Though you most likely did not think about it when you entered high school, and perhaps you still haven’t, establishing a good relationship with your high school guidance counselor is a key aspect that can play a pivotal role in your college admission/acceptance process. However, due to the vast amount of students that the average guidance counselor is responsible for, you may find it difficult to grow and/or maintain a worthwhile and notable relationship. Regardless of this existent challenge, it is immensely important that you account for time to do create one. The better your bond is, your counselor will likely put more time and thought into your recommendation letter, prioritize sending out your applications in an exceptionally timely fashion, research your top schools and help you accomplish certain goals, etc. Below I’ve shared three tips that are sure to help you cultivate and strengthen your relationship with your guidance counselor.
1. Stop by, even if it’s just to say hi!
This is certainly the easiest of the three ways to interact with your counselor. In order for you to get to know one another, well, you have to communicate. Demonstrating this friendly and outgoing aura, simply by saying “hello” in the hallway or by stopping by his/her office, you are showing a positive side before your counselor even gets to know you. It is often said that first impressions are the most important, and being outgoing and sociable will create a lasting impression that will likely be reflected in recommendation letters and things of the like. Being a memorable student and standing out in the counselor’s mind, as opposed to the student that has only met with him/her to discuss his/her schedule once a year, can certainly only help you.
2. Meet your deadlines.
Of course there is something to be said for the student who is always on top of his/her assignments and gets important things done in a timely and efficient fashion. These are the exact thoughts that you want your guidance counselor to have when he/she thinks of you. As previously mentioned, with so many students to deal with, they truly do not have time to be “on top of everyone” regarding deadlines, so it is important that you show a willingness and independency that is sure to stand out in his/her mind. Being a reliable and motivated kid shows a lot about your character, and actions such as simply showing up to a meeting on time can give a counselor a lot to say in a recommendation letter, despite the triviality of the action.
3. Be inquisitive.
It’s in their job title—the intended purpose of your guidance counselor is indeed to counsel you! For this reason, it’s widely recommended that you take advantage of the advice your counselor can give to you.
Of course it is not necessary that you take the counseling to heart, but he/she can offer great tips regarding teachers, classes, college searching, scholarship information, etc. Haleigh Kopinski, from Point Park University, shares that “‘there were scholarships in [her] area [she] wasn’t even eligible to receive due to location, GPA, things like that. [Her guidance counselor] made [her] apply for these scholarships [she] wasn’t eligible for and would send recommendation letters to the boards on these scholarships for them to consider [her] application. [She] got all of the scholarships he sent letters into.’” This is an example that perfectly encapsulates just how much your counselor can do for you.
In addition, if you are struggling in a class, debating moving up in a class, or just curious about opportunities to explore during your time in high school, they are generally extremely happy to offer their wisdom and insight. I seem to get the sense that few students truly take advantage of the advice counselors can give, and often times they can provide more truth and input on a school or personal-related issue than a friend or family member could. Heck, you might not even know what your guidance counselor can do for you! There’s no harm in not listening to their advice, but there is definitely no harm in asking for it either.
Developing a relationship like this is something that is so easy to do and will reap tremendous benefits as you proceed in your high school career. So if you want to take some guidance from me, here it is: Get to know your guidance counselor!