Your high school is full of different roles - principals, teachers, administration and other professionals who work together to make the year function smoothly. While you may be familiar with these people, there’s a chance you’re overlooking one of your most important resources: your high school guidance counselor
Counselors have knowledge and contacts in a lot of places - they’re kind of like the jack-of-all-trade at your school. Here are some ways that your high school guidance counselor can help you. After all, that is why you have one.
- Conflict Resolution
If you’re having trouble or a conflict with someone - whether that be a teacher, friend, family member or someone else entirely - your guidance counselor might be able to help. A large part of their job is dealing with emotional and social issues that their students are dealing with.
Considering that counselors generally hold a degree in counseling, psychology, or a related field, they tend to have lots of experience and can help you work through any issues you may be facing.
- Resources for Families
School can be stressful for everyone, but it can feel impossible if your family is going through a hard time. Many counselors have resources that can help you and your family if you are having trouble with food or housing security.
Additionally, if a student finds themselves without secure housing, they may be assigned a counselor to be their homeless liaison to help them secure a place to stay, a bus pass, medication, school supplies, and other necessities. If you’re having a hard time, don’t hesitate to reach out to a counselor and see what they can do for you and your family.
- Local Job Openings
If you’re looking for a part-time job, consider asking your counselor. Depending on where you live, your counselor might know of multiple job openings for high schoolers in your area.
High School Academic Resources
- Grades and Credits
If there’s one thing we know about our counselors, it’s that they manage our grades and credits. If you find yourself struggling in a class, consider speaking to your counselor to see if they can help you find a way to fix the problem.
They could help you find extra help, transfer into a different class (depending on the time of year), or if worse comes to worse, they can help you figure out how to recover credits and stay on track to graduate on time.
- Virtual Schooling Help
COVID-19 has changed what our day-to-day lives look like, so it’s only natural that we would run into some bumps during the adjustment to virtual schooling. Your school might have a particular staff member whose job it is to oversee the technology side of things, but if it doesn’t, your counselor might be able to help you figure out some of the kinks.
- 504 Plans
504s are an amazing thing for qualifying students, and in the best circumstances, they will help you excel in school. Unfortunately, in less fortunate circumstances, you might find that your 504 plan isn’t being respected or isn’t adequately tailored to your needs. Part of your counselor’s job is to help you sort out issues with your accommodations, so make sure to ask if you sense there’s a problem.
College and Career Planning Resources
- Scholarships and Financial Aid
Having trouble getting a hang of the scholarship application process? Counselors tend to be knowledgeable about all kinds of scholarships and financial aid and can help you figure it out.
Many counselors have lists of scholarships you can apply for, both international and local. Your counselor can also help you with the FAFSA if you need it!
- College Applications
Applying to college is a complicated experience, but your counselors can help you better understand the steps involved. If you have any questions about applying - from the common and coalition applications to fee waivers - your counselors are the place to start.
They are well-versed in the world of college applications and can tell you how to best tailor your application. They can even help you on your search for the universities that will best fit you, your goals, and your personality.
- Career Decisions
If your senior year rolls around and you find that you have no idea what you plan to do after school, don’t panic. Lots of students are in the same boat as you, which is exactly why counselors are there to help you plan for your life post-graduation. Your counselor can help you identify what career you would be happiest in after high school.
Additionally, lots of counselors set up college and military visits throughout the school year so you can become more familiar with your options.
Major Takeaway: Never be afraid to reach out! Your counselors are there to help you and will do everything they can to get you on track. Building a relationship with your counselor can be beneficial in the long run, so start getting to know your counselors early.