From the April 6, 2016 NACAC Bulletin:
Co-Leaders of the College Admission Counseling Graduate Coursework Special Interest Group:
Patrick O’Connor, Cranbrook Schools (MI)
Julia Varriale, UCLA Extension (CA)
NACAC Special Interest Groups (SIGs) nurture the growing diversity in our association by providing “micro” communities where members can network and add value to their membership experience. These smaller subsets of members are formed for the purpose of knowledge sharing and discussion among members with similar interests whether they are specific subjects, issues or type of institution, or students they serve.
NACAC’s College Admission Counseling Graduate Coursework Special Interest Group began about 10 years ago with a clear goal—make sure every counselor training program in the country offers a comprehensive, separate course in college counseling. Led by Monson High School’s (MA) Bob Bardwell, the SIG wanted to make sure no more counselors began their careers without the college knowledge essential for helping students make strong, individualized plans for life after high school.
The group’s scope has widened over the years, and while there are many counseling graduate programs that still don’t offer a course focused on college counseling, progress is being made:
- First and foremost, a number of NACAC members have used syllabi and other materials provided by the SIG to propose college counseling classes to the counselor education programs in their area. Many of these proposals have been accepted, and once a class is taught for the first time, many counselor educators see the difference the class makes in terms of counselor readiness.
- The SIG has fueled partnerships, including one between Michigan ACAC and the Michigan College Access Network. This collaboration has led to a postsecondary counseling class being offered in four of Michigan’s 10 counselor education programs, and the creation of a postsecondary counseling professional development experience for counselors already in the field. Three hundred and fifty Michigan school counselors have completed this course, and plans are underway for an advanced section to be offered next year.
- Conversations are underway in one state to revamp state certification requirements, to require all new school counselors complete a course focused on college counseling as a condition of certification.
NACAC’s College Admission Counseling Graduate Coursework SIG is moving the college readiness of school counselors forward.
Join the discussion and let us know what we can do for you!