You’ve got a deep bench supporting you as you apply to colleges, helping you take the next big step in your education. But did you know your school guidance counselor can be your MVP? Your counselor is one of your best resources when preparing for and applying to college. Why not make the most out of your counselor meetings? We’ve gathered to-do items, questions to ask, and topics to discuss so that you can utilize these meetings to the max.
Academic Prep for College
It’s best to start your academic prep for college as early as possible. In your junior year, or early fall semester of your senior year, make an appointment with your counselor to review your transcript. Find out what classes, if any, qualify for college credit and ask how you can strengthen your GPA for college applications.
Come with your résumé and have your counselor review and help revise it to make you stand out in your college apps. What is your résumé lacking? Your counselor can give guidance as to what extracurriculars you can engage in or classes to enroll in to boost your résumé appeal.
Lastly, check in with your counselor about SAT/ACT dates and locations. Your counselor can remind you of important dates and deadlines. They will also know where you can take those standardized tests and can give you pro tips for nailing the tests.
You know you’re a big fan of world history and exploding science projects — but how does that translate into finding out what kind of career you’d like? Your counselor can help you review and discuss your interests, academic strengths, and goals to identify potential career paths.
Once you have clarity on careers you may enjoy, you’ll have an easier time finding majors and colleges to fit you perfectly. Ask your counselor if they know any recent grads studying the same majors to whom you could reach out. Get your information straight from the source!
College Selection & Application Guidance
You know yourself best, so come with a list of colleges you’re interested in! However, your counselor may have some insight on specific requirements, quality majors, or troublesome issues regarding your college list.
Based on your interests and academics, ask your counselor which colleges are right for you — then compare his or her list to your own. Make sure to ask whether your high school will be hosting any college fairs. As you did when researching your career path, ask your counselor to help you reach out to other recent grads attending schools on your list.
Your counselor also knows a thing or two about college applications! Come with some rough drafts of college applications and ask all your questions: What are good topics for college essays? What can I do to make my application stand out? What GPA do I need to get into my dream school?
Lastly, your counselor can write one of your recommendation letters for your college applications. Ask if they’d be willing to write you a recommendation letter, find out their availability, and see what guidance you can provide so they can really personalize your letter.
Scholarships & Financial Aid
When you’re applying to colleges, you should be applying for as many funding opportunities as possible. Your counselor can give you the inside scoop on any local scholarships, alumni scholarships, or any additional alternative funding. Is FASFA a complete mystery? Don’t know heads from tails about student loans? Ask your counselor to explain the difference between scholarships, financial aid, and student loans, so you can wisely cover your college expenses.