School Counselor Postsecondary Planning Training: A Crazy Idea That Works

Program Spotlight: School Counselor Postsecondary Planning Training

For the second year in a row, I have had the pleasure of working with hundreds of school counselors from across the state of Michigan. Last September, 150 school counselors began an eight-month journey to increase their knowledge in postsecondary education planning and college advising. More than 120 of those counselors found the drive and the time in their hectic schedules to complete the entire training experience. I am inspired and encouraged by their dedication to serve their students - ensuring that all students are provided with the guidance, resources, and assistance they need to pursue education after high school.

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 The first cohort from MCAN's School Counselor Postsecondary Planning Training program

MCAN is proud to be serving school counselors. In 2013, MCAN launched a comprehensive training course for school counselors. Now wrapping up the second year, more than 200 school counselors in Michigan are armed with updated information and new strategies to help students navigate the college-going process.

The positive feedback from course participants motivates me to ensure that MCAN continues to prioritize this work and maintain the funding to provide this type of training at little to no cost.

  • 95 percent  of school counselors who participated in the course felt the course better prepared them to advocate for their students;
  • 91 percent feel better prepared to advocate for themselves as a leader in their building;  
  • 94 percent have changed or added to their curriculum as a result of their experience in the course; and 
  • 95 percent of respondents believe the course was beneficial and would recommend the course to a colleague. 

This incredible feedback means we not only are providing a top-notch course, but also that school counselors agree with MCAN’s strongly held belief that:
School counselors are well-poised to lead the charge in ensuring students are socially, academically, logistically, and financially prepared for postsecondary education and uniquely positioned to change the postsecondary education trajectories for all students in their buildings.   

One-hundred-and-fifty seats have already been filled for the 2015-16 training course. I couldn’t be more excited to deeply engage a new group of counselors in this work. 

Many people thought MCAN had a crazy idea several years ago when we set a goal to train hundreds of Michigan school counselors in postsecondary education planning and college advising. The late Steve Jobs said it best: “…the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

To learn more about MCAN’s school counselor training course, visit


Jamie Jacobs headshot 2013Author: Jamie Jacobs, director of professional development for the Michigan College Access Network

Posted: June 10, 2015

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