It is never too early to start thinking about the career that you want. This is asked by many parents of children at an early age, teachers in grade school and junior high, again in high school, but what is not always asked is “what is needed to accomplish or reach that career choice?” With school counselors’ roles evolving over the years, many students see them as leaders and someone they can turn to for advice. Counselors work in “diverse community settings designed to provide a variety of counseling, rehabilitation, and support services” (Counselors, 2010). This student interviewed, Miranda Angeles, an enrollment counselor at Mt. San Jacinto Community College (MSJC), in Menifee. Miranda has a BA in Psychology from the University of Phoenix. She has been with MSJC for a little over a year and works primarily with the incoming freshmen. During the interview, this student learned what Ms. Angeles’ responsibilities were and how vital they are to her students.
Ms. Angeles is in charge of a competency-based guidance program. This program “is designed to assist students with the development of their educational, personal, and career goals” (2014). She stated that she feels since college freshman are transitioning into adulthood and/or the work field, as well as separating from their parents and figuring out their own independence, this program is extremely helpful in outlining their goals. Students need a sense of guidance with making decisions, when making them for the first time on their own and that it were school counselors can help guide them. Ms. Angeles also shared the importance of picking a college and what the student should consider.
First, does the college have a program that peaks your interest in a potential career. Second, is the school accredited, meaning will your credits transfer elsewhere should you decide to change schools or want to further your education. Third, the location of the school and the student population in regards to class size for learning depending on your learning style. A smaller campus may be more appealing to you if you do better in smaller, close group setting. Fourth, the services offered at the school for the student. Do they have a student body, organized events such as dances or sports team. Lastly, what are the admission and financial aid process.
Students wanting to attend college should talk to those who know the admissions policy, so that the student can make sure they are on the right track. Many colleges and universities, as well as community colleges have their own set of requirements such as a certain grade point average (GPA), high school diploma or official transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, along with tuition fees. This sounds simple enough, however for incoming freshmen going through this alone, they could become overwhelmed, thus enrollment counselors are so important in helping guide the student.
Since, Ms. Angeles works at the community college level, she shared that many community colleges have specific teachings for certain careers that can be completed for certification, shortening the time in school verses receiving a degree. Many students choose this route, while others want the degree, with either the degree itself or many of the courses transferring to a four year college if desired, once the student is accepted into the new college or university. Also, with community college, tuition is usually much lower than a four year, which appeals to many students if they have to use financial aid.
Another plus to choosing community college over a four year is, “Community colleges have formed a partnership with traditional institution and serve a great diversity of students regardless of age, professional background, academic ability, and educational goals,” (Williams & Southers, 2010). This students understanding of this is that no matter your age, background, prior grades or educational goals, everyone pretty much is accepted into community college and can better not only themselves but family as well at any time.
While interviewing Ms. Angeles, this student asked how she helps guide students who are set on a specific career. Ms. Angeles said that she often receives emails about upcoming community events and services and will share these on the bulletin board and with teachers in a specific field to share with students. She feels that “students who seek personal development are the ones who desire a long career and personal growth, and is an asset to the field of their choice” (2014).
Ms. Angeles also feels that by being involved with school activities, projects and affairs, she is showing students her commitment to not only the school but to them as well. “Being a counselor is a great career choice for those wanting to help others, you often times get to create your own ideas and things that will leave your client, or student in this case feeling a sense of accomplishment and good about themselves,” (2014).
When asked about how she sees technology, such as iPads, influencing students, Ms. Angeles responded with “it is never too early to develop skills or have an interest in a specific career, such as a police officer or firefighter for boys and a princess or nurse for girls,” (2014). This left this student wondering, if there are places that students from elementary through high school can go and explore their interests and see how many of them follow through with making something bigger of those interests. They almost seem like dreams that we all have as children, one day growing up and wanting to be someone.
With school counseling evolving over the years, it is important to not only ask children at an early age what they want career wise, but to educate them on what that includes as far furthering their education. During this interview, this student learned that counselors are not only there for the academic purposes, but emotional, social, and career wise as well. This student also learned that having a strong counselor at school will set the student up with a solid foundation for school and hopefully the beginning of a successful career with the choices the student has made along the way to find their own independence.
Angeles, Miranda. (2014, July). Career Counseling Interview. Brown, D. (2007). Career Information, Career Counseling, and Career Development, 9th Ed. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. Counselors. (2010). United States Department of Labor. Retrieved 2011, from Bureau of Labor Statistics website: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos067.htm Williams, M. R. & Southers, T. (Winter-Spring, 2010). Blurring the lines between high school and college: Early colleges and the effect on adult learners. Adult Learners 26(5), 210-212.