Learn how cyber schools, like CCA, provide support services to our students.
School counselors wear a multitude of hats. They provide social, academic, and emotional support and prepare students for life after graduation.
All school-aged children need support, whether their concerns are academic, social, or personal. School can sometimes be a tumultuous experience for children and it’s beneficial to have a trusted adult present to speak to about their problems.
While we often associate school counselors with traditional brick-and-mortar schools, qualified and empathetic school counselors are also extremely important in a cyberschool setting.
The Role of the School Counselor
Counselors in school have an essential job in helping guide students through their academic journeys. Some situations they encounter during the day may include:
- Bullying: About 20% of U.S. students ages 12-18 have experienced bullying. Kids may turn to their school counselors for support in difficult times and school counselors need to be there for them.
- Low self-esteem: Students in a transitional period — those moving from elementary to middle or middle to high school — can experience dips in self-confidence. A school counselor can help students increase their self-esteem and believe in their abilities.
- Poor academic performance: Poor academic performance usually stems from other issues, including test anxiety, ineffective study habits, mental health struggles, or learning difficulties. School counselors can help students deal with those issues and improve their in-class performance.
- Relationship struggles: Students in middle and high school often experience difficulties in friendships and romantic relationships. These emotional conflicts can also cause potential issues in their academic performance. School counselors can mediate any disputes that arise due to relationship issues between students.
- Academic advising: One of a school counselor’s primary obligations is to provide academic advising. That advising is essential in high school when students might be starting to plan their futures. School counselors can help ensure students take the classes they need to graduate and prepare for their next steps after high school.
- Career planning: High school students can start planning their careers as early as their freshman year. They need a school counselor to help walk them through steps such as applying for college, searching for work opportunities, and brainstorming possible majors.
How Do School Counselors Help Students?
School counselors help students navigate their ever-changing lives in various ways. When students feel comfortable asking for help, school counselors can assist with both individual and interpersonal issues.
School counselors will sometimes act as mediators during the school day. While they may use several different methods to mediate conflict, each technique shares the same best practices. If students find themselves in a conflict during the day, school counselors may encourage them to:
- Take a few minutes to calm down before looking for a resolution.
- Explain their side of the story and listen to the other party explain their feelings.
- Brainstorm possible solutions based on what they said and heard.
The school counselor will listen to each party thoroughly before working with them to come up with a solution.
By intervening during a conflict, school counselors can also teach students mediation techniques to use on their own. For example, learning to practice mindfulness is an effective way for students to resolve conflict independently in the future.
Cyberschool counselors have the additional advantage of using technology to mediate conflicts between students. With various virtual platforms to choose from, it’s easy for school counselors to get in touch with and resolve disputes between students.
Planning and Setting Goals
Learning how to set goals has a significant positive impact on students’ development. It’s also a critical skill for learning how to make decisions about the future.
A school counselor can help students feel more confident about their academic journeys by teaching them how to plan and set goals. Goals that school counselors can help their students achieve include:
- Getting a particular score on the ACT or SAT.
- Gaining acceptance to their top-choice school.
- Finding a summer job or internship.
- Reducing their test anxiety.
- Creating and sticking to a schedule for their schoolwork to prevent procrastinating.
Assisting in Future Planning
One of the biggest impacts of school counselors is making students excited about their futures. Planning for the future as a young person can be scary — while there are many possibilities for success, many students also fear the unknown.
Students often feel a great deal of pressure to figure everything out at a young age. School counselors are invested in their students’ futures and driven to help them succeed.
School counselors can help students plan their futures by:
- Organizing resume-writing workshops.
- Walking students through the college application process.
- Providing relevant resources regarding co-op programs and college internships.
- Encouraging participation in extracurricular activities and providing service-learning opportunities.
- Brainstorming college majors or programs of interest.
- Helping students create interest profiles to see how their interests can translate into their work.
- Hosting or inviting students to local job expos.
- Registering students for workplace tours or job shadowing trips.
- Hosting career-specific guest speakers and Q&A panels.
A school counselor can significantly impact a student’s academic success. Helping them plan their futures is a way to ensure they get started on the right path after graduation.
Should You Encourage Your Child to Seek Counseling?
Stress can dramatically affect us all and it can be especially taxing for children. If your child has recently experienced a major life change such as a move, parental divorce, or the death of a loved one, it can be helpful for them to talk to someone about it.
Even without an apparent cause, your child may show signs that they would benefit from counseling, including:
- Destructive behaviors such as self-harm or drug and alcohol abuse.
- Withdrawal from their usual social activities.
- Drastic changes in their eating or sleeping habits.
Encouraging your child to seek counseling is a conversation you must approach delicately. If your approach is too blunt, your child might get offended or assume you think something is wrong with them.
It’s best to do your research ahead of time. You might take the first step of visiting a school counselor yourself to show them it’s nothing to be ashamed of, or you might explore counseling options specifically for kids and teens.
If you and your child do decide that counseling is necessary, make sure to take the following steps first:
- Establish a comfortable relationship with the school counselor: When your child is comfortable with their school counselor, they will be more willing to speak with them candidly about problems when they arise.
- Respect your child’s privacy: Kids and teenagers value their privacy, so respect the confidentiality of counseling appointments. However, you can ask about some exceptions to confidentiality.
- Try not to embarrass your child: It’s no secret school-aged children are often embarrassed by their parents. Receiving counseling can be difficult for kids, so try not to put them in any situation that makes them more uncomfortable than they already are. Don’t bring their counseling up to other people unless they do first and remember to respect their wishes for privacy.
What to Know About CCA’s Counseling Services
CCA can help your child thrive in a cyberschool environment. We understand the importance of school counselors and our team of full-time, certified school counselors helps learners reach success in and out of the classroom. CCA’s counseling services are focused on enhancing relationships, so learners and their families feel comfortable contacting their counselors at any time.
Our counseling services include:
- Helping students create postgraduation goals.
- Providing important information on financial aid, scholarships, and the college application process.
- Preparing students for exams like the SATs and ACTs.
- Offering students social and emotional support.
As one of our school counselors says, “CCA counselors provide a comprehensive approach to working with students to benefit the student holistically. If a student seeks services from a counselor, there will be a connection formed that will benefit the student in all aspects of [their] life.”
Succeed, Plan, and Grow With CCA Counseling
School counselors in cyberschools can help a student reach their full potential. Contact us today to learn how CCA’s school counseling department can guide your child on the path to success.