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Present Role of College Counselling

by Suleman


The purpose of this research is to trace the historical path of college counseling. College counseling is a critical aspect of student life. The study aims to use peer-reviewed journals to come up with an in-depth historical perspective of the history of college counseling. This research has four primary phases that are the introduction, the body, recommendations, and a conclusion.

The introduction part of this research offers an overview of why the topic needed research. The introduction touches on some of the known needs for college counseling. The body of the study is where the researcher will put more emphasis. The body will give an in-depth and well-researched history of college counseling. The recommendation part will touch on what the authors need to be addressed to improve efficiency in the counseling department. Lastly, the research conclusion will summarize the main points in the research work.


By their young age, college students need counseling. Counseling does not mean the act of sitting on a coach and facing a peer counselor. Counseling is a process. In the case of the college student, counseling is intended to reduce instances of mental illnesses such as stress and depression. Anxiety and depression are known to as the significant causes of student drop in performance.

Additionally, some college students do not have the emotional capacity to handle pressure. At the college level, students are in their stages of the adolescent. Some students end up making wrong decisions, especially about their sexual life. Instances of early pregnancies and abortion call for counseling. Likewise, most college students are known to battle with problems of drug and substance abuse. The need to help these students manage and overcome drug-related issues call for peer counseling. In college, most students fall victims of peer pressure.

This peer pressure ends up playing a toll in their lives. Some students fail to withstand the influence of peer pressure hence they end up succumbing to emotional distress. The issue of making career choices also call for student counseling. Some students do not know what is favorable for them; peer counselors therefore help these students make informed and good career choices. At the college, some students also feel the pressure of having to perform well to join prestigious universities like Oxford and Harvard.

The need to deliver at times overcomes their intellect. To manage the issues above, students need to visit guiding and counseling departments for advice and mental therapy in adverse cases.Simply put, the need for college counseling is student-centered.  College counseling was initiated to help address the mental and psychological needs of students. This paper will look at the history of college counseling.

The History of Counseling in Colleges

College counseling is thought to have started in the early 1930s. The inception of college counseling was started by educational guidance movement whose aim was to handle student issues at an initial phase. Major historical events influence the revolution and evolution of student counseling. Some past events like the Second World War and The Great Depression are thought to have fuelled the need for college counseling.

The rise of activism for women rights also sums up as one of the motivating factors towards the inception of college counseling. Historically, the need for educational institutions to help college students handle challenges at home, manage school work and venture into the job market are some of the requirements that drove the rise of college counseling (Sweeney, 2001).

The Great Depression Movement (GDM) in the United States is known as the architect of college counseling. The GDM advocated for the institutionalizing of vocational services to the residents of US. One of the early beneficiaries of college counseling were soldiers. These soldiers had participated in the Second World War and were offered counseling services at college institutions to help ease the mental depression encountered in the war zone (Hodges, 2001).

The initial launch of college counseling services was meant to address vocational needs. The issue of soldiers undergoing counseling services in colleges was intended to heighten the importance of counseling services to the general public.

Consequently, it is noted that the need for the services of counselors fuelled by the emergence of the famous Cold War. The advent of the Cold War is thought to have improved the expertise of peer counselors. The victims of the Cold War came back with increased depression that needed swift counseling.

Counselors therefore got a chance to put their prowess in practice. The need for more counseling services foresaw the formation of the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) in late 1958.  The role of the formed NDEA was to steer funding in the traditional counseling service providers.

Additionally, NDEA had a task of organizing, managing and running counseling workshops (Sweeney, 2001). The formation of the National Defense Education Act coincided with the evolution of women rights movements.

At this stage, there was a complex cultural environment in colleges since more women had joined the male-dominated sphere. This complex environment, in turn, called for more counseling services to help college students understand and cope with diversified student cultural orientations.

The rise of the need to address the personal and educational needs of college students made counseling an essential branch in the education sector. A college education was no longer about professional training. Colleges had to address both the mental and emotional needs of students.

Guiding and counseling departments were consequently formed and gained recognition. However, Hodges (2001) notes that the present structure of college counseling still has a link with the early education philosophy even though it has developed a diverse orientation.

Additionally, the history of a college education also takes a philosophical approach. Under the rational approach, the development of college education puts its focus on the general well-being of students. For instance, the need for students to embrace interpersonal interactions get addressed.

In their daily interactions, students get to experience the viewpoints of their peers. These viewpoints at times clash with their perceptions of the world. This clash in itself forms the basis for peer counseling. College counseling calls for tolerance to diverse worldviews.

The Present Role of College Counselling

In the current era, college counseling plays a vital role both personal and vocational growth of a student. The work of counselors is performed by professional counselors and not just any tutor in the college. School counselors have a task of handling student career growth, mental development, character building, and talent development. The role of the college counselor no longer relies on addressing the psychological needs of students as seen during the early ages.

The current counseling focuses on the general development and well-being of students. When choosing careers, the success of students based on the advice of counselors (LaFollette, 2009).  The counselor has to measure the mental ability, address the passion of students and offer appropriate career advice.

Due to the ever-changing behavioral patterns, college counselors have the task of handling student pressures that happen due to increasing workloads (Bishop, 2006). The rise of drug-related problems has made it hard for students to balance their coursework and the external peer pressures. To handle institutional loads, counselors have had to continually encourage students to attend brief mental therapies and career talks.

Furthermore, college counselors play the role of cultivating multicultural tolerance. The issue of migration in the US, for example, has brought together a multicultural student population. This student population has a diverse race, cultural gender, and sexual orientations. The occurrence of such diversification

I itself creates a different environment. College counselors have to come up with programs that would help promote acculturation. According to American College Health Association (2009), the racial orientation of college students stands at 76% Caucasian, about 5 % Black American, over 6% Hispanic orientation, 11% Asian, and 1.6% Indian. These statistics call for the cultivation of cultural tolerance.


The diversification of college counseling has placed more burden on counselors. The author, therefore, recommends additional funding in the Guiding and counseling departments (Boyd, Hattauer, Brandel, Buckles, Davidshofer, & Spencer, 2003). Besides, the government and county governments have a role of ensuring adequate staffing of guiding and counseling departments. The weight of tasks of counseling calls for more than three members in the department. Additionally, these counselors need improved working environments.


The role of college counseling has diversified since its inception. The need to address the general grooming of students has enriched the part of counselors. Nowadays, it is not solely about addressing mental needs. Counseling in the present era called for prowess in the field for one to succeed as a counselor.

Additionally, student needs have diversified due to technological improvements. The case of cultural integration due to migration has added the bulk on the job of counselors. Constantly changing behavior patterns have done little to reduce the need for counseling. Generally, the current crop of college counselors has directed their energies on mental health, behavioral patterns, emotional stability, and psychological development. Similarly, counselors are tasked with monitoring and evaluating educational and career development of students.


  • American College Health Association (2009). American College Health Association‐National College Health Assessment spring 2008 reference group data report (abridged). Journal of American College Health, 57(5), 477‐488.
  • Bishop, J. B. (2006). College and university counseling centers: Questions in search of answers. Journal of College Counseling, 9, 6‐19.
  • Boyd, V., Hattauer, E., Brandel, I. W., Buckles, N., Davidshofer, C., Spencer, D., et al. (2003). Accreditation standards for university and college counseling centers. Journal of Counseling and Development, 81, 168‐177
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  • LaFollette, Alison M. (2009). “The Evolution of University Counseling: From Educational Guidance to Multicultural Competence, Severe Mental Illnesses and Crisis Planning,” Graduate Journal of Counseling Psychology: Vol. 1: Iss. 2, Article 11. Available at: http://epublications.marquette.edu/gjcp/vol1/iss2/11
  • Sweeney, T. J. (2001). Historical Origins and Philosophical Roots. In D.  Locke, J. Myers, & E. Herr (Eds.), The Handbook of Counseling (pp.  3‐24). California: Sage Publications.

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