Schools are so much more than just institutions for learning. Many students receive academic, social/emotional, and post-secondary support along with their education. Often overlooked, school counselors are a huge part of this support system, and forming a connection with your counselor is extremely beneficial to your overall educational experience. Your counselor will probably be the best resource during the college applications process, and as a student, there are a few things you can do along the journey to form a good connection, which will make a lasting impression.
Counselors realize that students have varying levels of understanding the college application process, which may impact their level of need. Your counselor expects that you may have questions or need help understanding something at any point. No question is too big or too small, and most counselors appreciate the initiative a student takes when they reach out. Sometimes your counselor may not have an immediate answer to your question, but if not, they can research or steer you towards the right person to help.
Your counselor may make suggestions that do not appeal to you, and it is very helpful to be honest and explain why you did not like their recommendation. Counselors are not offended by this, and oftentimes it is just as helpful to know what you don’t like so they can get a better sense for what you are looking for. Just as counselors do not always have answers to questions, sometimes that is the case for students as well. For example, your counselor may ask what you plan to study in college. Sometimes students think they need an answer for everything and will respond with a choice that is not always reflective of their true feelings. If you are asked a question and you do not know the answer, be honest with your counselor and let them know. This will help them guide you in the right direction and not waste time exploring a dead end.
When your counselor checks in with you, it’s important that you follow up with them. Even if you do not have questions or concerns, it’s a good time to stop and have a conversation, which may lead to a good discussion that you didn’t even know you needed. For example, your counselor may ask you about your essay. This may spark a reminder to check in on your progress, which may lead to questions or might inspire you to continue working on your draft. Even if you really don’t have questions or concerns, it helps your counselor to gauge your level of progress so they can better support you.
As with all relationships, the counselor-student relationship is a two way street. Each individual needs to put in time and effort to make it work well. Be sure to utilize the support of your counselor as much as possible throughout your high school experience.
By: Jennifer Krydynski