Tips for Working with Your Guidance Counselor in the Fall

Most guidance counselors are passionate about helping their students to achieve their college dreams—yet students often aren’t sure how they can help. Here’s a quick primer on getting support from your guidance counselor as you plan for college.

·      Make an appointment. Politely ask your guidance counselor when you can meet with them to help you plan for college.

·      Plan classes. Your guidance counselor can advise you on what classes to take to get into college. Hint: It’s not just about getting the highest GPA. They’ll want you to take challenging courses, both to demonstrate your aptitude to admissions counselors and to prepare you for college classes ahead.

·      Ask for advice on schools to apply to. Talk with your guidance counselor about your goals and aspirations, and ask their advice on which schools to apply to. Ask them to elaborate on why these schools seem like a good fit for you.

·      Assess the competition. Your counselor can help you determine just how tough it is to get into each school.

·      Be thick skinned. Seek their input on areas where you can improve upon. Let them know they can be honest with you and that you are looking for constructive criticism.

·      Have an honest conversation. Let them know about questions or concerns you have. Guidance counselors are keen on helping students overcome challenges to going to college. Don’t be shy about telling them what’s holding you back. They’re likely to have heard it all, from financial worries to dealing with disabilities on campus.

·      Consider additional preparation. Inquire about college prep courses and experiences that may be right for you. For example, community college classes or summer programs on college campuses may be a good way to prepare to get into your university of choice.

·      Build connections. Your guidance counselor may be able to connect you with students who are currently attending schools that you’re considering attending. This is a great way to learn firsthand about the pros and cons of each school.

·      Be respectful. Guidance counselors are extremely busy so be considerate of their time. Show up for your appointment on time, and drop off a handwritten note to your counselor after the meeting.