Helping hands of West


Madison Barton

Head counselor Erin Soedt helps a student and offers a helping hand when it comes to schedules, post-high school plans, and advice.

Madison Barton, Reporter

On average the student to counselor ratio is 482 to one, according to the American School Counselor Association. As a school counselor, his/her job is not only to figure out students’ schedules, but also to help students with concerns or questions, and help with career counseling. With over 1,500 students enrolled at West, there is no shortage of traffic in the counseling office. 

“I would encourage students to come in to talk to their counselors,” counselor Trisha Jones said. “I would want them to know that not only can they figure out scheduling, but this is a safe and private place for them to come in to talk to someone.” 

Jones has been working at West for 12 years. Walking into her office it feels warm and homey with colorful decorations that give a sense of safety and security. She looks forward to the chance to help students and enjoys working with high schoolers although she has worked with other grades in the past. 

“If I could I would quit going to all these meetings and focus on working with these students all day. I definitely would,” Jones said.

In order to become a school counselor, one needs to go through rigorous schooling. A bachelor’s degree in counseling, education, or psychology is required. Going into school counseling will eventually require a master’s degree, according to Careers in Psychology.  

“I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with my career in college,” Jones said. “I ended up getting my psychology degree in social work and I started working with kids… and I realized how much I liked working with high school kids.” 

With new classes, tests, required credits and helping students figure out what they to do in life, high school can be one of the most stressful times in a student’s life. The counselors are there to help students focus on their education. 

“I don’t actually go to talk to my counselor that often, I feel like they could make it more open for students to come in to talk to them, but overall I know that if it’s needed anyone can go into the counselors’ office,” junior Breauna Faison said. “Junior year is one of the most stressful years because it’s pretty much all core classes and you’re preparing yourself for your future.” 

Typically school counselors not only work with students but also parents, teachers, and administrators. The main goal is to further and help build up a student’s high school career. They often evaluate a student’s strengths and weaknesses to help create a student’s schedule. Career counseling is another important part of school counseling. 

“My favorite part is being able to either meet with students one on one or in small groups to talk about future planning, career exploration, or just figuring out their pathways after high school,” head counselor Erin Soedt said. 

Soedt has been working at West for eight years and continues to learn more and more about students. It is a challenge at this time of year with new schedules and making sure everyone is appropriately placed. Soedt comes into work every day with the intention of helping students as much as she can. 

“We are constantly helping students and responding to parents about their concerns or requests,” Soedt said. 

School counselors, while it is their job, care about their students more than they know. They are here to help students succeed and be the best that they can. While they can not provide day-to-day therapeutic services, they are always there for questions, concerns, and for a safe place to talk. 

“If students have a concern about anything, they are welcome,” Soedt said. “We may not be the person with the answer, but we can definitely help them figure out where to go or how to find the answer.”