School Counselors Are Underutilized by Parents

School counselors can be valuable resources for parents when it comes to students’ academic and social success in school, but a recent study suggests that parents should be more proactive in communicating with the counselors.

More than one-third of American parents say they’ve had little or no contact with their child’s school counselor in the past year. That statistic has prompted the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) to encourage parents to talk with their child’s school counselor at least three times a year to help ensure the child’s success in school.

The ASCA conducted a phone survey of 529 parents in June and found that 24 percent had not initiated any contact with their child’s school counselor during the previous school year, while 13 percent had initiated contact with the counselor only once.

The ASCA describes school counselors as the first line of contact for parents and students in issues regarding academic, social or personal development. “It’s important for parents to establish and maintain regular communications with the school counselor to better understand their child’s challenges and address any concerns that could impede success,” says ASCA President Judy Bowers.

The survey also asked parents’ views on the need for school counselors in the areas of academics, personal issues and career or college preparation. Most of the parents surveyed (between 63 and 71 percent) agreed that school counselors play an important role in all of those areas.

“We are pleased that many parents value school counselors, but we hope more parents can take advantage of the services they provide to students,” says ASCA Executive Director Richard Wong. “By communicating with one another at the beginning, middle and end of the school year, parents and counselors can have a definite impact on a child’s potential.”

– Deirdre Wilson