Questions HS Students Should Ask Their Guidance Counselors

Questions HS Students Should Ask Their Guidance Counselors
  • Opening Intro -

    You’re in high school and have plans to attend college.

    Like many high school students, you’re trying to do your best academically to secure a high spot amongst your graduating class and to polish your college-bound credentials.


One of the allies you have at school is your guidance counselor, a professional with the experience to help you reach your goals. However, to get to those goals, you need to sit down and ask your counselor some questions. Those questions, along with the answers provided, will shed much light on the assistance you can expect as you prepare for college.

What courses must I take to graduate and which courses will best prepare me for college? This is a two-part question. The first part covers those courses your high school requires. The second part covers the electives. The former will be handled chiefly by your high school. The latter is in your hands. Your guidance counselor should provide a list of courses that can benefit you, including AP placement classes.

When and where are the preliminary entrance exams held (i.e., the PSAT)? Most students won’t take the PSAT until the start of their junior year, but some students may be eligible for the test at the end of their sophomore year. Find out from your counselor when those tests will be held, where they’ll be conducted and your cost, if any. Apply the same inquisitiveness to your subsequent SAT or ACT test dates.

How can I best get ready for college? Here, the student wants to know something beyond getting good grades that can help him reach higher. The counselor may encourage certain extracurricular activities, such as a school-backed club. She may also recommend certain outside pursuits to include volunteer work that you do at your church, fund-raising you conduct for a non-profit organization or a host of other activities. Such pursuits can be added to your college application and bolster your position going forward.

When will the school hold its college fair days? High school juniors should attend college fairs. High schools offer them, welcoming college representatives from state and private institutions to participate. You should learn when those dates are, get your academic resume in order, and appear for each fair dressed in your best attire. Typically, high schools make a big deal about college fairs to ensure that the student body has a chance to participate.

What is your opinion about a particular college? As you explore your academic options, you will want to tap the counselor’s knowledge about particular schools. She may have some inside information about a program that would be helpful to you. Moreover, if you are planning a campus visit, your counselor may recommend places for you to visit, people to see, and things to do. You might also inquire about former students who now attend that college to connect with them on campus or at least to learn about their experiences.

How can I improve my grades? Your junior year of high school is your most important year as the grades you get will definitely impact your college applications. You may be struggling in one course or are simply looking for ways to improve your position. You may be eligible to undertake an extra credit assignment or be referred to a tutor to help lift your grades.

Can I review my transcripts? It is important for high school students to be aware of their academic progress as they work their way through school. Your guidance counselor should share with you your transcripts to help you understand your performance to date. Further, it can help you prepare for the courses still to come.

What scholarships are available for someone like me? Financial aid plays a significant role in helping to make college affordable for millions of students. When your parents fill out the Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA) form, they will be looking for ways to reduce their financial burden. In the same way, you can do your part by asking the counselor about scholarships for you to pursue.

Will you write my recommendation? Likely, your guidance counselor will be the individual at your high school who will write a letter of recommendation for college. She may write several letters each for hundreds of students, therefore it is important that your counselor knows you very well in a bid to write from a position of strength. Specifically, without knowing you personally, she may not provide enough relevant information about you to make a difference to your application. Consequently, you may not be accepted at the school of your dreams.

College Confidential

Now that you know some of the questions to ask your guidance counselor, make that appointment at once. Simply showing up for your appointment demonstrates that you are taking the initiative. By the same token, preparing yourself with questions to ask can help you get the answers you need.

See AlsoSix Steps to Prepare for Your Career While in College


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Categories: Personal Advice