It’s important to build a strong relationship with your high school guidance counselor. A guidance counselor is the person to talk to about class scheduling questions, strategies for preparing for college and even personal concerns. Once your guidance counselor is familiar with you, they can write you a letter for a college application or a job. Most schools will require you to fill out a meeting request and then, your guidance counselor will call you out of class. Don’t wait until your senior year to set up an appointment. Ideally, reach out to your guidance counselor during your sophomore year and continue to schedule meetings, throughout your time in high school.

Talk About Class Scheduling Needs

Meet with your guidance counselor, as you’re setting up your class schedule. Discuss your future plans and the subjects that interest you. If you’re planning to go to college, it’s important to take classes that will help prepare you. Be honest with your guidance counselor about your study needs. If you prefer to have a study hall at the beginning of the day, let your counselor know. You can also ask about the best electives to take during high school. Once you build a partnership, you’ll be able to work together to create a class schedule that will meet your short and long-term goals.

Learn About AP or PSEO Classes

If you’re wondering how do school counselors help students, advice about Advanced Placement Courses and Post-Secondary Options is at the top of the list. Once you get through your first year in high school, it’s important to consider your academic strengths and how you can work toward success. Your guidance counselor can look at your transcript and advise you about the classes that you should take to stay challenged. Some high schools offer students the opportunity to take college classes, during their junior or senior year. If you talk to your guidance counselor early, you’re more likely to get the classes that you want and will be most helpful to you.

Request the Work Release Program

If you have a part-time job and would like to work during part of the school day, ask your guidance counselor for assistance. How do school counselors help students? Your guidance counselor may be able to arrange your schedule to allow you to take classes in the morning and work in the afternoon. Most schools limit this program to upperclassmen, but if you meet with your guidance counselor early, you’ll be prepared to complete the necessary paperwork and apply for the program.

Share Personal Concerns

You can meet anytime with a guidance counselor about personal concerns. You don’t have to wait until a scheduled appointment, if you’re facing a hardship and need support. A guidance counselor is there to listen to you and even help you find outside resources, if needed.

Double Check Graduation Requirements

As you’re scheduling your classes for your senior year, meet with your guidance counselor to review your transcript. It’s important to know that you’re on track to graduate. Meeting with your guidance counselor will give you enough time to build a missing class into your schedule, if needed.

Discuss Your College Search

How do school counselors help students with their college search? A guidance counselor can provide you with information about colleges, help you learn more about admission requirements and even assist with gaining college readiness skills. Meet with your counselor at the end of your sophomore year or beginning of your junior year to discuss your college plans. As you share more about your interests and needs, your high school guidance counselor will be able to give you specific advice about college options. You can even ask your counselor to proofread your application essay or help you think about financial aid and scholarship options.

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About the Author

Dr. Kelly Meier earned her doctorate from Minnesota State Mankato in Educational Leadership. She is the author and co-author of 12 books and serves as a consultant in K-12 and higher education. Dr. Meier is is a regular contributor for The Equity Network and has worked in education for more than 30 years.