School counselors face large caseloads and an ever-growing list of demands as they work to serve the social, emotional, and academic needs of their students. But could a small part of this workload be shared by counseling graduate students?
This is the idea behind Postsecondary Readiness Night, a program that pairs the school counseling program at the University of Scranton (PA) with local school districts in Pennsylvania.
The most recent event, funded by a NACAC Imagine Fund grant, was geared toward high school juniors, seniors, and their parents and offered stations focused on topics such as financial aid and college visits.
Each station featured two graduate counseling students and a large poster with information. The graduate students prepared worksheets and handouts on each topic for students and parents to take home.
Computers were also available for students to work on the Common Application and to use computer-based SAT/ACT prep programs.
“The evening was a win-win for both practicing school counselors and graduate students. The school counselors garnered the help they needed to pull off such an event while the graduate students gained hands-on, real world experience in delivering career information to families in a school setting,” said Julie Cerrito, school counseling program director at the University of Scranton (PA).
“Parents often have busy work schedules, so our hope was to be able to reach them in the evening after work. After the event, school counselors were able to follow up with relevant details in the following weeks. It was an effective way to get a lot of information to parents and students in a timely manner. It was also a vehicle for parents and students to talk about their postsecondary plans and expectations each of them had.”
The Imagine Fund grant covered the cost of the handouts for parents and students and for advertising for the program.
“We were very pleased with the way the evening turned out and are hopeful that the school counselors may make this event a yearly one,” Cerrito said. “We also hope that our event may become a model for the state of Pennsylvania.”
Donate Now: Imagine Fund grants offer financial support to individuals or NACAC affiliates. Funds are used to support professional development, as well as innovative programs serving students and/or the profession.
Ashley Dobson is NACAC’s senior communications manager for content and social media. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.