Is switching counselors fair to students?

Every student comes back to school every year with their own expectations, whether its about their classroom environment or course content. With a completely new set of teachers every year, another thing that students count on is to see their counselors from past years, one of the few school staff who stay with students throughout their four years.
Students who started this year with a different counselor may feel frustrated. Switching normally happens in order to balance work between counselors or a counselor leaving and a new counselor being hired.
Throughout high school, it’s important that students develop a bond with an adult in the building in case any issues, such as friends, family and stress come their way. For most people, that adult would be their counselor. “I think it’s really beneficial to stay with your counselor for all four years, and I hope to stay with [mine] because it’s easier to talk to someone you already know,” sophomore Julia Goetz said.
Not all students are able to stay with the same counselor every year, but no matter what, the counselor a student has in their junior year will always also be their senior year counselor. “We always keep our juniors and seniors, it’s just as we get more students, we have to adjust the caseload so we all have an even amount of students,” counselor Theresa Dethlefsen said. “Each counselor has about 160 students [per grade].”
College recommendations are another reason why students hope for the same counselor for all four years, rather than just three or two. “I wish my counselor didn’t get switched, so I could have a even longer and stronger relationship with them for my college recommendations,” sophomore Shannon Snape said.
“It would be nicer to have a counselor you’ve been with for four years to write a recommendation than a counselor for only two years.”
Of course, students often go back to visit their past counselors if they’ve built a strong connection. The counseling center also supports an open-door policy, where students can talk to other counselors besides their own. “Sometimes, I’ll take in and talk to a student that isn’t mine if their counselor isn’t here in their office, and vice versa,” Dethlefsen said.
Switching counselors can lead to new opportunities, though, such as meeting a new person or becoming closer to an adult who a student would not have gone to on their own. “Although it sucks to get your counselor switched, I think it’s a good way to meet other adults you normally wouldn’t talk to on your own accord,” sophomore Daniel Hwang said. “I think what’s most important is that no counselor is overwhelmed with students, so it creates more of an opportunity for students to develop a relationship, rather than just meeting during the mandatory dates.”
Students are also able to request to switch back to their former counselor if they think it would be worth it. “I think switching counselors can give [us] a chance to find a counselor you might get along with really well, so I don’t think it would be worth switching back if [we] never gave them a chance,” Hwang said.

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