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!