8 Components of College and Career Readiness Counseling

Thursday, April 22, 2010


The College Board’s National Office for School Counselor Advocacy released Eight Components of College and Career Readiness Counseling at its third annual national conference in Nashville, Tenn., in April.

Nearly 200 school counselors and other education professionals gathered at the conference to discuss important issues facing students and their families and counselors regarding the elements of the components and point plan. The conference theme, “Destination Equity 2010: Charting Bright Futures for All Students,” underscored the topics of conversations in dozens of sessions offered during the weekend.

This comprehensive systematic approach helps school counselors inspire and prepare students for college success and opportunity — especially students from underrepresented populations. The eight components build aspirations and social capital, offer enriching activities, foster rigorous academic preparation, encourage early college planning, and guide students and families through the college admission and financial aid processes.

“These elements will dictate the bulk of our work for the next three to five years,” said Patricia Martin, assistant vice president of the National Office for School Counselor Advocacy. “We’re saying these are the touchstones that should happen for every elementary, middle and high school student, … and we’re claiming a place for counseling in making them college and career ready.”

By implementing these eight components, school counselors provide information, tools and perspective to parents, students, schools and communities that are working toward college and career readiness for all students.

NOSCA'S Eight Components of College and Career Readiness Counseling:

  1. College Aspirations
    The goal is to build a college-going culture based on early college awareness by nurturing in students the confidence to aspire to college and the resilience to overcome challenges along the way.
  2. Academic Planning for College and Career Readiness
    Counseling should advance students’ planning, preparation, participation and performance in a rigorous academic program that connects to their college and career aspirations and goals.
  3. Enrichment and Extracurricular Engagement
    Counselors should ensure equitable exposure to a wide range of extracurricular and enrichment opportunities that build leadership, nurture talents and interests, and increase engagement with school.
  4. College and Career Exploration and Selection Processes
    Students should have early and ongoing exposure to experiences and information necessary to make informed decisions when selecting a college or career that connects to academic preparation and future aspirations.
  5. College and Career Assessments
    The goal is to promote preparation, participation and performance in college and career assessments by all students.
  6. College Affordability Planning
    Counseling should provide students and families with comprehensive information about college costs, options for paying for college, and the financial aid and scholarship processes and eligibility requirements, so they are able to plan for and afford a college education.
  7. College and Career Admission Processes
    In this area, counselors aim to ensure that students and families have an early and ongoing understanding of the college and career application and admission processes so they can find the postsecondary options that are the best fit with their aspirations and interests.
  8. Transition from High School Graduation to College Enrollment
    Counselors should connect students to school and community resources to help them overcome barriers and ensure the successful transition from high school to college.

In addition to the announcement, NOSCA issued a call to action for school counselors to “own the turf” represented by the Eight Components of College and Career Readiness Counseling and laid out plans to help counselors accomplish these goals at each level.

The national conference also featured plenary speaker Baruti Kafele, principal of Newark Tech High School in New Jersey. Kafele, a nationally recognized motivator and educator, spoke about his mission to motivate, educate and empower teachers, counselors, administrators and parents of black and Latino children all over the world. Kafele was inspiring, sharing his passion and pointers with the audience. “It was mesmerizing and powerful,” Martin said. “A wonderful centerpiece for our conference.”

Another highlight was a Saturday panel discussion with urban school district leaders, who discussed how their work with NOSCA’s Urban School Counseling Initiative (USCI) has helped them transform the leadership role of counseling in their districts. “We had a chance to have a broad discussion about the positive changes that have come about in these large urban districts, often bringing new recognition and presence to the role school counselors play from kindergarten through 12th grade,” said Martin.

Counselor Terry Quiros of South Bronx Prep in New York, N.Y., talked about the mood of the conference: “To be with a whole group of people who all share the same mission is pretty exciting. You can feel the energy, and it's a group that wants to make things happen.”

Moving forward, NOSCA has recruited “national champions” who will take a leadership position in spreading the word about claiming the turf, and sharing lessons and inspiration with colleagues in their schools and districts. These champions also will be served by the new College Board Advocacy & Policy Center in Washington, which will provide resources and an online community to encourage and support their efforts across the country.

“We’re going to make it a universal right for every child to receive the social capital provided through college and career counseling that they need to attain bright futures,” Martin said. “We’re claiming this turf as our way of supporting the transformation in education today.”


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