Students need more educational or career counseling, but school guidance counselors have less time

Posted on Apr 22, 2016

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I have written several blogs about how the educational and/or career options students have are becoming even more complex and difficult to navigate.  To visually represent how challenging it can be for someone to find an educational path or career deeply synchronized to who they really are, I produced a movie you may view here.

Meanwhile, many parents and students choose to rely on their school guidance counselor to provide the in-depth assessment they need in order to make life altering decisions such as what they will major in at high school or college, or what career they will go after.

Unfortunately, especially in Arizona, the typical guidance counselor schedule is being increasingly squeezed as they are pressured to carry voluminous caseloads and or pick up responsibilities as educational funding is cut.  To read an article discussing this reality, click here

In lieu of this stark reality, it is important for parents and adolescents to find a Mentor that can provide what I call Credible Vocational Assessment (CVA). CVA leads to the student choosing educational or career pathways that are deeply synchronized to who this student REALLY is.

What is credible vocational assessment? It is a multi-staged, comprehensive, yet concise profiling of natural inclinations, talents, aptitudes, deep set motivations, interpersonal tendencies, and environmental needs, etc. In other words, reliable identification and sensitive measurement of a student’s innermost and fixed patterns that when synchronized to educational or work environments allows a lifelong career marriage to occur.

In a world of increasing complexity, the value of having chosen a lifelong career that is satisfying, meaningful, and economically stable is priceless.

For those interested, I developed a movie about one example of a process that fits the criteria for Credible Vocational Assessment.

Finally, since there is a large variety of consultants that report willingness to help you or your adolescent with their educational or career decisions, I decided to, after 10 years of mentoring adolescents, put together a list you can use (and add to), in order to interview the consultants. Click here to view or print the list.  That way you can shop for the right consultant and pick the right product that is customized to your needs, and save large amounts of money in the process.

Scary facts you should pay attention to if you plan on solely relying on school guidance counselors to make life altering decisions (The source for these facts is and Arizona Daily Star article): 

-In some Tucson schools the ratio for students to counselor is more than 500-1

-The American School Counselor Association recommends at least one counselor per 250 students.  Arizona’s average is 941, compared with 491 nationally. For grades 9-12, Arizona’s ratio looks more like 435-1.

-Only 1 high school in Arizona met the recommended national ratio at 243:1

-School counselors wear may different hats such as sponsor of school clubs, department chair, event organizer, fundraising coordinator, community outreach specialist, test supervisor and mentor as well as volunteer for many other events.

-The AZ State Board of Education requires educators to meet with every student in grades 9 through 12 to plan for post-secondary options, whether it is getting a job or going to college.  The requirement does not name counselors, but they frequently are the ones who do it.  Meeting with groups counts, so counselors often interrupt class instruction to give presentations.

-As more and more support staff is eliminated, Counselors are expected to pick up their work, such as cafeteria or playground duty, or substitute in the classrooms.


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Meet the Behavior Science Expert

Dr. Tom Brunner is a compassionate guidance counselor, behavioral science expert, and published research scientist. His main mission is to utilize the very best tools to give people uniquely hand tailored, impactful, and durable solutions to their pressing educational or career challenges. View the Overview of his college and career matching process. You may view his portfolio here. He has worked in-the-trenches with all walks of life, from mentoring struggling students to helping gifted/talented adolescents and adults professionals accelerate their development. He is an innovator who has received awards from the Early Career Psychologist Award (by the Arizona Psychological Foundation) as well the Society for Personality Assessment. Dr. Brunner is senior author of a behavioral science measurement tool adapted into 11 languages. He is author of numerous presentations and peer reviewed scientific articles, sometimes alongside leading experts. As a PhD Board Licensed Psychologist, he has served as an expert witness in the legal arena, and has been consulted by local (Tucson Electric Power) and nationwide organizations. To read his bio, click here, read his resume here.

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