Academic counseling helps students acquire more effective study skills whilst being a guiding beacon to help them solve any academic problems that they face. Most commonly, academic counselors are a member of the educational institution’s faculty, and they provide guidance to students solely on academic matters.
While the concept of academic counseling is widely accepted across most universities, there is a dire need for early age academic counseling. Providing academic-related counseling to students at an earlier age, say at high school level or even middle school, can actually provide more benefits than what is commonly perceived to be.
This is because high-school students who receive guidance from an expert regarding their academic matters will be better equipped to make decisions regarding their studies that will benefit them in the future and pave a better career path.
While some private schools and colleges in Pakistan have begun to hire academic counselors for their students, there is still a long way to go. In general, the provision of academic advising in Pakistan is clustered around private schools who use their academic counseling platform as a means to help students study abroad, without actually providing them useful information that they can harness to improve their academic performance.
Here are just some of the benefits that early age academic counseling can provide to high school level students:
Developing a Higher Education Plan
At high school level, the need to develop a higher education plan is sky-high. The current trend in Pakistan is that students are unaware of their study options. Due to family pressures they opt for pre-medical or pre-engineering for their matric exams. Due to lack of awareness of the diverse job opportunities available in the real-world, they only keep a narrow stream of options for their higher education.
The role of an academic advisor in this situation is highly influential for intermediate students. A counselor can help students find the best career opportunities according to their skills, interests, and capabilities. This will have an immense long-term impact on students, as it can lead to increased chances of applying for the right university program and securing a suitable job.
Dealing with Exam Stress
Exam stress is something that most high school level students deal with. In Pakistan, there is a huge amount of pressure on intermediate students to score well on their board exams. However, there is little guidance when it comes to helping them prepare in a healthy way. As a result, students experience exam stress which negatively affects their physical and mental health.
Therefore, it is necessary for students to have an academic guidance counselor to help them mitigate this stress. Not only can academic counselors provide a safe environment for students to express their exam-related concerns, but they can also help them adopt useful stress management techniques. This can help them overcome their exam stress, thus allowing them to focus on developing an effective exam preparation strategy.
Learning Study Techniques
Students often face difficulties when it comes to finding the best study techniques for their exam preparation. In classrooms, teachers focus on delivering a lecture and expect students to learn it on their own. Students are often unable to figure out the effective strategies to study, which causes them to become confused and overwhelmed during exam preparation.
However, the role of an academic counselor is to help students overcome these challenges and teach the best study techniques for their personal learning style. This is needed more than ever at the high school level. Hence, early age academic counseling will help students learn the best study techniques early on. As a result, they will be able to take on effective exam preparation for the final board exams. This will also help them further in life as they will experience no difficulty in self-studying at the university level.
Identifying the Need for Further Counseling
Since academic counselors work one-on-one with students to help solve their academic problems, it gives the advisors a chance to observe the students. This often allows them to understand their mental state and behavior at a more personal level as compared to classroom teachers.
Hence, academic counselors can actually identify if there are any issues in students that require further counseling. For example, a teacher may seem a poor-performing student as lazy or unproductive. However, an academic counselor may recognize signs of a learning disability that requires further professional counseling. Early age academic counseling can therefore identify such issues and get students the counseling they need from an early age. This will prevent further hardships in their university life.
Therefore, the benefits of academic counseling at an early age are unparalleled. From helping them find the best exam preparation strategies to developing an effective higher education and career plan, and even identifying early signs of learning disabilities in students, an academic counselor can help students achieve a more productive and meaningful education.
Providing early age academic counseling to students in Pakistan earlier on can actually prevent the stress and difficulties that many students face throughout their education, and may even reduce the higher education dropout rates in the country.