Secondary School Counselling
- -adjusting to the secondary school environment
- -study techniques
- -time management skills
- -understanding the education system
Post-Secondary and Career Counselling **
- -course selection for post-secondary admissions
- -entrance requirements for college and university, including out-of-province institutions
- -post-secondary planning resource material
- -access to in-depth career information databases
- -computerized interest inventories and career assessments
- -high school course selection assistance
- -school graduation plan
- -job search skills, including resumé writing
** How I Work with Clients
I work mainly with high school students, but also some adults looking for a career change and every winter I usually have a few clients who are first year college or university students who have dropped out of their program because they found they really had little or no interest in where the program was leading.
For high school students who are in grades 10 to 12, there is lots of evidence (their report cards) to indicate their ability in the various subjects such as math, English, science etc. The gap for many students is uncovering their interests as they start looking at the huge variety of college and university programs. Recently, grade 12 grads for example had over 3700 individual college programs to consider while university bound students had over 500 degree programs including the 145 four year bachelors degree programs now offered by the colleges. As a result, getting a clear focus of how their interests relate to these programs is crucial to help the student zero in on which programs and institutions they want to investigate further and possibly apply to.
To assist them, I use two systematic career interest inventories, the JVIS (Jackson Vocational Interest Survey) and the CDI (Career Directions Inventory). Both instruments were originally developed in Ontario and are now used across the country. They are managed by Research Psychologists in London, Ontario.
I have two sessions with all clients. At the first, I like to show them some actual output reports from the JVIS and CDI. I have copies of reports of previous students I have worked with so we go over these 20 – 25 page reports so the student sees how they can help narrow down their career interests to a few post-secondary programs. I also try to get to know the student’s academic history and extracurricular activities. We spend some time looking at emerging career trends. The JVIS and CDI are “take home” surveys as they are not the kind of thing someone can do in ten or 15 minutes, which is another reason why I like to show the student what they will get out of these instruments before we ask them to do some work.
Once the student has completed their responses to the JVIS and CDI, and has returned them to me, I process them usually the same day. Once I have done this, I ll contact the parent to arrange a follow up session which is usually longer than the first one. At that session, we go over the reports and see how their programs of interest match up with their academic history to this point. Some future course changes at high school are often necessary. For example, I was working with a grade ten girl who had selected biology and chemistry for her science options in grade 11. Engineering was one of the top interests revealed by the JVIS and CDI so she is switching biology to physics since physics and chemistry are the two sciences required for university engineering programs. At this second session I also go over resources available for researching post secondary programs and the institutions that offer them, the application process, scholarships and financial aid resources and some of the personal and academic issues involved in transition from a high school environment to the post secondary world. At both sessions I have resources for parents as well.
It is not essential to have both parents at the sessions. However, the professional guidelines of the Ontario School Counsellors’ Association, require that we do not meet privately with young students for obvious reasons.
The typical cost for the two sessions complete ranges between $300 to $400 which includes the $60 needed to process the JVIS and CDI. The variation is the result of differences in time spent. For example, if a student’s high school program needs a major revamp that takes time. On the other hand, a student I worked with last year had veterinary medicine turn up on the list and the discussion, in that case, is very short as only one Ontario university has that program (Guelph).
Some students prefer to have a further session towards the end of the application process or when they are doing the actual registration for their post-secondary program and such additional sessions can be arranged.
For students in my local area during the school year, I usually meet with the student and parent(s) in the evening around 7 or 7:30pm to allow time for students to complete essential homework from the day at school, and for parents to get home from work. I try to save weekend appointments for out of town clients, as I have worked with clients from places such as Kitchener, Hamilton, and Cobourg. During school holidays other times can be arranged. For adult clients I try to be as flexible as possible given their personal and family situation.