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Is Your Caseload Too Large?

You’re not alone. Most school counselors have far more students to counsel than they should. The recommended caseload for a counselor is 250 kids. Yet high school counselors commonly have more than 350 kids. Middle school counselors typically have more. To reach all the kids who need you, you have to work smarter, not harder.

ASCA National Model Supports School Counselor Productivity

“Data” is not a dirty word.

The ASCA National Model is a data-driven framework that can help you effectively reach students and document success. “Data-driven” is a scary concept for some people, and downright anathema to some.

Does this mean the human factor should not enter into the equation? Of course not, but data can help you find certain kids who could be college-bound, but are slipping through the cracks. You can even find groups of students with similar needs and deliver services en masse—depending on what they need.

The four parts of the ASCA National model are:

Foundation: The foundation of the ASCA National Model refers to getting everyone aboard, that is, getting school counselors to buy into the concept. This component includes resources and activities that support and guide change management. Using a research-based, data-driven process to align services for students often requires a paradigm shift. Adjusting to a new paradigm is not easy. The foundational components help support this conceptual shift. School counselors are guided through examining their beliefs and what those mean.
Delivery: School counselors provide services to students, groups of students, and parents; deliver curricula; and refer students to other services. The delivery component of the ASCA National Model includes resources for planning these services and documenting how services align with school counseling standards.
Management: The ASCA National Model management component includes resources for planning and documenting how time is spent (with the goal of 80% of the time in direct or indirect service to students), creating agreements with supervisors, planning curricula, using data, and using calendars to keep stakeholders informed about school counseling activities.
Accountability: Accountability refers to you being able to show the good that you’ve done.
Pro-Active vs. Re-Active

How does the ASCA National Model help school counselors work smarter? It guides school counselors to proactively plan how to support students as they work toward goals that align with school improvement goals.

For example, to help students become career- and college-ready, you can review data sets to identify which students miss the state universities’ minimum required ACT score by only a point or two.

Or, you can identify which low-income, first-generation students have competitive ACT scores. Using research to inform and back up the decisions, you can provide information about ACT-prep and retakes to the students and families of those who just missed the mark.

You can also provide scholarship and FASFA information to the highly competitive, low-income, first generation students. A significant number of students can be reached and helped at once.

Documenting Success

In the ACT score example, as the school counselor, you can document the number of students who just missed the qualifying ACT score, how information was provided, and the number of them who re-took and raised their ACT score.

The number of low-income, first generation students who applied to college and received financial aid and/or scholarships can also be documented.

Formally sharing this information with administrators and other school staff will help them understand how the work of the school counselors supports the school improvement goal.


If you are like most school counselors, you are overworked with daunting caseloads, causing you to spread yourself too thin. The ASCA National Model was designed to lighten the load. Data can help you identify students who have similar needs. You can then guide students according to their needs, and document the outcomes. Learning one more new thing may sound a bit overwhelming. Edstar Analytics provides web-apps and webinars to make learning to use and using the ASCA National Model easy.

Click here to view our webinar on the how to use the ASCA National Model, and suggestions for how to manage your caseload. Whether you are a novice or an expert in the ASCA National Model, the webinar has something for you.

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In addition to the ASCA National Model, many resources are available on line:

  1. This site has links to many scholarships and grants. Students provide information, then choose three areas of study and three colleges that interest them. With one click, students are taken to a myriad of links to different scholarships and grants.
  2. The Western Association for College Admission Counseling has college entrance information by category, with links to handouts for Admissions and Financial Aid, Applications, Colleges and Universities, Counseling Program Management, and other helpful links. For example, a click on “Applications” takes you to “The Art of Recommendation Writing,” sample letters of recommendation, and test preparation.
  3. This site has links for school counselors in a variety of topics, from bullying to scholarships. School counselors can click on their state to get state-specific information.