Tips for Working with Your High School Counselor for College Admissions

March 13, 2024
College Admissions

Navigating the college admissions process can feel like trekking through uncharted territory. Your high school counselor is your seasoned guide, ready to help you chart a course to your dream college. However, like any successful expedition, communication and teamwork are key. Here are three insider tips to maximize your partnership with your high school counselor and turn your college dreams into a reality.

1. Start Early and Be Proactive

Initiate the Conversation: Don’t wait for your counselor to reach out to you. Be proactive in scheduling your first meeting, preferably at the beginning of your junior year or even sooner. This gives you ample time to craft a comprehensive plan encompassing test schedules, college research, and application deadlines.

Prepare for Meetings: Come equipped with questions and topics you want to discuss. Do you need help determining which colleges fit your interests? Are you looking for advice on SAT or ACT preparation? Which colleges would they recommend based upon their experiences with students with a similar profile to yours? Being prepared shows your counselor you're serious about the process and enables them to provide targeted assistance.

2. Communicate Openly and Honestly

Share Your Ambitions and Fears: Your counselor can better support you when they fully understand your goals, preferences, and any concerns you might have about the college application process. Whether it's your dream school or the anxiety of writing a compelling personal statement, sharing these details can lead to valuable advice and reassurance.

Seek Feedback: Be open to receiving feedback on everything from your college essay drafts to your list of schools. Your counselor's experience means they can offer insights you may not have considered, enhancing the strength of your applications.

3. Utilize Their Expertise and Resources

Explore Resources Offered: High school counselors often have access to an array of resources, including insider information on how students do at individual colleges from their specific high school and an alumni network that can sometimes lead to internship opportunities. Make sure to inquire about these and take advantage of any opportunities or avenues for exploration they recommend.

Follow Through on Recommendations: If your counselor suggests certain courses to round out your transcript or extracurriculars to demonstrate your leadership and passion, take those recommendations to heart. Colleges look for well-rounded students, and your counselor's advice is aimed at helping you present yourself as one. Another benefit: if you take your counselor’s advice, you are much more likely to be able to count on them to be an advocate for you in the college admissions process.

Working effectively with your high school counselor for college admissions is a partnership. By starting early, communicating openly, and utilizing their expertise, you set the stage for a smoother college application process. Your counselor is there to help you succeed, but it’s up to you to engage and make the most of the resources at your disposal. It’s also up to you to develop a relationship that turns your counselor into a strong advocate in the college application process. Here’s to a fruitful collaboration and the bright college future that lies ahead!

Access free resources on the Discover+ platform from AtomicMind for internships, summer programs, and more “wow-factor” opportunities you can review with your school counselor and AtomicMind mentor.