Gambling with Guidance: Schedule Changes and New Counselors


New Counselor Quincy Smith helps a student with his schedule, working with the student as best possible to find what was right for him.

As the 2019-2020 school year kicks off, we’ve already found ourselves tangled in the mess of schedule changes. On top of this, guidance counselors have been reassigned once more, causing a rush of concern among parents and students. In the past week, it is likely that hundreds of students submitted schedule requests to guidance, and a number close to that have sent emails and meeting requests regarding the same. With the drop/add form closed, official schedules for first semester are out and we have no choice but to accept schedules as they are. Even with all of this said and done, students, parents, and counselors alike are all facing conflicts within schedules. 

As students, we face high levels of pressure from parents and colleges to have a schedule that reflects rigor as well as balance in our academics. We want the best chances of success for ourselves, but we only have so much of a say on this matter. The last say is always in the hands of guidance, and as a result of this, students push lots of blame onto them when their schedules are not up to par. It can be understood why students feel this way: they want the best changes they can get to graduate and get accepted into their college of choice. There is a lot riding on one’s choice of classes, especially for our juniors, who are entering what is infamously known around Weddington as the most strenuous year. Whether it be dropping a class because it’s too difficult, too easy, you don’t know anyone in it, or you just don’t enjoy the class, a student’s desire to have the “perfect schedule” is well validated. However, we must ask ourselves, is it okay to put this much pressure on our counselors to tweak our schedules each year?

When speaking to students at Weddington, one can find that the majority of them have submitted  drop/add requests in the last few weeks. With this in mind, it becomes easier to realize how much work we have given our counselors to complete in a short period of time. The drop/add form was open until Friday afternoon in the first week of school, letting students ask for schedule changes all the way up until the last second. With requests pouring in throughout the entirety of the first week, the counselors likely found themselves juggling schedules left and right in attempts to fulfill the requests made by each student. Weddington has a large number of students under its roof, but each class has a limit on its size, making schedule changes tricky. Although school schedules are important, fixing them for students is a difficult balance that guidance puts large amounts of effort to obtain. It is easy to become disgruntled by imperfect schedules, but we have to respect the hard work guidance has put into each one, especially regarding the huge number of schedule change requests given to them.

Another point of concern this year regarding guidance is the recent shift in counselors. There are approximately 1,500 students at Weddington this year- we’ve had a significant increase in enrollment from last year, as our jammed cafeteria indicates. Now take that number and divide it by 5, and you’ll get 300. This means that each counselor at Weddington has to help approximately 300 students, and that is no small number. There’s no wonder why there was a change in guidance counselors this year; last year there were only four counselors, each having to take on about 375 students. As each new class comes into Weddington, the workload for counselors becomes heavier, and it needs to, much like our schedules, be balanced between all of them. With the counseling assignments for students being changed from organized by grade to being alphabetized, along with the addition of a fifth counselor, Mr. Quincy Smith, the work we expect of each counselor can be more evenly distributed. This decrease in workload for each guidance counselor should allow for a more efficient work, and a more personal relationship with their students in the long run. This change has still caused some bitter feelings, however, with upperclassmen and their parents wondering about college letters of recommendations and forming good relationships with guidance. Hopefully this will sort itself out with time, and we will see positive long term results, but for now we can only wait.

The changes in guidance have been a source of annoyance each year, with counselors being swapped around and schedules needing changes, but we must remain respectful to each side of the situation. Students must remember that there is only so much guidance can do to help their scheduling issues. Even when they work to the best of their ability, there sometimes is nothing they can do, and it’s out of their hands. However, we still must remember that schedules are highly influential in a student’s success in their classes and college acceptance. Either way, schedules are out and here to stay for the 2019-2020 school year.