How to Work with Your High School Counselor for College Success

High school counselors 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 planning for your future. It's up to you to make sure you obtain the college and career guidance you need.

Make an appointment to see a school counselor during your first year of high school. Build a relationship with them throughout your time there. Be sure to talk about your interests and goals when you meet. The more the school counselor knows about you, the more they can help you.

Here are some ways high school counselors can assist 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 class schedule.

Make appointments to see your school counselor regularly so that they can make sure you’re:

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

College Planning

A school counselor can steer you toward colleges that are right for you by recommending colleges that fit your academic record and career goals. When it comes time to apply, your high school counselor plays a big role in the process. Among other things, they can assist you with letters of recommendation and give you tips to prepare yourself for college admission tests.

Paying for College

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

After you’re accepted at a college, your school counselor can answer your questions about your financial aid package.

Career Planning

Your school's counseling office has resources to help you plan for your future. Some schools offer access to:

  • Career coaches to guide students.
  • Career fairs and job nights.
  • Tests that reveal students' strengths and interests (useful information for career decisions).

Exploring career areas that interest you makes it easier to choose colleges, majors, and job paths that are the most suitable for you. Your school counselor can let you know what kind of education or training you need for the fields that appeal to you.

Counseling for Life's Problems

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