A school counselor may be an instrumental part of a student's experience in school. Since they generally aren't in charge of grading papers or handing out detentions, counselors have a unique opportunity to work with students in a manner quite different than that of teachers or administration personnel. There are many different school counselor jobs, which are usually broken up by student age groups.
Elementary school counselor jobs allow counselors to work with young students still transitioning into the educational world. Most elementary schools have students aged 5 to 12, giving school counselors the chance to work with everyone from pre-schoolers afraid to leave their parents to adolescents nervous about moving on to middle school. Elementary school counselor jobs often focus on helping kids adapt to the school system and learn about proper behavior and constructive attitudes toward school. Elementary school counselors also have an important role in identifying children that may have developmental issues that are interfering with education or the social world of school, and can also be critically important in uncovering child abuse.
In middle or junior high school settings, school counselors can play an important role in helping students transition from childhood to adolescence. A counselor's job may involve setting up tutoring and after-school programs for students that are having difficulty adjusting to the difference between elementary and middle school work levels. In dealing with young teenagers, counselors must also have good conflict management skills as well as a good eye for signs of peer bullying. Since students at this age often run into problems at home over rules and level of independence, counselors may also need to serve as a mediator to improve communication between parents and kids.
School counselor jobs at the high school level include all of the social and academic assistance of middle school jobs, but have the added issue of preparing for life after secondary school. With adulthood and freedom fast approaching, it may be difficult for students to focus on issues like college preparation, standardized tests, and meeting graduation requirements. Counselors are often a key link to helping faculty and administrators understand the lives and interests of students, as many students regard counselors with somewhat more respect than other educational professionals.
In a collegiate environment, a school counselor may provide career planning assistance and scholarship information, mediate disputes between students or between students and faculty, and provide an open door to those having social problems at school. Counselors may be instrumental in identifying signs of substance abuse in students, and may also play an important part in the prevention and management of sexual assaults. School counselor jobs at the college level allow workers to help students in the last stage of their educational development, and provide an opportunity for counselors to help students transition into the working world after graduation.