Ways Your High School Counselor Can Help with College Prep

High school counselors receive an abundance of materials to assist students in the college application process. Scholarship opportunities, volunteer options, and student aid information are just a few of the pieces of a never ending flow of paperwork. Developing a relationship with your student’s counselor is a great way to learn more about the college process, especially if you have not been through it before. They can steer you in the right direction, point out ideas that aren’t worth the time and effort, and even save you money.

Help Choosing Which Courses Your Student Should Take: A counselor knows what will look good on a college resume, but also understands if it will be a good fit for your student. Sure, AP Physics looks great, but if your child struggles with science to begin with a low grade in a high level course isn’t going to do them any favors. They may also be able to recommend tutoring options to help your child excel in the classes they are taking and to boost a grade if they are struggling.

Recommend Colleges: Most high school counselors are in touch with admissions representatives from a variety of colleges. They can recommend schools based on what field your student is interested in studying by choosing colleges that specialize in these topics. They will also be able to match up sports and other extracurricular activities and values that coincide with particular colleges.

Scholarship Applications: Having your student fall in love with a college only to learn they will not be able to attend due to high tuition is disheartening for everyone.  Scholarships are a great way to help families afford the high costs of college tuition and there are scholarships to cover many different skill sets including sports, organizations, test scores and more. Your counselor can help steer you to a scholarship that you may not have even known existed.

Recommendation Letters: Many colleges request a letter of recommendation for admission that exemplifies your student’s strengths, personality and abilities. The better the school counselor knows your student the better their ability to write an honest and positive letter of recommendation. It is difficult to recommend someone you don’t know, and a counselor may refuse to write a letter for a student they are unfamiliar with. This is something students who attend larger high schools especially need to look out for.

Make sure you and your child take advantage of the services a high school counselor has to offer. They are a big part of the college application system and can offer a lot of insight into the process. They may have volunteer ideas to add to a college application such as fundraising by selling high school apparel, as well as scholarship information to save a ton of money. Seek out their services, they are there to help!

Choosing a College Major

Choosing a college major is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make over the course of your life. It will shape your career and future. Before you know it you’ll be thrust from sitting in your last high school science class wearing one of your favorite high school t shirts to sitting in a huge lecture hall surrounded by unfamiliar faces. But don’t worry! You will meet new people and make long lasting friendships over these next few years.

First, don’t feel bad if you aren’t entirely sure of what you want to do with the rest of your life. At age 18 that is perfectly normal. There is the option to explore some different subjects your first semester. Take classes from zoology to finance and everything in between. Don’t pressure yourself to immediately know what you want your future career to be.

Ask questions. If there is a particular subject you are interested in majoring in, ask the school counselors and representatives about the program offered. Find out if the school you are attending specializes in that degree, and if you will get the certification you need to pursue that career after graduation. You don’t want to get to senior year only to find the credits you’ve earned won’t get you into the field you desire.

Try and find your passion. You’ve probably heard this a thousand times, but take it to heart. You will possibly be doing this job for the rest of your life, you want to love it! We know that being a professional ice cream eater is not an option, and you need to be able to pay the bills after graduation, but maybe you could be a pastry chef! Try and spin some of your hobbies into an actual career. Love animals? Maybe veterinary school is right for you.

Your passions might change. It happens, you are in your second year of college and begin to wonder, what am I doing here? Don’t panic. A lot of the credits you’ve already earned will go towards another degree. But keep the finances in mind; spending an extra year in college would be really hard on the budget. College is expensive!

Overall, choosing your college major is something that deserves a lot of thought. Write out your interests, create pros and cons lists, do your research, and be true to yourself. If you do that, the rest will fall into place.