National School Counseling Week 2019, “ School Counselors: Providing Lessons for Life,” is being celebrated from Feb. 4-8, 2019, to focus public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors. Sponsored by the American School Counselor Association, National School Counseling Week highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for college and a career.
How is the Utah System of Higher Education supporting Utah school counselors?
Utah College Access Advisor Program
The Board of Regents’ top priority for the 2019 Legislative session is the Utah College Access Advisor program, which would place a permanent, full-time, near-peer college access advisor in every Utah high school to help counselors better support students on their path to college. These advisors have a reporting line to the school counselor on site and work with them to determine the best way to help students prepare for and go to college. College access advisors are a resource to help counselors reach as many students as possible about navigating the college admissions and financial aid process.
College access advisors help students with ACT prep and registration, college applications, financial aid, and scholarships, and help connect those students to their college campus, facilitating the transition from high school to college.
The College Access Advisor program is modeled after the Utah College Advising Corps, which was initially established in 2007 at the University of Utah and has a proven record of helping high school students navigate the process of getting into college. The Board of Regents is expanding the program from 12 high schools to 33 high schools across the state in fall 2019. It is the Board’s top 2019 legislative priority to put a college access advisor in every Utah high school by the 2021-2022 school year.
Annual USHE Conference for School Counselors and Administrators
Each year, USHE hosts a conference for school administrators and counselors, including elementary, junior high, and high school counselors from around the state. The purpose of the conference is to support and educate counselors as they help students prepare for and access college.
USHE hosted its first statewide conference for school administrators and counselors in 2008. Around 170 counselors attended that conference. Since then, the annual conference has quadrupled in size, with over 660 attendees at the 2018 conference. The 2019 conference will be held on Monday, Sept. 9 at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo.
StepUp to Higher Education Resources
StepUp to Higher Education is an initiative of the State of Utah that empowers 8th through 12th grade students and their families to prepare for college. StepUp provides training and resources for school counselors to encourage college preparation and success.
Some of these resources include:
- Annual StepUp College Guide
- Grade-by-grade checklists
- Utah College Application Week
- FAFSA materials, including StepUp FAFSA Completion Open Houses
- College readiness videos