Getting The Most From Your College Counsellor

As you begin to plan for college in high school, your college counsellor can be one of your greatest resources. Your counsellor has valuable information on the application process, has access to important contacts at many institutions, and has the skills to assist you in exploring career and college options.

The following are some important tips for getting the most from your college counsellor:

Get assistance writing a resume

Many US universities require recommendation letters from at least two teachers and the counsellor. It is important to include a resume/curriculum vitae (CV) since teachers and counsellors cannot remember what every student has participated in and has done throughout high school.

Be aware of deadlines

Make recommendation requests to teachers and the counsellor well in advance, I usually recommend at least 2 weeks before the due date.  For those students that are applying Early Action or Early Decision, it is important to know which schools require SAT subject tests and note the deadlines for other college admissions tests that may need to be taken.

Stay organized

It is important to keep track of information and deadlines for each institution. Work with your counsellor on creating a spreadsheet with important information such as the colleges to which you are applying, deadlines, requirements, college admission tests, essay deadlines, and any scholarship deadlines.

Work on your interview skills

Many colleges may request a personal interview, even if you are international - they may request a Skype interview. Your counsellor can help you learn techniques on how to be successful with an interview, including mannerisms, what to expect and how to respond to questions, and overall tips on personal presentation.

Maintain communication

If you have questions, or may be uncertain about something in the process, ask your counsellor! Continue to keep an open line of communication so that everything gets completed. It is best to ask rather than leave things for the last minute and risk missing a deadline. 

Article written by Crystal Perdue, MA, LPC, NCC
Guidance Counselor at Marian Baker School in San José, Costa Rica.