Your high school guidance counselor is an important person for you to get to know, and so as early as possible it’s a good idea to establish a great relationship with the person. Let’s discuss some of the main reasons why:
They help you choose your classes wisely
Your counselor knows the teachers and curriculum at your high school, so they can help you choose a load that is challenging but not overwhelming. This class load is really important, so share with them your current GPA and your college goals, so they know how best to advise you. No one is better positioned than your counselor to give you this advice.
They can help you if you have trouble with a teacher
Once in a while it happens that you may clash with a teacher. Do everything in your power to avoid or squelch this, but if it happens, it is often very helpful to discuss it honestly with your counselor. Be ready to admit any mistakes and ask honestly for advice on areas where you can improve. Because your counselor knows the teachers, he/she will be able to give you some great suggestions on how best to deal with these common human foibles.
They write your college recommendation letter
You are required to send three letters of recommendation with your college application and your high school counselor writes one of them. This letter is mandatory. You can choose your two teachers from Junior year, but the third letter must come from your counselor. It goes without saying that the better they know you, and the more they like you, the better the letter. Keep your parents away from this person, and work on building a great professional relationship with them yourself.
They know a lot about colleges
The better they know you, the better able they are to suggest colleges where you would be happy and successful. Spend some time discussing your learning style and college list with your counselor because they will be able to make sure you design a wise, balanced college list. All of those horror stories you hear about kids being rejected from every single school–it’s for sure that those few, rare kids did not ask their wise counselor for his/her input on their list of colleges.
They can help you with your college applications
College applications can be really tricky, but your counselor has done them a million times, so be sure to go to every college night event and college application work party your counselor hosts. Do your applications yourself (again, keep your parents out of that) and ask your counselor whenever anything is unclear. You can also post questions in the Forum on CollegeMapper and I will answer them to help save the counselors some time.
They can point you toward all sorts of great resources
Counselors know cool things. They spend A LOT of time going to conferences and reading daily list serve emails the length of the average giraffe. It might seem dull to you (and even to us on occasion) but your counselor learns about cool summer programs, cool new majors, and new application pitfalls and solutions every day. Be sure to tap into this wealth of neat-o information!
They can help you decide which college you should attend
At the end of the day, when all of your acceptance letters are in, your counselor is a great person to play the “where should I go” game with. Your counselor has worked with hundreds or even thousands of students across many years, so he/she knows what kinds of kids are happiest and most successful at which schools. This is an EXCELLENT resource for you when you are trying to decide between two great schools. Plus, this is super fun for your counselor, so go have a chat and, as always, be sure to stay in touch after graduation!