Let’s clear up the first and most obvious myth: Counselors are only around to aid lonely or depressed students. While counselors are always there to offer aid to troubled students and most people may think this is the only part of a their job description, this is simply not the case. College counselors provide a variety of services that students often do not realize or take advantage of.
When students need an objective, caring listener, the college counselor’s office is the place to go. Everyone can benefit from counseling from time to time, whether it’s about a career question, an internship opportunity, social tensions between roommates, or even anxiety and stress. Don’t worry that by visiting a counselor you are showing a sign of weakness or that something is seriously wrong with you—knowing when to ask for help is a sign of self-awareness, and the ability to explore difficult issues about your future or daily life is a sign of personal strength.
Don’t feel like you have to be in a crisis or have a serious mental illness to seek counseling either. Most students who vent to a counselor about concerns they have regarding what classes to take or what job to interview for often leave feeling like a weight has been lifted; having someone else to talk with can make them see the situation clearer. Many students even recommend going to visit a counselor to their friends!
Career counseling services at some colleges provide confidential sessions with a trained counselor who can help you learn more about yourself and the direction you want to take with your career. Talking with a career counselor can help you identify the steps in selecting a major or occupational field, locate resources to research major and career options, and assess your interests, personality traits, values, and abilities. Career counselors also teach students how to make decisions. Career counselors often can put you in contact with valuable resources as well for résumé and cover letter critiques and interviewing workshops.
There is nothing mysterious about the counseling process. Expect the counselor to listen attentively, to express caring concern, and to offer questions and feedback aimed toward helping you help yourself. You’ll be glad you talked with someone who deals with students’ concerns everyday. They know what they are talking about!