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State Boards Can Help School Counselors Focus on Postsecondary Transitions

For Immediate Release: October 3, 2017

Contact: Michael Spaeth,, 703-684-4002

State Boards Can Help School Counselors Focus on Postsecondary Transitions

Alexandria, VA — For students whose families and friends do not have college-going experience to share, applying to college can be challenging. School counselors can fill the gap, but in many schools—especially those serving students most in need—counselors are spread thin. A new NASBE policy update explores the ways state boards of education can address the challenges school counselors face and better support student transitions after high school.  

Students from low economic backgrounds often need more assistance with college applications than their peers. Yet many high-achieving, low-income students receive limited or no college access support. With large caseloads and competing responsibilities, counselors struggle to provide individual support and guidance that make it possible for students to achieve their college and career goals.

State boards of education can help reverse these trends in several ways:

  • Clarify roles. Tennessee’s state board changed the state’s school counseling model and standards policy to enforce requirements that counselors spend 80 percent of their time serving students directly and no more than 20 percent on program management and school support. Board members have also discussed opportunities to maximize the policy’s effect and responded to district feedback on the implementation timeline.
  • Enhance evaluation. Nevada’s state board approved a pilot of school counselor–specific performance evaluations in select school districts during the 2017–18 school year. The board also discussed potential roadblocks to school counselors’ effectiveness and requested that school counseling policy continue to be included on their agendas in the future.
  • Close the counselor leadership gap. The Missouri Department of Education dedicates a section of its website to school counselors, including information on continuing education opportunities and professional learning. The department has also partnered with the state’s school counseling association to create a two-year mentoring program that pairs new counselors with experienced mentors and connects them to a regional peer network.

“School counseling is a lever for equity when it helps students from families unable to provide college-going support learn about postsecondary opportunities,” writes author Sarah-Jane Lorenzo. “By helping schools focus on school counselors’ agency to assist, state boards of education can ensure school counselors have the time, resources, and education to help all students set and achieve postsecondary goals.”

Read and share the NASBE policy update “Enabling School Counselors to Focus on Postsecondary Transitions.”

NASBE is the only national organization giving voice and adding value to the nation’s state boards of education. A nonprofit organization founded in 1958, NASBE works to strengthen state leadership in educational policymaking, promote excellence in the education of all students, advocate equality of access to educational opportunity, and ensure continued citizen support for public education. Learn more at


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