Counselor shortage affects AHS


Here at Annandale, counselors are assigned to students based on the alphabetical order of their last names. Each counselor is responsible for a group of students. The duty of a counselor is to help students thrive in their four years at Annandale.

Considering their crucial job, there has been a very prevalent counselor shortage here at Annandale.

Over the past six months, there have been three counselors resigning or switching to different schools. This has drastically impacted students as they are constantly being switched around to different counselors and there is no consistency. 

“I go to my counselor whenever I have a problem, whether it’s related to school or something personal. So this problem with the counselor shortage affected me a lot because counselors are a big part of a student’s ability to succeed,” said senior Sarah Baktiar 

“This counselor shortage has affected my college application process because I am unaware of who to ask my questions to,” said senior Shahidah Kargbo

Contrary to popular belief, students have a lot more influence over the information in their recommendation letters. As freshmen and sophomores, students who take the initiative and let their counselor know about it have the advantage of gradually earning trust by displaying dependability and integrity. On the other side, students who wait until their senior year, even those with perfect academic records, frequently experience disappointment when it comes to letters of recommendation. This is why it is imperative that counselors have the same student throughout all four years.

Counselors should stay with their assigned group of students for all four years of high school. This would give ample time for both the counselor and the student to get to know each other. Cultivating strong connections with students and other staff takes time but is essential for school counselors’ success in their work. It’s necessary to solidify the counselor-student relationship early. 

Head of counselors, Erik Healey, feels the stress and impact this constant switching can have over students. He recognizes this can toll on students’ stress levels and is working to eliminate this anxiety. 

“I think the biggest people that the shortage has impacted our students. It’s really difficult when you’ve had three different people as counselors within a year. What affects me is the impact it has on students. We can always adjust as we need to as professionals but to me, that’s the greatest impact,” said the head of counselors Eric Healey

Counselors should be a safe space for students to reveal their authentic selves and be vulnerable. They should be a support system for students. Without a consistent counselor for many students, it has left some feeling hopeless and lost about who they can go to for guidance. Every student should have at least one trusted adult who they can go to at Annandale, and with this unsettling counselor shortage students have been left in dismay about who to go to. 

“The counselor shortage has impacted my stress level during college applications. I found it difficult to ensure that all application materials will be submitted on time for deadlines,” said Francesca Gabriel

There are many possible reasons to blame for this shortage. Some main ones can be stress, pay, and a toxic work environment.