A More Mindful Approach to College and Career Counseling

A More Mindful Approach to College and Career Counseling

Alexandra Ellison (Davidson Academy of Nevada, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6728-9.ch012
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While social and emotional learning practices are now more common in American classrooms, counselors often have limited time and resources to devote to college counseling at all, let alone a type of counseling grounded in social and emotional awareness. The American School Counselor Association recommends a student-to-counselor ratio of 250 to 1, but the current ratio is 430 to 1. Few high school counselors have the rare luxury of only needing to focus on college and career readiness. They are up against pressures from parents, and sometimes administrators, who want to see more AP courses, higher GPAs, higher ACT and SAT scores, and more elite college acceptances. These pressures can blur a counselor's view of what is actually suitable for each individual student; this means the counselor needs to understand financial fit, social and emotional fit, and academic match for each college-bound student. This kind of holistic understanding of a student is the only way to restore a focus on student wellbeing to the college and career planning process.
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Stress And Anxiety In College And Career Planning: How Did We Get Here And Is There A Better Way?

History marks World War II and the resulting GI Bill as the transitional point from elite, exclusive higher education to open, mass education. The GI Bill made funds available to veterans returning home, forced to reimagine their professional lives as civilians, to help pay for post-secondary education. While elite and exclusive universities certainly still exist today, the end of WWII was the beginning of a new way of thinking about higher education in America: Everyone had the opportunity to gain entry to this exclusive club, but not every would have equal access to it. The narrative began to shift in this country from “My socioeconomic position in life is fixed, and higher education is not within my grasp,” to “My socioeconomic position is fluid; I can control the outcome.” Simultaneously liberating and burdensome, this new way of thinking seems to be uniquely American, and it is essential to start from this point in order to understand how the American approach to college and career planning became what it is today.

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