofread your resume and cover letter, double-checking for any grammar or spelling mistakes. Research the details of the school or faculty and try to tailor your cover letter to its specific needs and requirements. All colleges will require a criminal records check before they can make a job offer. It is important to ensure that the college counselor meets a certain pattern of behavior. Keep this in mind when applying.
During the job interview process to become a college counselor, it is important to remember that the post-secondary sector typically has at least two rounds of interviews for most positions. The first round is with the human resources staff and is a preliminary interview. They have a standard list of questions and are looking for complete, concise responses.
The second set of interviews is typically with the supervisor or manager and may include other college counselors. Think about your answers, stay calm, and focus on the skills you bring. Avoid the temptation to over-promise, or exaggerate your skills or experience.