There are many moving parts to the college admissions process, yet most students and families don’t understand the integral role their high school counselor plays. High school counselors can help students with the college admissions process in a number of ways.
Here are some of the main ways they can assist students:
Providing Information: Many high school counselors can provide students with information on the various colleges and universities they may be interested in attending. They can help students research and compare schools based on factors like location, size, academic programs, and extracurricular activities.
Advising on College Choices: They can help students find colleges that will be an overall good fit for them based on a student's interests, academic record, and other factors. They can help them narrow down their list of potential colleges and universities. Counselors may also advise students on the types of colleges to consider, such as private vs. public, in-state vs. out-of-state, or based on the student population.
Helping with Applications: High school counselors can also help students navigate the college application process, which can be complex and confusing. They can advise on the different parts of the application, such as the essay, and help students understand how to present themselves in the best light.
Sending Transcripts/Providing Additional Context: High school counselors are responsible for maintaining student transcripts and sending them to colleges as requested. This typically involves coordinating with the school's registrar or administrative staff to ensure that transcripts are accurate, up-to-date, and sent in a timely manner. Counselors may also be responsible for providing additional information on the overall school context or context about a student's academic record, such as explaining any extenuating circumstances that may have affected their grades.
Recommending Students: High school counselors write letters of recommendation for students, which can be an important part of the college application process. Counselors can provide insight into a student's academic and personal strengths, as well as their character and leadership potential.
Assisting with Financial Aid: High school counselors can help students understand and navigate the financial aid process and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). They can also provide information on scholarships and other financial aid opportunities.
Some additional ways that some high school counselors are able to help with the college admissions process, might also include:
Conducting College Visits: They can organize and lead college visits, allowing students to tour campuses and meet with admissions representatives.
Connecting Students with Alumni or Current Students: High school counselors are often the best at connecting students with alumni or current students at colleges of interest, providing them with valuable insights and perspectives about campus life and academics.
Offering Test Preparation Resources: Many high school counselors can provide students with resources and support for preparing for standardized tests like the SAT or ACT.
Providing Guidance on Extracurricular Activities: They often provide support in helping students identify and participate in extracurricular activities that align with their academic and career interests, and that can strengthen their college applications.
Assisting with Summer Programs and Internships: High school counselors can help students find summer programs and internships that align with their interests and that can help strengthen their college applications.
Supporting Underrepresented Students: Many high school counselors can provide helpful and additional support and guidance for underrepresented students, such as those who are first-generation college students, transfer students, or rural students.
Overall, high school counselors can play a critical role in helping students navigate the college admissions process, providing support and guidance as they make one of the most important decisions of their lives. High school counselors often have large caseloads and are sometimes unable to give as much one-to-one college application attention to each student as they might like. If you need any additional assistance navigating the application process and these deadlines, please don't hesitate to contact us!