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School Counselors - We Appreciate You!

School counselors are absolutely essential in high schools across the state. In many school districts, school counselors are responsible for scheduling students’ classes, motivating students who are struggling, providing academic success resources, responding to social-emotional concerns, assisting students in crisis, teaching college and career prep classes, organizing  admission visits, helping students with ACT prep and college applications, answering questions about financial aid, and generally keeping a school and its students in motion.  

This month, in celebration of National School Counselor Appreciation Week, we wanted to take the opportunity to honor the ways that school counselors go above and beyond in their work to serve students, particularly in regard to college and career planning. We asked several admission counselors to share examples of ways that stellar high school counselors use innovative ideas to serve their students. 

“At one of my high schools, the counselor applied for dozens of different grants until she got the funding to take her students on college visits. The entire junior class visited six different schools across the state, giving students a look into community colleges, private institutions, public schools. She knew that many of her students wouldn’t be able to visit colleges on their own, so she did whatever she could to make sure she got them on campus.”
“After a high school concert on a Friday night, she stayed at the school until 10PM helping juniors and their families get registered for the ACT. She continues to help her students long after they graduate, often helping them file the FAFSA throughout all their years of college or giving them career advice.”
“One school counselor does a “Decision Day” where they have each student “sign” for what school they are attending. They play the fight song for that school, they have each student take a picture, they bring balloons, poms, they go the whole nine yards. The other students are there to watch and support the seniors as they go off to college!”

 “She teaches a course where they learn about a variety of things that you would associate with a school counselor office – career prep, college prep, things like that. But, they also take time to talk about stress, mental health, deep breathing, and taking a step back from everything to destress yourself. They go into exercises that can help you overcome these things, as well as watch Ted Talks that shed more light on the subject. I thought it was cool and something that not all students are getting a chance to experience!”

 “One counselor is very impressive to me, because she is so obviously passionate about advocating for her students. She is constantly double-checking on where they’re at in the college process, and she is proactive about reaching out to her students, and to the admission counselors, if something is missing. Last year, she helped me set up individual appointments at the high school for students to meet with me. She set up the entire schedule; all I had to do was show up. All of this was on top of helping students with their social and emotional problems, her own projects, and her administrative duties. She always has a good attitude and a smile on her face.”

We consider ourselves beyond lucky to have such caring, passionate, and dedicated school counselors serving the students in our state. To all school counselors, thank you! We appreciate the work that you do, and we recognize you during National School Counselor Appreciation Week and throughout the rest of the year!

(Nominations are now being accepted for our annual School Counselor of the Year award!)


(Thank you to the following counselors for sharing their perspectives: Marcus Phillips, University of Iowa; Erin McDermott, Iowa State University; Shea Stamp, Iowa College Access Network.) 

For more information on school counselors in Iowa and beyond visit:

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