Monday, August 1, 2016

The Differences Between Advisors & Counselors

Young woman in a virtual world, looking up at a road sign pointing to: Counselors, Advisors, Admissions and Recruiters.

Not sure whether you need to see an advisor or counselor? You're not alone. This subject comes up quite a bit. Rio Salado Counselor Elena Matus McDonald provides a distinction between the two in this RioNews blog.

Similar but Different: Academic Advising & Counseling

Have you ever heard a student refer to a recruiter, financial aid technician, admissions & records specialist, or academic advisor as a counselor? The answer is likely yes.

The term counselor is often inaccurately used by many to refer to various roles in higher education and can create confusion and frustration. One of the most common misconceptions is the difference between a counselor and academic advisor. While academic advisors and counselors work closely together, they fulfill different roles for students, staff, faculty, and administration.

An academic advisor’s position is multifaceted, as advisors assist students with many crucial questions. On the other hand, a counselor’s role is also multidimensional, and relates to educational planning, yet, in a different way.

Here is a table to help clarify some of the distinguishing duties of these important roles.


Counselors
Advisors
Helps students decide on major

Evaluates transcripts
Assists students in their career exploration
Provides necessary coursework for specific programs and degrees

Administers career assessments
Assists with the understanding of how college credits transfer 

Supports students and makes referrals for personal concerns such as homelessness, mental health, and domestic issues

Explains various degree options and differences between two-year and four-year degrees
Contributes to the development and attainment of educational and career goals

Delivers information regarding specific courses and course requirements
Provides job leads and related resources
Interprets placement test scores and makes appropriate course recommendations

Resume help
Recommends suitable academic plan to meet educational and career goals

Coping with crisis situations as a result of balancing roles of student, parent, and/or employee

Provides information on college graduation requirements

It is recommended and encouraged that students seek academic advising and career counseling throughout their college journey to increase the momentum needed to reach professional goals, as well as to begin building a solid, supportive, and reliable team to facilitate the guidance needed to graduate with a college degree.

Be sure to visit Rio Salado’s Counseling and Career Services and Academic Advisement web pages for additional details on how to connect with specialists to help you with your educational and career goals.

Contributed by Rio Salado Counselor Elena Matus McDonald on behalf of Rio Salado's Counseling Services, helping students with their personal, educational and career goals.
 

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