How Does a School Counselor Help Students Set Realistic Future Goals?

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    Counselor Brief

    How Does a School Counselor Help Students Set Realistic Future Goals?

    In the journey of guiding students towards a bright future, educators and mentors play a pivotal role in setting achievable ambitions. From a teacher's perspective on setting daily to long-term goals, to a career coach's insights on embracing change in career direction, we've compiled four enriching experiences. These stories, shared by professionals ranging from psychologists to career coaches, reveal the profound lessons learned in helping students chart realistic paths.

    • Setting Daily to Long-Term Goals
    • Creating Vision Boards for Clarity
    • Embracing Change in Career Direction
    • Balancing Ambition with Pragmatic Goals

    Setting Daily to Long-Term Goals

    I once had a student whose mother passed away when he was 16; his father was not in the picture, and he was on probation. He was a sweet young man, but struggled with getting back on track. We started with daily goals: simple stuff, like getting to class on time. Then, we moved to weekly assignment completion goals. Eventually, we got him back on track. He just completed his FAFSA so he can begin dual enrollment. I couldn't be happier.

    Valerie de la Rosa
    Valerie de la RosaTeacher, Educational Consultant, Blogger, The Weary Educator

    Creating Vision Boards for Clarity

    First, I helped the student brainstorm what they want their future to look like, and asked them to create a vision board. I find this helps people get a general sense of what they want out of life and what their dreams could be. A vision board is a board or Pinterest page of images that express their goals, hopes, and dreams for the future. It can include items such as relationships, homes, cars, jobs, pets, and travel. Then, after brainstorming, we used SMART goals to help identify realistic goals.

    Megan Sherback
    Megan SherbackPsychologist, Lilac Alberta Counselling

    Embracing Change in Career Direction

    I had a student this semester who had been set on attending medical school. However, after going through my class and focusing on self-discovery and career exploration activities, she decided it wasn't for her. We rewrote her plan of action to include what she actually wanted to do, and she felt more excited for her future. This student learned that it is okay to change your mind and go in a different direction.

    Kelli Anderson
    Kelli AndersonCareer Coach, California Commercial Insurance

    Balancing Ambition with Pragmatic Goals

    One that comes to mind is when I met with a student named Jason, who was determined to conquer the real estate world right after graduation. His enthusiasm was infectious, but it was evident that he needed some guidance to channel it effectively.

    During our conversation, I encouraged Jason to share his long-term aspirations and then gently nudged him to break them down into smaller, more manageable goals. We discussed the importance of gaining industry experience, honing his skills, and building a solid network. I shared anecdotes from my own career journey, highlighting the significance of taking incremental steps toward success.

    As we delved deeper, Jason realized that while his ambition was commendable, it was crucial to set realistic expectations and timelines. Together, we crafted a roadmap that included gaining practical experience through internships, pursuing further education if needed, and gradually transitioning into entrepreneurship.

    This experience taught us both the importance of balancing ambition with pragmatism. By setting achievable short-term goals, Jason not only increased his chances of success, but also gained confidence in his ability to navigate the complex world of real estate.

    Samantha Odo
    Samantha OdoReal Estate Sales Representative & Montreal Division Manager, Precondo