Guidance Counsellor Day focuses on supporting whole student

group2More than 80 guidance counsellors visited York’s Keele campus for York University’s Guidance Counsellor Day, a day of professional development and networking.

With an increased focus on student’s mental health both on and off campus, this year’s program – “Beyond Admissions: Supporting the Whole Student” – focused on supporting a student’s mental health and emotional well-being throughout the transition from high-school to postsecondary study.

“Guidance Counsellor Day is an opportunity for the recruitment team and the guidance community to come together at the end of the year and create a positive foundation for the upcoming academic year,” says Amber Holliday, manager, Canadian recruitment and on-campus events.

“Knowing that guidance counsellors are key influencers for their students, having them on campus is a unique opportunity to demonstrate all that York has to offer; give them the information they need to support VPMorrison_Introtheir students; and enable them to recommend York for post-secondary education.”

Janet Morrison

Prior to the start of the day’s concurrent sessions, the counsellors were welcomed by Marie Larose, York’s director of recruitment and awards and Janet Morrison, vice-provost students. Morrison’s address, which drew on her own first-year experience as a 16-year-old university student, not only welcomed guests to the University but contextualized the day.

“We know the predictors of student success at university and by strengthening partnerships like we are today, we can better support a student’s transition from high school to university and set our students up for success,” says Morrison.

The main program of concurrent sessions, which offered 12 different sessions to choose from, focused on:

  • Admissions processes and admission requirements;
  • Pathways to university;
  • Career options;
  • Demystifying the OSAP process;
  • The YU-Start program; and
  • Applications of the National Health Assessment and Individualized Pathways Planning.

Marc_WilcheskyMarc Wilchesky

Following lunch at the Underground Restaurant, where the guidance counsellors had the opportunity to speak with representatives for York’s Faculties and support services, Marc Wilchesky, executive director of Counselling & Disability Services at York, led the plenary session – “Resilience: A Short Course on Managing Hardship”.

The presentation explored the concept of resilience and discussed the attitudes, thoughts and behaviours that can contribute to its development. Making reference to Rick Hansen, that morning’s convocation ceremony’s recipient of the honorary doctor of laws, Wilchesky pointed to him as an example of resilience who thrived in the face of adversity. See June 9 YFile article.

Amber_group_undergroundAmber Holliday talks to the group

“You can’t predict or control the event. We can only control the reaction to our events. The event does not cause the distress…it is the reaction to the event that does,” said Wilchesky.

The success of the day was due in large part to the expertise and support from across the York community. “Guidance Counsellor Day is an important opportunity for outreach and this year’s attendance was a testament to the value of the day,” says Holliday.

“Job actions last fall resulted in an increase demand on the guidance counsellors’ time at the end of the school year. Event attendance dipped slightly this year, but the success of the day reflects the efforts of the recruitment team and the many campus partners who reached Lara Ubaldi_YUSTARTout to participate in this year’s event.”

Lara Ubaldi of YUSTART

Although high school is out for the summer, the University continues its outreach to international and transfer and mature students, and to support the transition of all students into the York community through the York & U Newsletter, social media channels, Faculty advising and transition programs, and the phone support through the Office of Admissions.

The annual event is hosted in June by York University’s recruitment team, and partners with support services from across campus and outside the University.