A lack of school counselors impacting college enrollment in Michigan

Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 9:35 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - High school counselors play a major role in your child’s school day... from helping with class schedules to mental health screenings.

These counselors are also the people who help your kids prepare for college or a job. A recent report found that a lack of school counselors is leading to a drop in college enrollment across the state.

In Michigan, college enrollment dropped by 2.2%. School counselors, like Lindsay Fox, help students navigate college applications and find money for tuition.

“The college advisor and myself meet with every single senior to make a post-secondary plan with them whether it be going to college, a university, the military, or trade,” said Fox.

She helps seniors at Holt High School figure out what they’re interested in and makes sure they have enough credits to graduate. “But we also sit down with them and look at scholarships. We have FAFSA nights where we will sit down with families and help them fill it out.”

According to the report, there is only one counselor for every 615 students in Michigan. That’s significantly higher than the national average of one counselor per 408 students.

“And that’s been consistently the conversation about how do we keep the young counselors in the profession?,” said Northview High School Director of School Counseling, Sarah Gammans.

The national average has decreased. However, the national average is also significantly higher than the American School Counselor Association’s recommended ratio of 250 students per school counselor.

A shortage leading to less students getting help. Michelle Stanley is the president of the Michigan Association for College Admissions Counseling. Her team works with counselors across the state making sure all students are supported before they graduate.

“Hoping to alleviate any of that added stress or pressure that may be on the counselors plates right now when it comes to exploring higher ed options,” said Stanley.

Helping guide students on a path to successful careers or continued education.

Governor Whitmer has set a goal to have 60% of working age adults with a college degree or a skilled certificate by 2030. Right now, the state is at 50%.

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