Don’t Make These Mistakes as a New High School Counselor (and What to Do Instead!) [Episode 72]


Here's What to Expect In This Episode:

I’m your high school counseling hype girl and I’m here for another pep talk! This one is for you if you’re a new (or new-ish) school counselor and want to avoid key mistakes.

One of the great things about being new is that you have veteran counselors who you can learn from. If I could go back in time to my first few years of counseling, there are definitely things that I would do differently, and other counselors I’ve talked to feel the same way. 

Luckily, we’ve made mistakes so you don’t have to! Today I’m sharing three mistakes to avoid as a new high school counselor, and what to do instead. This is an episode that you may want to put in your back pocket to re-listen to throughout the year when you need a pick-me-up. 

If you’re a new-ish high school counselor, I’d love to hear what you thought about these three new counselor mistakes. Send me a DM on Instagram @counselorclique and let me know what you’d add to this list of mistakes to avoid as a new counselor.

Topics Covered in This Episode:

  • What you can do to avoid common new counselor mistakes
  • Why you shouldn’t underestimate the power of relationships in your building
  • Taking advantage of small pockets in the day to connect with others
  • How to avoid taking on too much at once so you don’t get burnt out 
  • A reminder that your boundaries are important, regardless of whether or not you have kids
  • A push to ask any and all burning questions, even when it feels scary

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Read the transcript for this episode:

Before we get started, I’m really excited to tell you about a new resource coming for new ish high school counselors. When I say new ish, I mean zero to five years experience. With so many newer high school counselors listening to this podcast and following along, I wanted to create something to help you answer the question.

Now what after you get the job and establish yourself as the rockstar counselor that you are, or hope to be, in the early stages of your career. I’m creating an audio course think a private podcast to listen on the go. If this sounds interesting to you, or at least intriguing, I want you to get on the waitlist.

Go to to be the first to hear more details as I roll it out. Whether you’ve already secured a new high school counselor role for next year, or you’re hoping to get one or you’ve been a new counselor before this episode is for you. If you’re already a high school counselor, I’ll be curious to hear if you agree with these three big mistakes to avoid or if there are things that you’d add to the list. Let’s chat about three mistakes not to make as a new high school counselor.

You got into this profession to make a difference in your students lives, but you’re spread thin by all the things that keep getting added to your to do list. I can’t create more hours in the day, but I can invite you into my counselor clique where you’ll finally catch your breath.

Come with me as we unpack creative ideas and effective strategies that will help you be the counselor who leaves a lifelong impact on your students. I’m Lauren tingle your high school counseling hype girl here to help you energize your school counseling program and remind you of how much you love your job.

We’re diving right in and getting to today’s episode about the three mistakes I don’t want you to make as a new high school counselor. I hope this is an episode you want to listen to a few times a year for some pep talk pick me up and helpful reminders.

First, don’t underestimate the power of relationships in your school. It can be really easy to stay in your office in the beginning, as you’re sorting through schedules and answering all the questions via email and all those phone calls that just never ever end. You have so much to do that keeps you tethered to your desk, it can be challenging to get out of that space and to pursue relationships in your school building, when it feels like the real work that you have to make progress on is locked inside of your office.

Here’s some reassurance for you. It’ll be there when you get back I promise. This relationship that I’m going to emphasize to you might seem obvious because you’re most likely in a shared space with these people. But take a step away from your desk and take a lap around your school counseling office every once in a while.

If you’re getting up to stretch or to use the bathroom anyways, pop in and say hey to your colleagues or see what they’re working on. A challenge you also to be fully present when your team sits down for a meeting that you wouldn’t use that time to catch up on your emails or just disengage, but that you’d be a team player and use that time to connect relationally with your team. It’s not every day that you get everyone in the same room all at the same time.

I also always loved breaking for lunch together as often as possible. Now I know not everybody wants to do that or not everybody wants to socialize together. But I really think that every drop in that relational bucket with your team gives you valuable team camaraderie so that you can move forward together with a similarly aligned vision, mission and goals all put together for your school counseling program and for your team.

Other people in the school that you should connect with teachers, administrators, especially the ones who you will work closely with front office staff custodians, your school resource officer, attendance clerk dropout prevention specialist bookkeeper, the list goes on and on.

You as a school counselor will be the nucleus of the school. Somehow you’ll get all of the questions and you’ll want to know all the right people to connect them with when those times arrive. Establish those connections genuinely and establish them early. You don’t want to be 5, 10, 15 years into this career, maybe even at the same school. Never having had a conversation with some of the key players in your building. Each one of them will bring something valuable to your role. So here’s your sign to go get to know their stakeholders.

Next mistake, don’t take on too much all at once. And it can be tempting to be a team player, especially when you’re new at the job or when you’re the new kid on the team. I feel like the better I got at my job, the more I was asked to be on committees and planning teams and feedback councils. I was asked to be on interview committees and sponsor clubs and lead this new initiative over here. In your beginning years of your career, you probably have the most energy and excitement you’re ever going to have.

We don’t want you to wake up one day and have this flame put out because you’re over committed to things. My practice of saying no to things really only happened for me personally once I had my First Daughter, it was so much easier for me to leave work on time because I had somewhere else to be in someone else who is counting on me. But I also want to speak to those who don’t have kids or who don’t have a partner that they’re going home to.

Your boundaries are also important, you do not need to be the one who is voluntold to be here, because you’re outside of work commitments are different from being the wife or the mom that you work with. I know that you have a life outside of work, too.

For all school counselors to work life balance is extremely necessary. I have a handful of other podcast episodes that talk about this, and I’ll link those in the show notes if you’re looking to get ahead of this before you’re too far into this career.

There’ll definitely be times when you’re doing a morning or an evening event that’s guaranteed to happen. Like it’s inevitable. It’s gonna happen at some point or kind of often in your career. But balancing work and home life is absolutely important as you’re getting into the swing of a new role. Keep working on it and keep adjusting for whatever season you’re in. It might always be a swinging pendulum that requires attention. Like if you have too much work or too much home life, you always have to be finding that balance and readjusting.

It’s time to level up your confidence for your upcoming High School Counseling interviews and help you secure the job of your dreams. When you sign up for my free three day video challenge, you’ll get a few short videos to watch on your own time. These will come to your inbox over the course of three days to help you prepare for your next high school counseling interview.

Join the hundreds of other school counselors who have gone before you and watch these same videos. I think I legally can’t guarantee that they’ll get you the job. But they’ll sure as heck make the interviews feel more approachable. Grab my free job interview video series by going to counselorclique/interviews. Now, back to the show.

Lastly, don’t make this mistake as a new high school counselor. Don’t be intimidated to ask questions. Well, maybe it’s not even intimidation. Maybe you feel like I should know this by now. Or I should have learned this in grad school or this is a dumb question. Or I’ve asked too many questions. They don’t want to hear that from me again. Those are absolute lies that you’re telling yourself. And I’m here to say quit that.

Back in episode 26, which was called words of wisdom for interns from counselors in the field. I crowdsource some amazing advice to interns. And I say it’s amazing because it did not come from me. It came from you all listeners, counselors who are out there. And I think that these pieces of advice really resonated with new counselors as well, not just interns.

There was definitely a resounding theme here. Everyone said, ask questions. And then when you think you’ve asked enough, keep asking more questions. As a high school counselor, you will live in the gray, many times a similar situation will elicit the need for different resources or a different response.

Unfortunately, there’s no rulebook that gives you black and white answers to all of it, which I know will be really frustrating for a lot of listeners out there. But think of it this way, you just get to be a lifelong learner in this role, just like your students are, you can ask questions of your supervisor, your teammates, your grad school classmates who are moving into new roles to or even inside my high school counseling membership, the Clique Collaborative doors. I’ve been to that twice a year. So I’ll link the waitlist in the show notes for that so you can learn more about it. Put your name on the waitlist for when we open doors in August and January.

Your willingness to ask questions will turn into a humble confidence. You’ll grow your skills while also remembering that you never actually arrive. How’s that for encouragement? Really, though, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Even veteran counselors have questions that they’re asking their teammates, I promise.

There’s so many things that you only do once a year, twice a year, once a quarter, once a semester. And you’re always asking, How do I do this again? Will you show me how to do this. So it does not matter if you’re in year 0, 1, or 25. You will still have questions. So hopefully that’s encouraging to you.

If you’re a new ish high school counselor, I’d love to hear what you thought about this episode. Send me a DM on Instagram and let me know what you’d add to this list of mistakes to avoid as a new counselor.

Remember, be sure to get on the waitlist for that upcoming audio course by going to or by getting those interview videos to your inbox. If you’re still hoping to secure that job. That’s counselor

You have a couple of assignments here depending on who you are and what you need. But I know they’re all going to equip you along your high school counselor journey. So I’ll see you next week.

Thanks for listening to today’s episode of high school counseling conversations. All the links I talked about today can be found in the show notes and also at counselorclique/podcast. Be sure to hit follow wherever you listen to your podcast so that you never miss a new episode. Connect with me over on Instagram. Feel free to send me a DM at counselor clique, that’s C-L-I-Q-U-E. I’ll see you next week

Connect with Lauren:

Cheers + Happy Listening!

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