Most schools have a counseling or guidance department, whose primary goal is to guide students through the adversities and joys that come with high school careers.
The more often you interact with your school counselor, the more advice and assistance they will be able to give you. You can discuss the pros and cons of the classes you are taking. You can talk about whether your extracurriculars are helping you develop a unique passion and whether they are creating stress by adding too much on your plate. You can converse on improving your study habits or what your plans are after graduating high school. The rule of thumb is to keep them updated on the academic and extracurricular aspects of your life.
Allowing your school counselor to get to know you will come in handy especially when a student is looking to apply to college. During the college application process, seeking assistance and advice from your school counselor can make a world of difference.
Here’s what your school counselor can do for you:
1. List of Colleges
Determining a place to spend the next couple of years of your life can be overwhelming. But if your school counselor knows you well enough in terms of your academic strengths and weaknesses and your overall personality, they will be able to point out universities that you may have not heard of before.
And, if your school counselor knows your priorities when it comes to the characteristics of a college, they can help you narrow down the list and help you decide which university
2. Recommendation Letters
Students can also choose to have their counselors write them recommendation letters - and having someone that has known you throughout high school is a trait that strong recommenders have.
Keep in mind that you are probably not the only student your counselor assists. Meaning that they are going to accept every single request for a recommendation letter - they will only be comfortable enough to write you a letter if they believe they know you well enough.
3. Finding Scholarships
Paying for college can be extremely expensive. But your school counselor is there for you when it comes to making the price more affordable. They can point out loans and grants that you may not have known off. Your counselor can also match you up with merit and need-based scholarships.
4. Proofreading College Essays
Proofreading your college essays should be on your to-do list before submitting your application. When the time comes, you can have your school counselor proofread your essays and suggest some edits.
Having someone that has known you throughout your high school career ensures that you are being authentic in your writing. Afterall, you want to portray your unique personalities and interests to your admissions officer - not sound like a completely different person.
5. College Visits
College visits can help you get a feel of the college campus. Your counselor could help you arrange college visits and get you an inside look at college life through either alumni or a staff member who works at the college.
School counselors in many ways tie the school community together - by collaborating and exchanging feedback from the student body, parents, and the school administration.
If you are fortunate enough to have a school counselor, understand that they are here to help you and don’t be afraid to reach out!