How School Counselors Make a Difference

school counselorIf you’re considering becoming a school counselor, bear in mind that your work will do more than just match students with colleges and careers. You have the opportunity to contribute to a student’s success in school—and in life after graduation.  Counselors make a difference by:

  • Making School a Safe Space—Students from unstable, even traumatic backgrounds need a source of security in their lives. As a student counselor, you can help make school that place of safety, where students have room to collect themselves and grow.
  • Promoting Positive Environments – Counselors can work with teachers and administrators to offer relationship skills development for all students—promoting listening skills, conflict resolution, and more.
  • Promoting Coping Skills—In a one-on-one environment, counselors can help students manage grief, anxiety, stress, and anger in order to help re-focus their energies on study. Students can use these coping skills throughout their lives to manage their reaction to difficult situations.
  • Identifying Options – Counselors in secondary settings need to work with students who aren’t on college tracks as well as those who are. Pointing students towards trade schools, apprenticeships, military service, and other forms of post-secondary career development will help students who don’t want a college degree right after high school prepare to provide for themselves as adults.
  • Listening to Students—Adults are often all too happy to give advice and instruction without actually listening to students’ thoughts, worries, and needs. Counselors, by developing personal rapport with students, can often find the key to their difficulties with school and worries about the future without having to say a word.

Five Ways Principals Help Students Learn More

leadership in educationConsidering earning your master’s degree in educational leadership? All too often, people see the role of the principal as focused on discipline and school operations rather than instructional quality. Here’s a quick look at five ways principals can influence the culture of success in their schools.

  • Principals Provide Instructional Focus – At the beginning of every school year, principals can set meaningful instructional goals—goals that go beyond standardized test performance. Every classroom visit, informal chat, and formal evaluation can then be turned into an opportunity to discuss progress towards these goals and celebrate success.
  • Principals Can Play “Matchmaker”— Principals who know their students can put them with the teachers best-equipped to meet their needs and encourage growth. They can also pair teachers with aides who will work well with their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Creating Community—Principals can act as a bridge between the school and the outside community by inviting speakers, building partnerships with local businesses, and connecting with families.
  • Inviting Reflection and Risk-Taking—Principals can help teachers consider how effective their current lessons and learning activities are. They can make more staff development meetings available, turn up for an informal observation and leave notes, sit in on department team meetings, or pass on articles related to a teacher’s subject area.
  • Principals Clear a Path—Principals clear away the obstacles that keep teachers from teaching well by assisting with serious classroom management problems and allocating additional resources where necessary. They also make time for teachers to collaborate, plan, and prepare their lessons adequately—in other words, to let teachers teach.

MBA vs MSM: Which Degree Should You Choose?

masters in business administrationReady for the next step in your business career? A graduate degree could offer the boost you need. Adding advanced education to your career experience can enhance your skills, extend your knowledge—and turn heads in the hiring office. However, which degree should you choose? There are a wide range of graduate degrees available to business and management professionals—and they’re not all the same.

Definite distinctions exist among Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree programs and Master of Science in Management (MSM) degrees. This article can help you compare and contrast these two degree programs, helping you determine which option fits your needs and experience.

Experience Requirements

First, the experience requirements of an MBA differ from those of an MSM program. In general, most colleges and universities will require MBA applicants to have at least two years of full-time work experience at a high level. For Executive MBA programs, where the student population tends to be over 35, the requirement is often five or more years.

A management master’s degree program usually doesn’t have minimum workplace experience requirements. In theory, you can complete your undergraduate degree and walk straight into an MSM classroom the following semester. That’s probably why the average age of MSM students is in the early 20s, as opposed to the late 20s for MBA programs.[i]

Educational Emphasis

As a result of this difference in experience requirements, MBA and MSM programs have different educational goals. In general, the aim of an MBA program is to produce leaders who also have management skills, while MSM programs are designed to produce managers who also have leadership skills.

MBA programs emphasize practical executive skills for enterprise leadership. There is also usually a heavy financial strategy component to many MBA programs aimed at developing decision-making capabilities. Skills taught in MBA programs generally build on undergraduate-level knowledge in business as well as a student’s professional experience.

As a result, many schools will prefer applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree in business, management, economics, or another related field. Specialization options vary widely, from specific industry focuses such as sports management to particular business functions, such as finance or project management.

For master’s-level management degrees, the educational focus is often more theoretical in nature. Courses will include some financial and quantitative analysis, but the emphasis will often be on organizational, human resource, and process management. Many schools do not require applicants to master’s programs in management to have an undergraduate degree in a related field, as these skills can apply to many disciplines.

MSM degree programs also offer specializations, but these tend to focus entirely on a specific managerial scenario. Examples might include a degree in non-profit management or international management.

Different Professional Goals

As a result of their subtly different audiences and program goals, MBA and MSM degrees also have a different outcome for graduates in the marketplace. Generally speaking, MBA graduates will emerge from their programs ready to pursue executive-level, enterprise-wide leadership roles, or to begin their own businesses. MSM graduates will have the skills necessary to function as high-level managers—and be prepared to earn an MBA or EMBA after several years in the field.