College Counseling And Student Life Services Education Essay

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The following is a brief of the history and functions of college counseling and student life services. This paper discusses how the progressing in development of both subjects occurs. College counseling deals with a college student mental health, vocational guidance, and the student personnel work (Dean & Meadows, 1995). Student life services deals with the resources that a college student will need to complete their studies, and to function as a student of higher education.

College Counseling and Student Life Services


When students leave home to go to college it begins a whole new world for them. The students are faced with a lot of challenges and struggles during their college tenure. This is when there needs to someone who can help them through the issues they are confronted with. The person who fits the role would a college counselor. These counselors are there to help them along the way whether it is with family issues, school work, substance abuse, or mental health (Healey & Hays, n.d). College counselors are critical in the success of all college students. College counselors provide support, and also therapeutic counseling needs to the student. Student life services are put into place to encourage the student to participate in campus activities, organizations, and gives support in student initiatives (Komives, 2003). Student life services also serves as the main liaison for the students on the campus. Student life services offers services to students so that they can be successful in their academic studies and social life while at the school.

Brief History

Counseling in higher education was created to bring an increased growth in sauces for professionals in the field. The start of college counseling begins with the American College Counselors Association (ACCA). The founding of the ACCA came to existence due to the disaffiliation of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) from the American Association for Counseling and Development (AACD), which today is now called the American Counseling Association (ACA) (Davis, 1998). The ACCA wanted the needs of counseling professionals to be seen and acknowledged. The ACCA came up with three characteristics in the development of the association. The characteristics are: changing professional identity, the dynamic of organizational change, and the commitment of leaders to address these needs (Davis, 1998).

It was at this time that blending counseling and student development foundation together. The ACCA wanted to ensure that organizational development was to strengthen. There were committees made to meet and work with counselors that were working in the college setting.

The separation of the association made the focus of American College Personnel Association (ACPA) towards student affairs (Davis, 1998). Student life or student affairs didn't start out in America, but the tradition of preparation of leadership and service are factors were developed in America (Komives & Woodard, 2003). New America used examples of student life that were developed by the English. The America used the strategies that the English universities of Oxford and Cambridge were during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Oxford and Cambridge combined living and learning at the university (Komives & Woodard, 2003). The university saw that it was their duties to guide social and academic dimensions of undergraduate life.

As the United States developed more and more in college universities, many parents were noted of wanting their children to get a higher education. Women and Indian Americans also began having the opportunity to have a higher education during this period. Many women colleges and schools for Indians were founded. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century there were provisions made for African Americans who wanted to pursue a higher education. During this time, there were land grants for institutions during time period. The Morrill Land Act of 1890 was created and it provided money to many Black colleges and universities (Komives & Woodard, 2003). It gave students the ability to study agricultural and engineering in these schools.

By the time of World War 1, the focus of getting high schools students to further their education which created the unique American institution, which we call the junior college (Komives & Woodard, 2003) . The development of the junior college provided students with academic, vocational, and a professional education. After World War 1, diversity came along and changed the game and became more evident in prestigious schools at this time. Women began attending college and universities during this time frame starting co-education. The "golden age" came along during President Truman presidency. This provided public education that was accessible and affordable for those who didn't, and those who had the means (Komives & Woodard, 2003). This included small and big colleges and universities, and two- year and four year programs.

Major Themes

With college counseling, there are so many changes. This is what affects professionals in the counseling field. Counselors are affected with the changes that are positively and negatively. Watson states that college and universities counseling function in an environment that has experienced frequent changes (Watson, 2011). Today changing the way counselor's present information to students is essential in the effectiveness of the student welfare on the campus (Watson & Schweitzer, 2010). One of the topics that counselors have to get out to students is the subject of hazing. Each and every college and university has it in their policy that hazing is against the rules and it has a zero tolerance policy regarding the matter. This is when counselors need to come along and get the students aware of the effect hazing can do to the student, but also to the school they attend.

In student life services, the theme that is seen is students almost graduating from school and having no job in their eye sight. There was a time where students were able to finish school and have a job waiting for them (Mann, 2010). Because of the economy, many students that have completed their undergraduate and even their graduate degree who are struggling to start their career. Student life service professionals are at a standstill because of the way the economy is affecting everyone. It has put a tremendous burden on student life services professional because they are find it hard to help students find employment. Also, the student's life service professional are at a crossroad, because many students are finishing schools with thousands of dollars in debt, and they cannot find work to begin paying off student loans.

Another theme that takes focus is the student affairs is students providing educational success for students entering and currently in college. This affects students because with the election near, students financial assistance maybe limited or depleted depending on who is elected as the next president. Student life services professional gives the student to have a supporting hand in the political agenda (Javinar, 2002). This gives students the opportunity to see what they are up against during political campaign. Student life services theme in this gives the student the ability to fight for things such as funding for the school so that increased tuition is not a factor. Many student life service professionals are helping student learn what to look for in a political candidate.

Athletics is also a major theme in student life/ affairs since the beginning. Student life services help athletics department across campuses to make students take pride in their school. The purpose is help athletes show school spirit and community service. Student life services are there to show support in the activities that is being presented at the schools. Student life services are also there to provide the student- athlete with range difficulties they might have. They must treat the athlete the same way as the student life service professional would a non- athletic student. Student life services also help athletes that attend small colleges and universities by contributing too many of the sporting events. They also help students with intramural sports by helping to get the program off the ground (Komives & Woodard, 2003).

Diversity is also a main theme in student life service. Professionals have been dealing with diversity since 1920's. Women entering male dominated schools, integrating predominantly white universities and more have shown that student life services are put into place to help students (Komives & Woodard, 2003). Student life service has now focused on the diverse population by starting groups and activities that relate with different ethnicities (Komives & Woodard, 2003). They are more multicultural departments that help the diverse population. Student life services also works with people who disabilities that attend college and universities. There are programs that allow students who may need the extra help the ability to do so without the repercussions of not passing.

Counselor Identity

Counselor identity is the ability of oneself to understand their profession with their own self concept (Healey & Hays, n.d). By understanding their profession, the counselor can be able to talk about their role and their purpose to clients and others in and out of the field. Counselors use their personal values and beliefs so that you can see the concept (Dean & Meadows, 1995). Another part of counselor identity is the counselor education and training. Many counselors have a wide range of education and training to go with the different forms of counseling (Healey & Hays, n.d). Many look at counselors as a psychologist or a therapist. There are so many laws and regulations regarding counselors. In many states, it is best to pick one form of counseling to work in over another. This is because of the laws and regulations. Some require that in some form of counseling that a master's degree be required, or having a bachelor's degree is just fine. There are certifications that must be passed to have a person to become a counselor in some states.

Counselor identity talks about how a counselor must present themselves to their client. Counselor identity shows the client the expectation from the counseling process. Counseling identity builds a relationship between the client and the counselor. Having a strong relationship between the two helps the client wellbeing, and keeps the counselor from having to second guess what the client. By the counselor giving the client their expectations up front, the client will know their limitations beforehand.

According to Davis, she states that Dean and Meadows wrote that college counseling is a professional identity rather than a title or a specific job function (Davis, 1998). The American College Counselors Association (ACCA) and the American Counseling Association are there to make sure that the counselor's identity is not lost. The ACCA mission statement is to be the inter disciplinary and inclusive professional home that supports emerging and state of the art knowledge and resources for counseling professionals in higher education (American College Counseling Association, 2009) .


A counselor's function is providing direction and giving support to their clients so they can obtain their goals. Counselors help their client identify the problem and assist them with handling the problems at hand (Avis, 1976). Counselor function is to make sure that the client's development is not hindered by anything. The function of student life services is to provide college students with support and resources to ensure that they have a remarkable college experience. Student life services function is also to provide assistance to college students such as counseling services, and career services. There job is to provide academic success and development to the students of that campus (Javinar, 2002).


In college counseling, counselors should always use good judgment. On college campuses, counselors are faced with numerous students with numerous issues. Counselors must still continue to use good judgment when talking with these students. Confidentiality is still a requirement. Even though these counselors might not see the student on a regular basis, the counselor shouldn't speak to others about the student. At many schools the populations is not of high numbers, and many professionals and students have a relationship but the counselors must keep the relationship on a professional level. Some students might be around the same age, or might hang around the same close friends; the counselor must maintain their duty to the client and set personal interest aside. This is when managing relationship come into play. These counselors are the same as formal counselors when it comes to ethics.

Ethics with student life services, professional must use good judgment also with college students. Because these professional work closely with the college students, and may have their personal information, they must also use confidentiality also. Professionals in student life services must keep the best interest of the students of that campus (Mann, 2010). Each student has the same equal priority as the next so the professional must keep aware of that. Professionals must be considerate of the students and take their issues and matters appropriately.

Biblical Values

College counselor's biblical values are that it is their duty and obligation to God to work with students with their approach with college. Reliance upon God is also what counselors must have to be able to give their all. Counselors will also have to merge scripture and everyday living to get information to the students (Colter, 2012). The biblical values are there to help all that is in need of help. With student life services, professionals must also give a helping hand. College counselors and student life professionals must nit leave their brother or sister behind. The biblical value that student life services professionals are to use is they are not to turn you back on the person. The person duty is to be there, and if not refer them to someone who can properly assist them.

Personal reflections

I think that college counseling and student life services are still working together even though the association split years ago. There are many factors that are shown that proves my point. There focus and works toward helping professionals that are in the field help students are their main priority. Counselor identity shows me that it what I do from here on out is what other agencies or jobs look at. The ACCA looks after the counselors to make sure that their identity isn't lost or overseen. College counselors are there to make sure that students are able to confide in them, understand what is going with them. As a Christian college counselor, counselors are there to lift the student up with the kind words of the father. This is when I'm glad that I attend this university because I can always find a person that can give a little scripture that make my day bright.

Student life services are what hold the schools together. I say this because it's the students who keep the school open. Student life services are the life line to what keeps everything moving on campus. Student life services are in athletics, mental health, tutoring, student government, and the list can go on. Student affairs have developed more and more over the years and their responsibility has also grown. It takes a lot of time and patience to do what these do on an everyday basis. Throughout the years, there have been many changes that have dramatically changed the face of many universities but there was student life services present to assist in making the change a smooth operation.


College counseling and student life services are essential to students all across the United States. These professionals are gifts that students need in their lives. The two focus on the student development and the student effectiveness. The two programs are in place for the professionals to give a listening ear, and help the student along the way. These professionals are effective part in higher education and they have made a great impact on lot students.