Introduce yourself early in your high school career and check in often. The average counselor in the US has more than 400 students to worry about. And, on average is only able to spend about a half hour with each student. IN FOUR YEARS. Those numbers are absurd. So, if you want her to know who you are when it comes time to submit her letter and to be able to say positive and genuine things about you, make sure you take time to get to know her. Pop in often and update her on what you’ve accomplished. But, don’t be a pest. Be sensitive to her time constraints.
Showing your counselor how much you care about your current and future situation, definitely helps. I always advise asking questions. Not only will you gain information, asking questions also shows the counselor that you are interested in their expertise and opinion. This may open up opportunities, you never though were available.
The same way you build a good relationship with any other human: be genuine, be respectful, be on time, be appreciative, and share information about your milestone successes! Also, ask for his or her preferred communication method, best times to reach him or her, and follow-through on what you say you are going to do!
Here is my video response to the question.
As private college counselors, we are well-versed in the criticisms of school-based counseling. Unavailable, inexperienced, incompetent, lazy—these are the words that some within our industry often use to describe the professionals who work hardest to establish safe and supportive learning environments for our children. Research consistently shows that school counselors improve the academic achievement, health and psychological and emotional well-being of students—not to mention their college prospects; yet many continue to argue that our counselors are becoming obsolete.
Show them you are interested. Really! Go visit them, but not to just visit them or stalk them. Go talk to them about things. Ask them good questions. Maybe ask them to give you their assessment of your academic performance. Ask them good questions about activities to be involved in or better yet, ask them what activities they found valuable when they were in school.
First of all, discover which counselor will be responsible for you. You definitely need to visit with your guidance counselor so that when it comes time to write the counselor’s letter of recommendation, the counselor actually has something specific to include in that letter. Request an appointment after winter holidays your junior year and then try to visit with the counselor again in the spring to discuss college ideas. Drop by the office to explore the college brochures or reference books that are likely available. Ask the counselor where he went to college or stop in to discuss your extracurricular resume. Greet the counselor in the hallway on the way to class.
Building a good relationship with your high school guidance counselor is simple: come to our office and talk to us! It can be about anything, but know that we WANT to know these things about you. We would love to hear about what you enjoy doing, or how you lost your volleyball game or hear you vent about your mom. Whatever is on your mind it is ok if you need a place to vent or want an adult’s advice or opinion. Getting to know more about you helps us advise you when it comes to choosing colleges to apply to and the better we know you, the more we can advocate for you in your college recommendation, for scholarships, etc.
it does require the student to show motivation for college admissions. counselors at prep schools love to work students highly committed. Parents must also play importmant role in in working with the school guidance counselor.
Guidance counselors are in this business because they truly enjoy working with teenagers. Because caseloads can be HUGE, it may be difficult for them to get to know everyone as well as they would like to. You can help by making a habit of stopping by, bringing them up to date on your application status and whatever else is going on in your world. Trust me, they will love to see your face and be happy to help you.
The most important thing is to build the relationship over time. Make sure you meet and begin an ongoing conversation with your counselor freshman year. Be proactive and inquisitive, talk to him or her about your your developing interests, and goals. Respect their time, but keep them abreast of your progress through HS.
At a larger school it is important that you get to know your counselor. Start early by making an appointment and then drop by now and again to let them know what’s new. If you win an office at the school or land a role in the school play make sure they keep an up to date idea as to what you are up to. They will be writing countless letters of recommendation so make sure yours has that personal touch.
You build a good relationship by following all of your counselor’s requirements. Attend all required meetings, complete all required tasks, and then begin to personalize your interactions. Go visit your counselor once or twice a month. Ask different questions about colleges, classes, summer programs, or more. Don’t be a pest but try your best to get your counselor to know you as much as possible because counselors write letters of recommendations for you. Always focus on strengths and try not to focus on negatives with counselors. Ask for advice and try your best to thank your counseor as often as possible.
I sat behind that desk at a large, public high school. Depending on your counselor’s case-load and personality, you may have an easier (or harder) time building a relationship. If possible, begin early. If you are introverted by nature, make an attempt to be more open and outgoing when you meet your. Make a point to say hi when you see him or her in the hall. By the time you begin junior year, let your counselor know your tentative college plans and what you are doing to prepare (course selection, activities, etc.) Stay in contact, so when it comes to application time senior year, you counselor already knows you.
In these days when counseling departments are regularly hit with budget cuts, many students don’t even know who their counselor is, let alone have a good relationship with him or her. This doesn’t mean you should give up and go it alone.
Follow their instructions. Thank them for their input and give them plenty of time to write you recommendation.
Take the time to let your counselor get to know you. Give them all the information you can so that they can present you as fully and as effectively as possible. That will enhance their ability to present you to the schools in the most positive light. Be responsible and responsive each counselor has many students with whom they are working, but if you show your interest and your appreciation and do your part, your counselor will be happy to work hard to help further your dreams. If you give off a sense of entitlement you might discover that you are not entitled to as much as you might think.
Communication is key. Make sure that you engage your guidance counselor. Talk with them. Set up a meeting just to go over college stuff. Don’t make them have to call you down because you haven’t met with them yet. Don’t just settle for the obligatory once a year meeting. Keep them updated on things that are happening in your life, colleges that you are interested in, and career choices that you are looking at. Counselors are so often buried in paperwork and tasks that they really don’t want to do. Brighten their day by talking about colleges and what is going on with you. It truly is the best part of a counselor’s day.
High school guidance counselors can have close to 300 students assigned to them. That is certainly a lot of students that they must get to know. Taking an active approach in this process will not only help them, but it will also help you considerably. The more that they know about you, the more personalized your letter of recommendation will be. They will also be able to provide you with better advisement about your academic and social development.
Frequent contact. Stop by or write an email (face-to face contact is better) to let him or her know about your latest accomplishment, or to ask questions about colleges, or to talk about your college plans, or just to talk and help him or her get to know you better. Counselors usually have responsibility for so many students that it’s impossible to get to know all of them; so you need to take the initiative to help your counselor know you.
Keep them involved! It’s tough for a counselor to write a recommendation for a student they’ve never met before until they showed up to ask for a recommendation. Ask them questions, use your counselor’s expertise. They are always happy to help you, since that is why they are there after all! Have a sit down with them periodically and talk to them about where you are in the selection and application process. If you are interested in what they have to say and the advice they can give you, they will be more interested in helping you!
Begin by setting up an appointment with your high school guidance counselor early in the school year, preferably as a junior. Begin by working on a plan, (including possible universities) and educational goals. Know the testing dates, AP, SAT, or ACT. Do not wait until right before all deadlines are to be met. Invite your parents in to visit your guidance counselor and be honest on what funding is available. (It makes no sense whatsoever to waste time on application processes to universities that your parents cannot afford, or that you have zero possibility on getting scholarships to assist you financially). (For international students the application process and testing dates should be completed as soon as possible, so that you will have adequate time in getting the F-1 visa from the US Consulate in your respected nation).
As a college advisor at a fairly large high school, the students who I have gone above and beyond in helping with their college application process were the students who were polite, professional, punctual, and willing to work as hard as they expected me to.
You do this by being proactive. Your guidance counselor is going to write a letter of recommendation on your behalf, therefore, you need to do your very best to let them know you and your goals. Set up an appointment, bring your resume, explain your hopes and share your college choices.
Guidance counselors truly do enjoy teenagers and they have their best interests in mind, but they are very busy and often have huge caseloads. Be patient with them and ask to chat about issues and concerns you may have when there is not a mad dash during deadlines or schedule making. Give them good news when you get it, ask how their day is going and say thank you every chance you get. Even if you just chat in the halls that is the beginning of a relationship and should be nurtured for the next four years.
Short answer: be the squeaky wheel.
Don’t be obnoxious, but keep yourself on their radar by saying “hello”; dropping in when possible; taking the initiative to schedule meetings before the counselor prompts you; and offer to give them any information they need to get to know you better when writing a recommendation.
With a background in school counseling, I can tell you that this is tough. The nature of school counseling right now is grim. Many school counselors report having more than 300 students assigned to work with them, creating a huge caseload of students lost in a crowd. Make yourself known. Be the squeaky wheel. Be organized. I hate to say it, but be proactive in your college search. Seek out your school counselor for advice, yes, but be prepared before you meet with them. Have some starting point. Do what you can to help them help you. Constant contact is always good!
The best way to build a relationship with any professional in your life, is to positively insert yourself.
Show your guidance counselor that you care about your future and your success. Counselors want to help you, but the mostly want to teach you to help yourself. Show up to meetings prepared and with questions for them outlined. When you show commitment and organization, it makes their job that much easier.
Your high school counselor is extremely important. Not only can he or she be your advocate throughout high school, helping you deal with any problems that might arise, but you will need a recommendation from your counselor when it comes time to apply to college. I recommend that you go into your counselor a few times a year, starting in 9th grade, to say hello and mention anything noteworthy that has happened. Keep your counselor updated on awards or accomplishments-send emails if you can’t schedule an appointment. Make sure your counselor knows about your academic expectations and talk to your counselor about college no later than 11th grade. When it comes time for your counselor to write a recommendation, send him or her your resume with a brief summary of activities or attributes you think are particularly important. And remember, counselors have heavy workloads and are often highly stressed. Be pleasant and patient in all your dealings with him or her and say thank you when appropriate.
The personalities of high school guidance counselors differ, as does the amount of time they have available to provide individual counseling services to their student load, so the following suggestions are general, rather than specific. Figure out what will work best in your situation.
Over time w/o “using” them. You have to nurture the relationship like you would in any situation, and that takes time & planning. Again, my old adage:
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