By Erin Dunlop Velez
Among the first to demonstrate that school counselors have a positive impact on student outcomes that is both quantifiable and statistically significant, this study provides a powerful tool for counselor advocacy efforts.
Using nationally representative, longitudinal data collected by the US Department of Education, findings show that high school seniors who talked one-on-one with a school counselor were:
- 6.8 times more likely to complete a FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid
- 3.2 times more likely to attend college
- 2 times more likely to attend a bachelor’s degree program
Other key factors that influenced students’ college-going behavior included:
- speaking with a counselor in ninth grade about going to college
- parents speaking with a counselor by 11th grade about college
- participating in a college preparation program outside of school
- having close friends who plan to attend a four-year college
- parents’ expectations about college-going
The US Department of Education’s High School Longitudinal Study (HSLS) is following more than 23,000 students from 944 high schools who were ninth graders in 2009 to better understand their pathways to postsecondary education and the workforce.
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