Why You Should Visit Your School Counselor (Early College Prep)
The world beyond high school is full of endless possibilities, and choosing which path you take requires you to think deeply about your individual interests, personality, and goals. As you get closer to graduation, it can be easy to feel isolated and weighed down by every decision you make. It’s your future, so that means it’s all your own responsibility, right?
Not quite. In fact, your high school school counselor is there specifically to help you along the way!
If you’re planning on going to college after high school, a visit to your school counselor’s office can make a huge impact on how to look for, apply to, and impress your prospective colleges. The earlier you make your way to your counselor’s office, the clearer your path will be toward graduation and beyond!
Today’s Schedule for Tomorrow’s Success
How you spend your time during high school plays a big part in how colleges judge your initiative. Your counselor can help you select which courses and extracurricular activities will best help you meet your graduation requirements, look good on your résumé and, of course, keep you interested and passionate through high school!
Academic advisors are well versed in not only your high school’s schedule and graduation requirements, but also the more rigorous courses that certain colleges are looking for—advanced sciences and foreign languages, for example, really shine on an application. Through strategic planning with their advisors, many students are able to exceed requirements and graduate with honors and/or a high class ranking. And with an idea of your interests and the environments in which you thrive, your advisor can help you find clubs you’ll like and fit them in your schedule. Opinions from your school counselor can help mold you into an attractive applicant and a well-rounded individual.
Letters of Approval
High school counselors can help you obtain letters of recommendation from your teachers and other faculty members. And if you’ve been working with them one-on-one, they’d be a perfect reference themselves! Your interaction with them early on will help them note what sets you apart from other college applicants; it will allow them to vouch for your character and the qualities you possess beyond academics, athletics, and extracurriculars. A glowing recommendation from a school counselor can be just the thing to tip an otherwise borderline application over the edge and into acceptance at some colleges. If a professional in education thinks highly of you, that’s sure to carry a lot of weight with admissions officers.
Knowing how to apply to college is a brand new process for you, but for school counselors, it’s literally their job! Your counselor’s professional background is one of the most valuable resources you can have—whether you’re looking to draft a list of the schools you are interested in, fill out enrollment forms, or get a second opinion on your admissions essays, they are there to help at absolutely no cost to you.
Based on your own personal strengths and weaknesses, they can help you set realistic, attainable goals and make sure you don’t over- or underestimate your potential. They can also help you prepare for standardized tests like the ACT and SAT and confirm the range of scores that would get your best chance at admission. And because they’ve worked with so many students who have had so many different outcomes, they can even introduce you to colleges you may not have considered but are nevertheless perfect for your individual goals.
The Right Price (and the Right Timing!)
With college applications comes a confusing swarm of financial aid options, roadblocks, and forms, so it’s always best to get help from someone who can give it. Ask your school counselor for help as you fill out and navigate the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)! It’s in your best interest to take advantage of the experience and knowledge they have to offer. Beyond answering your questions about financial aid, they can make you aware of any deadlines you need to keep in mind and even review your applications before entry.
Beyond FAFSA, your school counselor is fully equipped to show you the kinds of scholarships that would be best for you to pursue. With an understanding of your specific needs, interests, and extracurricular activities, your advisor can direct you to highly specific scholarships as well as the broad, popular ones that you would be a good candidate for. They’re also likely to know about local scholarships that you might not have heard of otherwise.
Clear guidance from your counselor can reduce the stress that comes with college applications. And it shows—this boost of confidence will reflect in your application itself, translating into an organized, polished presentation of you as a great candidate.
You can rest a bit more easily when you have a professional on your side. Your high school school counselor can encourage you every step of the way and reassure you of any seemingly daunting decisions. They are there to help introduce you to admissions officers and other professionals suited for your goals, keep an eye on deadlines, and make sure all of your transcripts are submitted correctly.
It’s more than worthwhile to make the extra effort and utilize your high school school counselor as early as you can. You’re bound to have questions—where to begin, which direction to take, how to move forward—so always know that you can meet with a professional who is right down the hall. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by paying your school counselor a visit!
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