This week, February 5-9, is National School Counselor Week, though few people realize it. This makes sense, because, in general, I find school counselors to be humble individuals.It takes a special type of person to be able to effectively counsel a distressed student or parent, create every student’s schedule, and also write letters of recommendation for college. These are just a few of the very important jobs schools counselors do in our schools.
So, what about your school counselor? Have you met him or her? If not, go say hello! This person will have a required role in your college process and can also be a resource or support during the season you are searching for and applying to colleges. To help you understand more about your school counselor and his or her role in your college process, I’ve listed a few common questions below.
1) What information do school counselors have about college?
School counseling offices hold a lot of information about colleges that you can access! They might have a library of brochures, a software you can login to, or a scholarship file or database. School counselors will also know if colleges are planning to visit your school and can keep you posted on those visits.Many school counselors are able to visit colleges or learn from college representatives, so they might be able to suggest a college you didn’t know about or give you more in-depth information about one of your colleges.
2) Does my school counselor have to write a letter of recommendation?
Your school counselor has to send in a Secondary School Report for your colleges – this report includes your transcript from the school and a letter from your counselor. Many counselors will ask you to fill out a survey or have an informational meeting to assist them as they fill in your forms. If there is anything they have asked you to do, you should do it well to best help them as they work to support your applications.
3) Does my school counselor send in my transcript and test scores?
In most schools, a school counselor or registrar will send the transcript to colleges, but every school has a different system. The important thing is to find out from your school counselors what the system is for letting their office know that you have finished an application and how to request the supporting documents be sent to the colleges.
4) Will my school counselor talk to colleges about me?
In some cases, colleges might make a phone call to follow up on something in your application. If that happens, they will be calling your school counselor. Be sure your counselor knows the information needed to be a strong advocate for you in case of this kind of scenario.
In the United States, funding for school counselors has become more and more limited. Even though school counselors are often responsible for widely varying, incredibly important tasks in a school, they are often over-tasked and under-appreciated in the roles. Yet most of the school counselors I know go above and beyond to do the work necessary in helping students apply to college and forge a path after high school. Take a moment this week to go say hello and thank you to your school counselor, and to forge a relationship that will help take you through the college process smoothly.
Nicole has dedicated the entirety of her 20 year career to encouraging higher education opportunities. After graduating from Vanderbilt, she worked in her alma mater’s admissions office. The, she completed her PhD in Counseling so she could bring that expertise into college counseling. Nicole partnered with her former Vanderbilt colleague, Fitz Totten, to form Find The Right College and support their mission to make trustworthy advising more accessible.