Top Ten Questions to Ask Your School Counselor

Chris Diehl

March 10, 2009

Top Ten Questions to Ask Your School Counselor
Check out the top ten questions to ask your school counselor.
<p>Your guidance counselor is your ally in the college search process. Ask your counselor some of the questions on this list and you'll be amazed at what they can offer you.

1. What classes should I take?
This question can encompass several things, including whether to take AP courses, what classes colleges want to see on a transcript, what electives it would be useful for you to take and recommendations of what college-level courses are available.

2. What standardized test should I take and when is it?
Your counselor can tell you whether it's better to take the SAT or the ACT or both. Other important questions to ask: How do I sign up for the test? When is it? Where will the test be given? How much will it cost?

3. What can I do now to plan for college?
Your counselor can advise you on what sort of degree you should pursue, give you a timeline on when to start thinking about college and show you how to start educating yourself on college options.

4. Are there any college fairs being given at our school?

The college fair is a great opportunity to see what colleges have to offer, even if graduation is still a couple of years away.

5. How can I start building my college resume (and also have fun)?
As a sophomore or junior, you're in a great position to take leadership positions in any activities you're involved in or find out about other cool and fun extracurricular activities you can participate in and have fun with.

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6. I’m not ready to commit to anything, but could you tell me about what kind of jobs and careers are out there?
Hey, you have a long time before you even have to find a "real world" job, let alone settle on a career. But your counselor might be able to suggest some career or job possibilities, if they know what you're interested in. You never know-they might be able to recommend some cool opportunities to learn more about what you're interested in.

7. Do you know about any good scholarships or financial aid?
Many counselor offices know about community scholarships or other resources to look for scholarships and financial aid (like Fastweb!) that you can apply for now, and stow away for when you end up going to college in a year or two. It also might not hurt to ask about options for financing college.

8. What do I need to do for you to give me a recommendation when I am ready to graduate?
Your counselor could answer this question in a couple of ways. They might tell you what activities to participate in, or they may simply tell you to come in more often so they can get to know you. Either way, your counselor could be a great opportunity for a letter of recommendation for senior year, if you build the relationship now.

9. Can we go over my transcript?
Reviewing your transcript with your counselor gives you a few opportunities. First, it can show whether any mistakes have been made (for example, maybe you received a B minus when it should have been a B). Second, and maybe more importantly, your counselor can take a look at the courses you've taken and advise whether you're missing any required courses that colleges want you to take.

10. Do you keep in touch with any of your former students?
If the answer is yes, this is your opportunity to network a little bit. If a former student is attending a college you have an interest in, ask whether you might be able to contact that person and ask how things are going.

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