High school counselors see students like you in all sorts of emotional states: excited, distressed, confused. In their role, they have a pretty big window into your life — your grades, your passions, your dreams and your challenges.

But how much do you know about what their day-to-day looks like?

While counselors’ responsibilities vary, each and every one is hard at work for their students. Here’s what five former high school counselors wish you knew.

Counseling Is an Art, Not a Science

“There usually is no ‘right’ answer, just our best advice from years of experience and knowledge of the process. Sometimes I wish counseling were a science, because I would spend less time awake at night worrying.”
—Meghan Lahey, college counselor at Steinbrecher & Partners

We Do More Than Administrative Tasks

“School counselors are available and uniquely qualified to support students with their personal, social, academic and postsecondary-level needs. We do more than make schedule changes. I set out to work with individuals to make a positive impact on students every day.”
—Ernest Cox, president of the Texas School Counseling Association

You Can Talk to Us About Anything

“We are not the guidance counselors of yesteryear. We do more than career guidance. Today’s school counselors are certified, licensed educators with a minimum of a master’s degree in school counseling, making us uniquely qualified to address all students’ academic, career, social and emotional development needs.”
—Tracy Jackson, The Extraordinary School Counselor

There’s Never Enough Time, But We Wish There Was

“Sometimes students get upset or frustrated when they cannot meet with me exactly when they want or need to. I wish that my students knew that I genuinely care about each and every one of them and that I truly wish that I could always be available to meet with them. However, having over 300 high school students on my caseload does not make that possible.”
—Lorrie-Anne Monte, school counselor, Connecticut School Counselor Association

There’s a Ton of Behind-the-Scenes Work

“I spend a lot of time reading about college admissions, visiting colleges and doing professional development via conferences, webinars and networking. To stay current in today’s ever-changing admissions environment takes time, particularly when you want to ensure that you are giving students and their parents the right information.”
—Charlotte Klaar, Klaar College Consulting