A Tour of the World Wide Web for School Counselors

The World Wide Web is exploding with information. It contains over 500,000 web sites and new sites are developed every few minutes. With connectivity in the guidance and counseling office, students and professional personnel, with a few clicks of a mouse, have access to a wealth of relevant information. The purpose of this paper is to expose school counselors to some of the more important counseling-related web sites.

College and University Information

Secondary school students are constantly seeking information concerning colleges and universities. Most colleges present detailed data concerning a variety of topics -- from specific programs to admission policies -- on their Web site's home page. If the URL address is unknown, counselors can use the web to find any college on the web.

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology site (www.mit.edu:8001/people/cdemello/univ.html) lists higher education institutions both alphabetically and geographically. By clicking on the names of the schools on the list, students and counselors have instant access to a virtual library of school catalogs.

Peterson's Web site (www.petersons.com/) is another excellent source of information concerning educational institutions. It includes data related to K-12 schools, colleges and universities, studying abroad, careers and jobs, language study, testing and assessment, and vocational-technical schools.

College costs are always a major concern of any potential college student. To find financial information students need to check the FinAid site (www.finaid.org/). This web site reviews topics related to loans, sources of aid, newsgroups and related links.

To compute the costs normally paid by the family, students can use The College Board site (www.collegeboard.org/html/calculator000.html). This site also includes a program that calculates the monthly repayment associated with loans. The student can also learn whether his/her borrowing plans are realistic, given the income potential for the chosen career field.

Psychological and Learning Problems

Both elementary and secondary students can develop psychological problems during their school years. The American Psychological Association Home Page (www.apa.org/) is an excellent site for school counselors . The site contains a newsletter, membership information, and the "PsychCrawler", an Internet browser related to psychological topics. "PsychCrawler" is an excellent tool for reviewing a large database of information.

To gain information concerning attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), use the ADHD Home Page (www/nimh.gov/publicat/adhd.htm). This site provides data concerning examples, symptoms, treatments, and a comprehensive bibliography of resources.

The Learning Disabilities Site (www.nih.gov/publicat/learndis.htm) defines the disability, suggests educational options and medications, describes current research, reviews government aid and provides sources of additional information and support.

The High Self-Esteem Site (www.planet.millenium.com/hsep.htm) teaches students how to feel good about themselves, how to get along with others, how to live life as a leader, and how to obtain a healthy self-esteem. The program consists of eight interactive self-esteem modulates that are very good for middle and secondary school students.

The Autism Resources Web Site (http://web.syr.edu/~jmwobus/autism.html) is a superb source of valuable information concerning this important disorder. It has a wealth of information from the Net including links on methods, treatments and programs. The site also contains a comprehensive bibliography of related books and articles. It even has a listing of autistic-related items "For Sale." Asperger's Syndrome is also included in this very large information database. In addition, the site contains a worldwide listing of organizations. The Autism Resources Web site is a tremendous resource for any counselor seeking additional information concerning this topic.

The Mental Disorders: Symptoms & Treatment site (www.cmhc.com/sxlist.html) includes a large database of articles listing symptoms and general treatment guidelines. Publications are divided into three broad categories: adult, childhood and personality disorders. Some examples of topics are acute stress disorder, depression, autistic disorder, multiple personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and reading disorder. The site also contains a self-help questionnaire to determine if a person needs additional mental health assistance. In addition, it includes a list of hypertext links to other related locations.

The Internet Mental Health Home Page serves as free encyclopedia of mental health information (www.mentalhealth.com/main.html) covering a large number of mental problems. The goal of the site is to promote "improved understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illness throughout the world." The site includes a diagnosis of anxiety disorders, mood disorders, eating disorders, personality disorders, and substance use disorders. This outstanding site also maintains a listing of links to other mental health Web locations.

The Web also has a Depression Home Page (www.blarg.net/~charlatn/depression.html). This site contains a depression resource list and additional links. A Mood Scale provided there indicates a general level of depression. The depression support and information resources site provides a listing of organizations, a related newsgroup and a relay chat room (www.blarg.net/~charlatn/depression/resources.html).

In addition a suicide FAQ and awareness site can found on the Web (www.blarg.net/~charlatn/depression/resources.html/). It contains frequently asked questions concerning suicide awareness information.

Careers and Jobs

An excellent source of information related to careers and jobs can be found at the career and placement offices described in home pages of many universities. For example, Virginia Tech's Career Services Web Site (www.career.vt.edy/internet/webhead.html) includes data concerning jobs, graduate school resources, employer information, and relocation data.

In addition, the Employment Opportunities and Resume Postings Web site (http://galaxy.einet.net/GJ/employment.html) contains a list of links to at least 50 college and university web sites containing career and employment data. Individuals seeking employment in specific fields can also check web sites developed by commercial companies. Most major corporations include employment information on their web sites.

Large databases of job listings can also be found in the Web. For example Jobtrack (www.jobtrack.com/) provides job search tips, a searchable job database, information concerning graduate schools, and guidance in developing a resume. JobBank USA (www.jobbankusa.com/) specializes in providing employment and resume information to candidates and employers. The free service uses Jobs MetaSEARCH Site to access Internet's largest employment database.

America's Job Bank Site (www.ajb.dni.us/) is a very popular site for providing important employment information:

  • What are the fastest growing occupations?
  • What occupations are declining in employment
  • What occupations have the largest employment?

These and other questions are reviewed in the site. In addition, they provide help in using the Internet for job searching.

Substance Abuse

Alcohol and drug abuse precipitate major problems for school guidance counselors. The Web has excellent resources to assist counselors in addressing this critical issue.

The Drug-Free Home Page includes a section on signs and symptoms of specific substance abuses including alcohol, narcotics, marijuana, stimulants, hallucinogens, inhalants, hallucinogens, depressants and PCP (Angel Dust) (www.pasadena.com/drugfree/signs.htm). The site contains a comprehensive description of behavior characteristics associated with each substance abuse. A user can also search the drug and alcohol abuse database to find answers to specific questions. The data contained in this site would be extremely important to school counselors by preparing them to more effectively recognize students abusing substances so that they can be helped.

The Mental Health Net Web site has a section concerning alcohol and substance abuse (www.cmhc.com/guide/pro21.html). It contains a comprehensive listing of related hypertext links, newsgroups, mailing lists, publications, journals, research papers, and professional organizations and centers. This is an excellent location for school counselors to begin researching alcohol and drug abuse data on the Web. The wealth of data and links makes this site a very good launching pad for school counselors to find answers to related problems.

The University of Washington's Health Link Site has an excellent section on alcohol, smoking, and drug abuse (www.hslib.washington.edu/your_health/addiction.html). The site contains links to Al-Anon/AlaTeen, Prevention Primer, Smoking from All Sides, Web of Addictions, and You Can Quit Smoking.

The Prevention Primer (www.health.org/pubs/primer/index.htm) is an excellent reference tool for school counselors. It uses the public health approach to preventing alcohol, tobacco and other drug problems. The site includes a brief history of prevention efforts and an overview of key topics, issues, principles and successful approaches. The Primer includes a discussion of AIDS, binge drinking, cocaine use, heroin use, marijuana use, tobacco use and many additional topics. This Web site is another excellent location for obtaining valuable information concerning a wide variety of substance abuse topics.

Web of Addiction (www.well.com/user/woa/) was developed to provide accurate information about drug addictions. Created to produce a resource for teachers, students and others who need accurate information concerning drug and alcohol abuse, it contains a collection of fact sheets and other materials arranged by types of drugs. It also has information about meetings and conferences, links, and places to get help with addictions. The help section could be extremely valuable for school counselors.

The Join Together Online site (www.jointogether.org/) is a resource center and meeting place for communities to reduce the negative impact of illicit drugs. The site features a headline section, which covers current event items in the national news related to drug abuse. In addition, there is a searchable database, funding news, hot issues, community action news, and a who's who section. The features and headlines section offer a unique tool of particular interest to school counselors. By using this site, school counselors can quickly find current events-type information, which could prove to be extremely valuable in substance abuse projects.

If school counselors are interested in obtaining research concerning substance abuse, the CESAR Home Page is an excellent choice (www.bsos.umd.edu/cesar/aboutcsr.html). The Center for Substance Abuse at the University of Maryland is one of the largest databases of information on the nature and extent of substance abuse. CESAR provides a weekly overview of timely substance abuse topics, an electronic bulletin board, and a clearinghouse of substance abuse and related topics.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse Home Page (www.casacolumbia.org/) has highlights from current events, related publications, future events, and a media center with many resources. In addition, the site reviews substance abuse costs, impact, and prevention and treatment issues. Job opportunities and additional Internet resources are also described.

National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (www.health.org/) includes a PREVLINE (Prevention Online) Home Page. It contains publications, online forums, a conference calendar, resources and referrals, a searchable database, and research and statistics. It is an excellent source of the latest information related to substance abuse.

The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Recovery Program site (www.menninger.edu/tmc_gen_clnprg_alcdrg.html) describes the Menninger Recovery Program. In addition, the site includes articles on mental health, treatment information, prevention guidelines, and outpatient and inpatient services. For a school counselor, a review of a treatment facility can add additional, valuable information to the professional's database.

The last two sites are sponsored by the federal government. The SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (www.samhsa.gov/) includes a searchable database, funding opportunities, managed care initiatives, publications, reports and statistical data. It also has links to many federal mental health links. The mission of the site is to assure quality substance abuse and mental health services to the people that need them and to ensure that prevention and treatment is used effectively. The significant links in this home page are:

  • Center for Mental Health Services
  • Center for Substance Abuse Prevention
  • Center for Substance Abuse Treatment
  • National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Information
  • National Mental Health Services Knowledge Exchange Network

The other federal web site that is an excellent source of information about substance abuse is NIDA, National Institute on Drug Abuse (www.nida.gov/). It includes a searchable drug abuse database, information about drugs of abuse, upcoming events, funding data, international activities, links to NIDA organizational units, and links to other related web sites. This site would be extremely important to school counselors interested in obtaining the latest research findings or in seeking federal funds for a drug abuse program.

With the significant developments of the Information Super Highway, school counselors now have a superb tool for obtaining information for school counseling applications. Today, school counselors and guidance professionals need to have connectivity in their offices to make effective use of this new medium.

Robert A. Gray, Ed.D. is a professor in the Dept. of Audiovisual Communications & Technology at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. E-mail: [email protected].

This article originally appeared in the 09/01/1997 issue of THE Journal.