"The only way to do great work is to love what you do."
- Steve Jobs
Overview of Counseling Services
At Saint Joseph Academy, guidance and counseling are an integral part of the total education program. The guidance and counseling program is developmental and outcome-based in nature, taking as its foundation the Saint Joseph Academy philosophy of dedication to the total formation of our students, including spiritual, intellectual personal, social, and physical development. To this end, the mission of the counseling department is to conduct activities designed to respond to the normal developmental needs of all students in the areas of academic, personal, and social growth. These activities are part of a structured developmental curriculum that is organized around two major areas:
(1) personal development, including academic, social, emotional, and spiritual growth; and
(2) college and career planning preparation. In addition, the Counseling Department provides support services for parents.
Individual counseling is provided to students for both personal and academic concerns. Grade level counselors work closely with all students at every level to help them deal with the typical challenges of adolescence. Personal attention and professional guidance are the hallmarks of a program that is based on the Marist values of family spirit and presence.
Group counseling programs include personal growth for boys and girls as well as co-ed groups for grief counseling. In addition, counselors moderate the Positive Peer Leadership Team which provides students with opportunities to promote responsible decisions and the avoidance of substance use among their peers.
College and Career Counseling Program
As a Catholic college preparatory school, Saint Joseph Academy provides a comprehensive program of college and career counseling that involves students in all grade levels. In the Middle Division, counselors meet with students to discuss college and career options. Students in the 7th grade have the opportunity to participate in the Duke University Talent Identification Program for gifted students. Students in the 8th grade take an age-appropriate career assessment, the Career Key, which helps them become more self-aware and begin to consider possible careers of interest. Students in 9th and 10th grade take additional Career Interest Profile assessments that allow them to identify their interests and the types of work activities and careers that match their skills. All students in grades 8th through 11th take the PSAT each October to begin preparing for the SAT college entrance exam. Counselors meet with students, parents, and faculty to interpret scores and plan strategies for SAT practice.
In the 11th grade, the college application process begins in earnest, when college counselors meet with students and parents in family conferences to get each student started on their individualized college application process. The Counseling Department also works with students in classrooms and hosts an evening meeting for parents to provide information on how to help their children prepare to apply to college.
In the 12th grade, the college counseling staff works closely with each individual student throughout every phase of the application process to ensure that all students have the help they need to find the best college fit for them. In addition, the department sponsors meetings for parents on college applications and financial aid and hosts many college admission representatives for school visits each year. In September, the Counseling Department sponsors an annual College Fair for all high school students and their parents to help students connect personally with their colleges of interest. A Career Day is held every two years for high school students to meet with professionals from the community to learn firsthand about career options. In alternate years, the department sponsors a College Student Forum, during which SJA graduates return to campus to answer questions about their college experience and advise students about how to prepare for college.
Since the college selection process is a complex one involving the entire family, the Counseling Department strives to provide an array of college and career services which lead up to the selection of colleges by seniors. The Naviance digital platform is used as the primary vehicle by which students from 8th through 12th grades can investigate colleges and scholarships, and by which the department can communicate through email with students and parents about college opportunities, summer programs, scholarship possibilities, and a variety of information relevant to the student. Students and parents can log on to Naviance at www.connection.naviance.com/sja