The Ultimate School Counseling Hack

ChatGPT for School Counselors

How School Counselors Can Use ChatGPT to Enhance Their Comprehensive School Counseling Programs

As schools continue to evolve and adapt to new challenges, one thing remains constant: the importance of providing comprehensive counseling services to support student well-being and success. However, traditional counseling approaches can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, making it difficult for schools to provide the level of support that students need. That’s where ChatGPT comes in. As a powerful language model, ChatGPT has the potential to revolutionize school counseling, providing students with a more accessible and efficient way to access the support they need. In this blog post, we’ll explore how ChatGPT can be used in a comprehensive school counseling program to support student mental health, academic success, and overall well-being.

Amazing and Scary

ChatGPT and large language model AI has been all the rage, all over the news and is honestly quite remarkable. In fact – that first paragraph you just read through was written completely by ChatGPT based on a one sentence prompt.

Using ChatGPT to write a school counseling blog introduction paragraph

An analogy I consider when I think about tools like ChatGPT (or Google’s Bard or Microsoft’s Bing Chat) is it is kinda like Niagra Falls. On one hand – it is a beautiful, powerful and awe inspiring creation that has the potential to revolutionize many areas of our world, our interactions with it and our future generations. On the other hand – it is also capable of immense danger and harm with potentially uncontrollable impact if not treated with respect, care and a level of caution.

ChatGPT (and all language model AI) are in their true infancy at the time of this writing. ChatGPT was released by OpenAI only in November of 2022 and look at how far it has ALREADY come in less than 6 months. It is really mind boggling.

Last night – a colleague shared a TED Talk given by Sal Khan, of the ubiquitous Khan Academy, at TED 2023 that took place in April 2023. The video highlights some of the features of their own beta version adaptations to an education focused Chatbot they are calling Khanmigo. He also talks about some of the big questions around the pros/cons of ChatGPT and some of the opportunities and fears people have around it. I encourage you to take a watch via the link below and come back to this blog post.

Let that sink in for a bit. I do believe that we are witnessing and experiencing a defining moment that people will look back (not even just in education) for many years. Imagine being some of the first with indoor plumbing, a home computer, a cell phone or electricity. It may be a little like that.

There is a ton of writing and resources out there to read up on the ethics of ChatGPT, societal opportunities or dangers and more. However, you’re here to learn how we can start to use some of the very powerful tools and resources that we now have at our fingertips within our comprehensive school counseling programs. So let’s dive into a few examples of ways you can start doing that today (just know the opportunities are constantly evolving, improving and are quite literally endless).

Programmatic Supports

The Ultimate School Counseling Hack: ChatGPT For School Counselors 1 on The Counseling Geek

1. Save time drafting emails or documents

One of the first things I tried when I got ChatGPT access was to have it write a funny rap song about my administrator. But after that – I asked it to draft a letter of recommendation on behalf of a senior with a few details about that student. As a high school counselor, currently with 11th and 12th grade students on my caseload, I write a good number of recommendation letters each fall. This is time consuming, often feels somewhat repetative, but really does help students pursue their post-secondary dreams (and the means to afford that).

The prompt I used was: “Draft a letter of recommendation for a scholarship program on behalf of one of my students name John who is in my AV Club, has played boys basketball for the last 3 years, is part of our Link Crew program, works in retail on the weekends and will be attending Sonoma State University to study Psychology in the fall.”

That took about 1 minute to write into ChatGPT and the below image is what I got back.

ChatGPT being used to draft a personalized letter of recommendation template that school counselors can use in their program.

Pretty decent for an AI created letter. It does sound a little clinical, probably needs some more personalization and details added, but it created an individualized template that can be modified for the student instead of having to type the entire document yourself.

This tool and feature can also be tapped to draft emails, phone messages, announcements, and even video scripts. We did a ChatGPT scripted video about school counselors. You can check it out below (we read the script 1 time total and then did 1 take).

The Ultimate School Counseling Hack: ChatGPT For School Counselors 2 on The Counseling Geek

2. Develop Curriculum

Another great tool that ChatGPT provides is it can create things to support your curriculum and programming. One example that I have used is I am working on writing a small group curriculum for Young Men (which I hope to be able to publish in the future). I had a few ideas for names, but I went ahead and asked ChatGPT for some suggestions.

ChatGPT created group names for young men's group curriculum

Another great way to use ChatGPT to help you develop curriculum or lessons is to help you create activites, icebreakers, discussion topics, or circle questions.

In some of the images to the left – you can see that I asked it to create 5 circle questions geared towards middle school students about respect. I also asked it to create an empathy building small group activity for 9th grade students and it came up with a pretty decent “Perspective Swap” activity you could integrate into a small group curriculum or classroom lesson.

I also asked it to create an icebreaker for 2nd grade students. The first one you will see was the feared two truths and one lie activity. While this can be fun – it also can be controversial and most people steer away from it in schools and counseling. So you do need to be the wise, educated and experienced brain in this process and know that it isn’t 100% right and may not be totally the best fit on suggestions. That is where the option to regenerate response option and it will take the same input and come up with another option. In this case – it suggested the “Hot Potato” activity.

The other thing you may need to do or think about is adding specific qualifiers to your prompts. If you said “make a group activity” – it will create a potentially very different response than if you said “make a group activity that can be completed in 5 minutes or less and involves practicing constructive feedback”. 


Academic Supports

1. Ask for Feedback on your Writing

I will preface and say that this is one area of ChatGPT that probably has still some work to develop into an even more useful tool (Khanmigo is working on this exact thing), but even in it’s current state – it can review an essay or writing piece and suggest some areas for growth or improvement. I grabbed an essay of the web that says it has some errors included that teachers use to teach feedback and plugged it in and the results were okay. While it did not dive into some of the more nuanced feedback elements, it did pick up on most of the places the instructor was spending time giving feedback on this writing prompt.

2. Help Students Set Up a Study Schedule

Another way that ChatGPT can help school counselors when working with students in the Academic domain is to help setup study plans or schedules. Now this won’t really work for in-house courses as it won’t have access to teacher syllabi or coursework progression, but I did ask it to help me set up a study schedule for the AP Calculus AB course between January 2024 and May 2024 and it broke it down by week and subject of focus for that week. It was pretty helpful and I bet you could get more detailed information as the AP Calculus national syllabi are available on the internet for ChatGPT to pull from.

3. Create quiz questions to check student understanding

Finally, another tool students or school counselors can use to help firm up their academics is to create quiz questions to check for understanding. I asked it to give me an AP Bio quiz question and it gave me a multiple choice question and checked my answer. I asked another question and the question was great, but when I entered my answer – it didn’t know I was answering the previous question that time. So this is still a little unrefined, but can still be useful.

Social/Emotional Supports

1. Help Create Calming Routines and Supports

Using ChatGPT can help students who may be struggling (though probably not in full on crisis) with some mental health or social emotional regulation problems. For example, I asked ChatGPT if “it can help me with an anxiety attack” and it provided some solid suggestions including reaching out to trusted peers or adults. 

I also asked it to guide me through a progressive muscle relaxation and it gave me a succinct but good program to guide me through my body scan. Students could use this on their own or school counselor can use this as part of a classroom lesson or in an individual session with a student having trouble regulating. Cool right?!?

1. Assist Students in Finding Potential Words to Say

Sometimes students find themselves at a loss for words. I plugged in something that my high school students sometimes run into – the “my girlfriend is mad at me because I didn’t respond to her texts” conundrum. The suggestions it came up with were all solid and things students could use to help diffuse that relational minefield.

College & Career Supports

1. Create College Lists

ChatGPT can be useful in the CCR domain for many things. First is doing research into colleges that may fit certain criteria that a student is interested in. For example, I asked it first to list colleges in 3 states that offer a Dungeons and Dragons club (note that I also asked it to include schools that have business and marketing, but it didn’t mention if it included both criteria or just the D&D club on the list). I also asked it to list schools in Oregon that offer a Division 3 Men’s Soccer team and it did a good job with some additional descriptions of each team. In my testing – this can be pretty powerful to help narrow down lists for students that have some specific things they are looking for that fall outside the typical items you may see on a SCOIR, Naviance or other college search tool.

2. Personal Statement Feedback

Similar to the academic area of providing feedback on essays – it also can provide some feedback on things like Personal Statements. It actually found some pretty good suggestions to improve clarity, understanding and improve the overall quality of the personal statement sample I plugged in.

3. Career Investigation and Info

Sometimes looking into careers can be hard because of either how broad a career field is (like business) or because of how a career field is typically broken into much more specific areas of study (like engineering) and people are almost never “just an engineer”. I asked ChatGPT to give me some suggestions of careers I may want to explore if I think may be interested in engineering and it provided suggestions like Data Science, Architecture, etc. with some good reasons why.

So is ChatGPT and AI the future?

Only time will tell…but it’s looking promising

The truth is that AI and ChatGPT models have really only been available to the public for 6 months at the time of this writing and already there are so many ways to potentially apply the deep machine learning AI. This technology will bridge industries and likely make waves from customer service centers to the classroom and beyond. Sal Khan laid out two camps on the AI verdict and I think I fall in the optimistic side of the coin that sees the immense benefits these tools can bring to us. There are a few slight tinges of the “will it replace us” feelings, but we humans and school counselors have a big piece that AI can never truly replicate – and that is empathy. So as school counselors are the empathy masters – we should be pretty safe.

So what do you think? Have you tried ChatGPT yet (for fun or for professional reasons)? Did you get back what you expected or did it not work so well? Did you have any other use examples that you can share with your colleagues reading this article? Please leave a comment to let the learning and examples continue!


We may be experiencing one the greatest shifts and technological enhancements to date if this tool hits mainstream and is implemented in ways people are predicting. I do believe that this will enhance our ability to work with students and how students engage with learning.

That….or it may end up taking over the world and triggering an apocalypse. We’ll see.

Sidenote and Update:

So…it’s been a while since my last post. I blog to learn, challenge myself and to hopefully share some of the things I have learned along the way. I don’t blog to hit a post goal, drive traffic to ads, etc. So I haven’t posted in over a year now and that is primarily because I am a busy dad to 3 boys. My youngest son was born in 2022 so the Ream household is busy and my energy has been spent trying to keep up! I hope to start getting back into posting more regularly, but as boys grow so do their energy! Thanks for reading and we’ll see you next time!


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