Finding the right school or college is one of the most important decisions your student will make. When it’s time to apply to colleges, it makes good sense for families to take advantage of as many tools and resources available as possible. One resource that students often underutilize is their high school college counselor. High school counselors have information about college selection, admission tests, college preparation plus education and career options. They are one of the most important resources for student career counseling and college help. Here are a few ways to start utilizing your student’s high school counselor.
Develop a Relationship
Make sure your son or daughter gets to know their high school counselor and let him get to know your student in return. It’s a good idea for them to develop a rapport with the high school’s college counselor because they will be able to give your student information on schools that may be more tailored to their wants and needs. This will also help when your student is filling out college applications and the schools ask for a letter of recommendation. If your high school counselor knows your son or daughter, they will be able to write a better, more personal letter that colleges will value more. They may also be more willing to do extra work for them if they’ve developed a relationship.
Talk About Colleges & Careers
High school counselors help many students fill out applications, choose schools, narrow their choices down and apply for scholarships. They can provide your student with information and tests to determine potential majors they might enjoy or careers in which they might excel. High school counselors can also provide information about schools that may not be on your child’s radar, but could still be a good fit.
High school counselors have the 411 on whether your student should take the ACT, the SAT or both. They can also help with the sign-up process and offer advice about what types of test preparations are available. Sometimes they can even offer direction on how to strategize for the test in order to raise scores.
It may seem easy to students nowadays to just log onto the Internet and perform a Google search for scholarship information, but the reality is your son or daughter may not know where to look. Going to a high school college counselor can give them tips on where to research for scholarships. Sometimes they can even provide students with off-beat scholarship opportunities they would not be able to find on their own. Counselors are also able to determine a student’s chances for getting each scholarship and can advise which applications are most worth their time.
If your child is serious about a particular school, have them ask their counselor if there is anyone from admissions or financial aid they can talk to in order to increase their chances of getting in or receiving a scholarship. Sometimes knowing the right people can put your student ahead of the game. Believe it or not, high school counselors sometimes have an in with college officials that you may not know about.
It’s always a good idea for your student to take some time to see their high school’s college counselor for help. They shouldn’t be afraid to talk about their grades, test scores and goals with their counselor, that’s what they are there for. And the more they know about your student, the more they can help them reach their goals.
I discussed this topic with Zorina Matavulj, Woodside High School’s College and Career Advisor. Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.
Photo Credit: Joe Houghton