School Counseling Needs Assessment - The Helpful Counselor

Conducting a school counseling needs assessment is an imperative step in running a successful counseling program. I have written about how counselors should conduct a needs assessment at the beginning of the school year and I have also written about the importance of school counseling interns participating in the needs assessment as well. Now I’ll show you how I go about conducting my needs assessments.

While creating a needs assessment it’s important to keep in mind the following questions:

What do I want to know?

A comprehensive guidance curriculum is, well, comprehensive and you run the risk of overwhelming your staff if you survey them about every area counselors cover. If you can get administrative backing to perform a comprehensive assessment, then I say go for it. However, if you want helpful information in a timely manner you will need to narrow down the focus of your assessment.

I choose to assess social, emotional, and behavioral needs/concerns. When I was new to my district I conducted a school counseling program needs assessment, where I asked teachers to rate how well they knew the program, accessibility, etc.

How will the information be used?

Some counselors have less than 250 students on their caseload and some (like me) have more than 1,500. When teachers/staff are answering questions about the frequency of services, they (at least on some level) will want you to provide the services you presented.


If you ask what frequency you should hold parent information nights and you offer week, monthly, and quarterly as choices…the expectation will be that you will hold parent information nights at least quarterly.

My recommendation is to use the needs assessment to gauge the issues and concerns the teachers are experiencing in the classroom rather than on how your program is delivered.

I guess now it’s time for less telling and more showing…

Here is an image of the school counseling needs assessment I made on Google Drive using some of the examples on Dr. Sink’s professional school counseling website:

School Counseling Needs Assessment

So that’s how I plan on assessing the needs at my schools…Do you plan on conducting a needs assessment this year? Would love to here your thoughts in the comments below!

Want more content like this? Let me know what matters most to you below!

I try to keep my needs assessments short for those filling it out and to help me keep the data more manageable.

I would love to hear how you conduct your needs assessment or any questions you might have in the comments below!


  • Is there a way I can access this assessment so that I can use it in my schools?

    • Hello Heather-

      I wish there was a way I could share the electronic version, but there wouldn’t be anyway to separate our schools’ data. Creating a for on Google Drive is really easy.

      Go to Google Drive -> Create -> Form…the screen will walk you through how to set up your assessment.

      Hope that helps!

  • How did you get the “To what degree does our school….” to be a header?? Working on mine now. Thanks for getting my wheels turning!

    • You can add a text box right in the Google Doc. There is an icon you can select what type of question you are using…that’s where it will say “insert text”.

  • How did you get the “To what degree does our school….” to be a header?? Working on mine now. Thanks for getting my wheels turning!

  • Do you have a good parent needs assessment? I struggle with creating a new one every year and I haven’t found one that I really like yet!

    • I am working on one for the fall. I’ll be sure to blog about it. 🙂

  • Deborah

    Love it! I am in the process of making the assessment document.

  • chinelo obigwe

    so helpful. thank u so much

  • Julienne Rose Penaranda-Saball

    hi I am From the Philippines and a Registered Guidance Counselor, I would just like to know how often do you need to conduct a needs assessment in your school? Actually we just conducted a needs assessment survey in our school last school year and now, I am thinking do I have to conduct the same needs assessment again for this school year? Thank you, highly appreciate your reply…

    • Heather Thomas

      Hello Julienee!

      I conduct a needs assessment every year. This helps me identify trends and collect data. Since I use the information to drive my programing it’s important that I have a current understanding of the needs of my teachers and students.

      Best wishes,

      • Julienne Rose Penaranda-Saball

        Thank you so much for your response it helped me decide so I will also conduct another needs assessment this year. Have a nice day!

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