2016 School Counseling Postsecondary Training Course: A counselor's perspective

This week marked the launch of the fourth annual School Counselor Postsecondary Planning Training Course, led by the Michigan College Access Network. Since 2012, MCAN has trained over 330 high school counselors in an effort to strengthen their ability to help students better prepare for their postsecondary path. The following highlights the experience of one high school counselor who completed the course in 2012. 

The MCAN postsecondary course has been the single most useful form of professional development that I have taken since I graduated from college. Like many counseling programs in the 90s, I had coursework related to many topics in counseling and even a class or two on career-exploration and school culture. However, information regarding college research, college match and financial aid were left as "on the job" training.  The MCAN class fills in those gaps. It provided me with the most current information for helping my students reach their future goals.

More importantly, the MCAN class was tremendously energizing and motivating.  Each session would leave my brain spinning with ideas for improving our counseling department services.  As a result of this course, we have completely revamped our parent programming, have added College Application Week, the College Cash Campaign, College Decision Day, a district-wide College Awareness Day and have monthly Post-Secondary Advisory Committee meetings which explore ways to help our students be more successful with the transition to their post-secondary educational programs.  We have been awarded with $10,000 in Reach Higher grant funds, but realistically we could have done all of the programming for under $1,000.  

This course has helped our department gel with our administration and has given us a clear focus for our work.  In addition, since post-secondary access is something that applies to all students, it has help reduce the feeling that our massive student caseloads prohibit effective programming.  We have changed our efforts to areas where we can be effective and it has helped impact our everyday work environment.  It has been a wonderful opportunity and I recommend it to every counselor I know.


Author: Erica Empie, Counselor, Hartland High School

Posted: Sept. 28, 2016 

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