What To Expect From Your High School Guidance Counselor

When I was in high school, I noticed that some of my classmates spent more time in their guidance counselor’s office then in the classroom, and some didn’t even know their counselor’s names.

This confused me, being a student in that middle ground, because I didn’t know which extreme was correct. Was I supposed to be asking my counselor more questions than I was, or would asking questions make me an unprepared senior?

It wasn’t until I got to college that I realized what I could’ve done on my own, and what I should’ve asked for help with.

Here’s what I learned:

Don’t be broad: It’s important that your guidance counselor really knows you. I don’t mean just your name and your grades, but I mean really knows you – who you are, what you like, what you’re good at, etc. I made the mistake of being too broad with my counselor. I never really told her my problems, fears about college, or expectations. The consequence is that she had little advice to give me about what colleges to look at or suggestions on what major to have.

Ask about independent studiesWho knew that independent studies existed in high school? I didn’t. Independent studies are kind of like college internships. If you’re really into writing, art, or music, you can arrange an independent study in an area to count as a class. It’s a great thing to put on your college application, and it could be something enjoyable to replace those pointless senior study halls.

Talk about money: In high school, you don’t quite have a grasp on how expensive college really is. When I was looking at colleges, I knew that I would be paying my tuition on my own, yet I still was naive and thought…I’ll just get a loan. It’s important to really discuss your money situation with your guidance counselor so they can give you options like scholarships, financial aid, community college, or state universities.

Don’t be attached to a stigma: In my high school, students were either a part of the “smart kid,” group or the “struggling” one. I had friends in both categories and from their stories, counselors either left them on their own thinking that they can handle it, or just tried to get them into any college. Make sure that your counselor knows all your criteria for college, gives you suggestions and goes through specific colleges step by step.

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Lisa Manente

Lisa Manente

Lisa Manente is a senior at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT. She will be graduating with the BA in Media Studies and Communications in May. Editing the Entertainment section for her university’s newspaper and magazine has fueled her passion for entertainment journalism, which is the career path she plans to explore. In her free time she enjoys reading, traveling, listening to music, and catching up on celebrity gossip.