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Mr. President, School Counselors Are This Close to Being Happy(er)

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Mr. President, it's easy to tell you've been thinking about school counselors, and we really appreciate it. The recent White House summit on college access highlighted how college is becoming more affordable and accessible, and that's good news for both school counselors and the students we serve. Combined with the success stories you and the First Lady shared, college-bound students can't help but feel inspired and focused as a result of this event.

It's also gratifying to know you seem to be reading the open letters I'm writing you about counselor training in college advising -- or, at least most of them. I first thought this could be the case when you talked about the need for college awareness in middle school, much like the programs your daughters are enjoying.

Some people said, "Wait- - college advising should start in the middle school?" Then I realized -- it's in this letter.

You also said if Congress wasn't interested in helping you reach your goals, you had a pen and a phone.

And some people said "He'd be willing to use an Executive Order to help counselors get better training in college advising? Can he do that?" But as another column pointed out, "Yes he can! Yes he can!"

Since this seemed to be more than a coincidence, I just knew where you were heading with this, and I waited to hear the announcement that training in college advising was now a must, since so few counselors are currently trained in this important skill. But the conversation at the summit turned to college affordability, and never found its way back to an Executive Order calling on all counselor training programs to offer the course, and all counselors to complete this course in the next five years. That suggestion was hinted at in the last part of a letter I wrote you, and since you're busy, I assumed you didn't have time to get to that part.

At first, I completely understood. I've been busy myself, meeting with juniors to develop their first college lists, and talking with seniors about how to make the most out of their last semester of high school. But when I've had a free moment, I've still been wondering why the Summit didn't include anything about counselor training.

And then it hit me. February 3 through 7 is National School Counseling Week, a time for everyone to stop and thank school counselors for all they're doing in jobs that are usually pretty impossible. This week of celebration is the perfect time to tell counselors the training they've asked for is on its way. Trained counselors will be able to help more students make good choices about college -- including well-informed decisions to pursue training other than college -- which will reduce student stress, improve the quality of life for students and their families, and lead to a more focused, energized workforce.

You know well-trained counselors matter, and you said you had a pen (and you weren't afraid to use it) -- you were just waiting for the time when counselors were in a good mood to announce the training, adding to the reasons to celebrate.

Finally, I get it.

I've got a pretty busy week coming up, but now that I see your plan, I'll keep a close eye on my news feed. I can see the headline now: President Requires College Training Counselors Have Long Asked For -- School Counselor Week Brings New Level of Honor.

Well played, Mr. President. Well played indeed.