How to Make the Most of Your School Counselor Meetings

Tyson Schritter / Colleges of Distinction »

You’ve got a deep bench of support to help you apply to colleges and take the next big step in your education, but did you that know your school counselor can be your MVP? Your counselor can be one of your best resources when preparing for college, so why not make the most of all they have to offer? We’ve gathered to-do items, questions to ask, and topics to discuss so that you can use your meetings to the max.

Academic Prep for College

It’s best to start your academic prep for college as early as possible, so make it a priority in your junior year (or in the early fall semester of your senior year) to meet with your counselor and review your transcript. Find out what classes, if any, qualify for college credit, and ask how you can strengthen your GPA for your college applications.

For your scheduled appointment, bring your résumé and have your counselor look it over to review and revise. What is your résumé lacking? How can you get it to help you stand out? Your counselor can give guidance as to what extracurriculars or classes you can engage in to boost your résumé appeal.

Lastly, check with your counselor about SAT/ACT dates and locations. Your counselor can remind you of important dates, deadlines, and test-taking locations. And, not only can they help tell you where to go for the texts, but they can also tell you how to prepare for them. With years of experience, counselors are full of pro tips to help you nail these pivotal exams.

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Career Guidance

You may know that you’re a big fan of world history and exploding science projects, but how does that actually 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 the career paths that may be right for you.

Once you start to clarify what careers you may enjoy, you’ll have an easier time deciding your major and finding potential colleges that fit you perfectly. You can even ask your counselor to get you in touch with any high school grads whom they know are studying the majors you’re interested in. By reaching out to current college students, you can get your information straight from the source!

College Selection & Application Guidance

You know yourself best, so come to your counselor with a list of colleges you’re already interested in! With this prepared, your counselor can provide insight on the schools’ specific requirements, quality majors, or even challenges you might face while applying to them.

Ask your counselor to weigh your interests and academics to compile a list of college he or she thinks is right for you. This will give you a chance to compare your wishes with the more objective consideration of your performance and lifestyle. Additionally, make sure to ask whether your high school will be hosting any college fairs so that you can hear from representatives of the schools themselves!

It’s your counselor’s job to know a thing or two about college applications! Bring them some rough drafts of your college applications and ask them 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 be most directly involved in your application by writing one of your recommendation letters. Ask them whether 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 applying to colleges, you should also apply 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 that you can wisely cover your college expenses. With your counselor’s help, you can look forward to a truly rewarding college experience.