Working with Your High School Counselor for College Success

School counselors usually have access to information about your classes, your grades and, often, your extracurricular activities. That means they can help you see the big picture when it comes to planning for your future. It’s up to you, though, to make sure you get the college and career guidance you need.

Make an appointment to see a school counselor for the first time during freshman year. Try to build a relationship with him or her during your four years of high school and be sure to talk about your interests and goals when you meet. The more the school counselor knows about you, the more he or she can help you. Here are some of the many ways school counselors can aid you.

Academic Advising

When you meet, talk about your favorite subjects and classes and your plans for life after high school. Your school counselor can use this information to help you plan your high school class schedule.

Try to make appointments to see your counselor regularly so he or she can also make sure you're doing the following:

  • Taking all the classes you need to graduate on time
  • Taking the types of classes that most colleges look for
  • Getting the help you need if you’re having trouble in class
  • Taking classes and participating in activities that will challenge you

College Planning

A school counselor can steer you toward colleges that are right for you by recommending colleges that fit with your academic record and career goals. When it comes time to apply, your counselor plays a big role in the process.

Paying for College

The government, colleges and private organizations offer students money to help pay for college. Your school counselor is a good resource for information about this financial aid and can give you insight on how the process works. Be sure to ask about scholarships, which offer money you don’t have to pay back.

After you get into a college, your school counselor can help answer your questions about your financial aid package.

Career Planning

Your school’s counseling office can help with planning for your future in several ways. For example, some schools offer access to these resources:

  • Career coaches to guide students
  • Career fairs and job nights
  • Tests that reveal students’ strengths and interests — information that may help with career decisions

Exploring career areas that interest you can help you choose fitting colleges, majors and job paths. Your school counselor can let you know what kind of education or training the fields you're interested in require.


If you have a problem in your personal life, a school counselor can speak with you about it or tell you where you can get help. School counselors can talk about things like how to handle your parents getting divorced or what to do if you’re feeling depressed. You can also go to a school counselor if you are having a problem with another student. School counselors are trained to deal with everything from bullying to drug and alcohol abuse.