Academic counselors are employed by high schools and colleges, advising students to help them find the academic path that fits their aptitude and interests. The counselor offers advice, provides information, and helps assess with a student how their academic track will equip them to find employment after graduation. At a high school level especially, the academic counselor may also be expected to assess whether outside factors (which can be anything from a need for corrective eyewear to distractions at home) are negatively impacting the student's expected achievement level and then offer suggested strategies to help ameliorate these problems.
An academic counselor must be familiar with the various tracks at his or her institution. They should always be looking to place students in courses that not only fit the student's aptitude, but also offer the most challenge and potential reward. In a high school setting, the counselor should be aware of all necessary standardized testing and be able to help offer practice tests and strategies for these to students as well.
For university-level counselors, a detailed knowledge of the academic tracks to graduation are required. The counselor must be able to assist students in choosing coursework each semester that moves the student toward a degree with noticeable progress. In all cases, the counselor helps the student best work towards academic goals and then apply them beyond graduation — whether that is continuing an academic career or entering the job market.
To work as an academic counselor, an individual must typically have at least a bachelor's degree in education, with an emphasis on counseling and advising. Counselors typically work during school hours, although additional hours may be required.
Academic Counselor Tasks
Interview and advise students on academic requirements, career resources, academic abilities, and goal setting.
Prepare advising materials including guides and recruitment materials.
Present academic information to orientation groups, potential students, and parents.
Monitor academic progress of students.