Career and college counseling is a critical step in helping students find and determine the direction they should take in their higher education and careers. Ironically, in India, the need for this type of education counseling continues to be undervalued, despite being a country with the highest youth population in the world. Counseling for supporting and facilitating decisions of colleges and career opportunities is the magic wand for converting this demographic opportunity to the nation's advantage.
Amrita Ghulati, Academic Head, IC3 Institute says, “the choice of college and career is one of the most important decisions a student makes, and it has a long-term impact at both the individual and societal levels. Moreover, it includes choices at multiple levels: course, college, and country.” She further adds, In the background of such choice-making are conversations of interest, aptitude, values, identity, strengths, aspirations, and personal circumstances, all of which need an expert's intervention to make the process as stress-free as possible and in an informed manner. Additionally, proper guidance at the right time can support the building of 21st-century skills and deepen academic engagements, preparing students for an exciting and promising future.
A proactive student counseling program serves as a way for students to explore their interests and career options. It can help students in different ways:
Channelise energy in a positive and fruitful direction
Enhance academic outcomes
Add to self-confidence
At a school level, the benefits continue:
Create a purpose-driven student body/minimize undesirable behaviors
Prevent dropouts by contextualizing learning, actively discussing avenues and goals for the future
Align the engagement with the parent community in the interest of the student
To create a pool of self-reliant future generations, it is high time that the value of career and college counseling in education is considered vital, keeping a larger context in view. If career and college counseling is thoughtfully brought to every school, it can prove to be a catalyst for many remarkable changes in the education space, such as:
Equal access and inclusion in higher education opportunities across different student communities through awareness, eventually bridging the gap between disadvantaged, marginalized groups
Breaking through gender stereotypes/disparity in the world of careers (for example, increasing participation from girls in STEM programs; increasing participation from boys in liberal arts education)
Increasing student success and meeting the needs of the workforce by widening the mindset and acceptance of the dynamic range of careers and their prospects
Food for thought
Counseling is the only way to maximize student success across the spectrum (gender identity, academic standing, socio-economic category), leading to happy and driven 25-year-olds who will love Monday mornings!
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