When people think of the word counselor, they often think of someone who works with students in their personal lives. While this is true, the role of school counselors has grown over time to include administrative responsibilities and maintaining a presence in schools that helps students thrive academically and socially. 

School counselors are uniquely qualified to help students navigate complex issues like mental illness, bullying, family relationships, and college admissions. A school counseling career means the individual is tasked with some of the most difficult responsibilities. After all, looking after school kids in such ways can be very daunting and exhausting. So, before you enter this profession, it helps to know what you’re signing up for.

Here are some of the most common things you can expect if you choose to become a school counselor.

You Have to Deal With Many Complaints

Students will come to you for help with all kinds of problems, both academic and personal. You may hear from students who feel they are not being challenged enough by the curriculum or that their teachers are unsupportive. When these students come to you with these complaints, they are often expecting an immediate resolution, which can be difficult when your hands are tied because of confidentiality concerns.

You may also be called upon to advocate for students in other ways. If parents call the school asking why their child was sent home for being late three times in one week, it falls on counselors like you to explain to them why this rule exists. If there is an incident involving bullying, it’s up to counselors to take steps toward solving the problem. 

Your days will often start with such complaints or cases and end the same way. It’s a monotonous routine, but your hard work means proper guidance for those students.

The Hardest Part Is the Paperwork

You may be surprised to learn that paperwork is one of the most challenging aspects of a school counselor’s job. It can be overwhelming to keep track of all the documents and forms you need to fill out, especially if you’re not familiar with them yet. If you are new to this position, it’s important that you build your knowledge as quickly as possible or else risk falling behind on your work.

In addition, some paperwork is confidential and cannot be shared with anyone else in the school administration. This means that even if another colleague asks for help with a document, they may not have access to everything they need because there are privacy laws involved in protecting those records.

You Can Witness Personal Growth

You will be able to witness personal growth in students as they learn to manage their emotions, deal with peer pressure, become more responsible and independent, and grow as critical thinkers. It won’t happen for all your students. However, with every student that does go through such a change, you can feel proud of yourself and give yourself a pat on the back.

Students May Try to Get You in Trouble

In addition to the pressures you may feel from your peers, students may also try to get you in trouble. They may not listen to you or follow your instructions, causing them to break the rules. Students may try to get you to do something that goes against the rules of the school or district. If such a student is under your guidance, you might be the one who has to answer for a lot of their mischief.

It May Be Hard to See the Impact Sometimes

As a school counselor, you may not always be able to see the impact of your work. This can be discouraging, especially if you’re new to the field and have high hopes for yourself. 

However, counseling is a long-term process, and you can’t see immediate results. At times, you might not get any positive results at all. In those times, you must remember that giving up won’t do, and you must move forward. Your job is to show students the path and tell them how to get there. Sometimes, they fail to do so, not because of your guidance, but because they simply couldn’t manage to do it.

School counseling as a career is, without a doubt, one of the most daunting jobs ever. There are plenty of things that can go wrong. You might even have to deal with mental health problems on your end. However, you’re doing a noble job, one that will guide students to a better future and make them better people. So, no matter how hard things get, do not give up on this career if you choose to go down this path.