Low-income youth suffer most when they are denied access to high-quality college counseling. Yet of the approximately 400 master’s degree programs in school counseling nationwide, only about 10% offer coursework in college advisement and none focus on underrepresented populations. College counseling training is also not a requirement for school counselor licensure in New York City.
The Options Institute has trained New York City high school counselors for the past several years, but no program existed to teach more advanced college counseling techniques. We sought to solve this problem by underwriting the creation of an advanced college counseling curriculum and offering it at no cost through the Options Institute.
The Advanced Options College Guidance certificate course, called Beyond Basics, was created specifically to serve students who are underrepresented in college, who have a strong need for support in the college application, transition and degree-completion process, and who do not have these needs met through high school counselors or family. With our support, they developed an Advanced Counseling Training to include the kinds of support that enable counselors to develop mastery in counseling students who are under-represented in college: low-income, first-generation, immigrant, homeless, and foster care students as well as other young people with exceptional barriers to college access and success.