10 Questions you Should Ask your Guidance Counselor By Unigo Staff The start of a new school year presents a valuable opportunity to connect with your guidance counselor and set yourself up for academic achievement. Whether you’re a new student seeking guidance or a returning one looking to update your counselor on your college plans, it’s crucial to make the most of your counselor’s limited time. To ensure a productive meeting, consider asking the following questions that will empower you on your path to college. 1. What courses are necessary for college admission? Gain clarity on the specific courses colleges require for admission. Your counselor will assist you in devising a comprehensive plan to meet or exceed these requirements, setting you on the right academic track. 2. Should I challenge myself with higher-level courses like Honors or Advanced Placement (AP)? Depending on your academic performance and previous coursework, it may be beneficial to enroll in more rigorous classes. Your counselor can provide guidance on selecting appropriate courses that will showcase your abilities and commitment. 3. What grade point average (GPA) do I need to be competitive for college admissions? If you have a college in mind, your counselor can provide insights into the GPA range that would make you a strong candidate during the admissions process. This knowledge will help you gauge your progress and work towards achieving your goals. 4. Will our school host any college fairs or financial aid nights this fall? Stay informed about any college fairs or financial aid workshops your high school may organize. These events offer valuable opportunities to gather information, interact with college representatives, and explore financial aid options. Share these dates with your parents and mark your calendar accordingly. 5. Which electives carry weight in the college admission process? Not all electives hold the same significance when it comes to college admissions. Consult your guidance counselor to identify electives that can enhance your application and demonstrate your interests and abilities to prospective colleges. 6. What college entrance exams should I take this year? Depending on your current grade level, your counselor will guide you on which standardized tests—such as the SAT, ACT, or AP exams—are most appropriate and when you should take them. Understanding the differences between these exams will enable you to plan your test preparation effectively. 7. Which colleges have recent graduates from our school attended? If you have a particular college in mind, your guidance counselor may facilitate connections with recent graduates who can provide valuable insights and advice. They might even offer to give you a guided tour of the college should you decide to visit. 8. Can you provide information on financial aid opportunities? Many guidance counselors maintain a scholarship directory that includes local, state, and national awards. Additionally, they can equip you with information about free online scholarship search services and guide you through the process of applying for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 9. What careers or majors should I explore? If you’re uncertain about your college major or future career path, your guidance counselor can direct you to resources that will help you narrow down your options. They may also be aware of internships or volunteer opportunities that can aid in your decision-making process. 10. When should I request letters of recommendation? Your guidance counselor can be an excellent source for a letter of recommendation. Inquire about the ideal timing for requesting a letter and the necessary lead time they require to complete it. Additionally, they can suggest other teachers or mentors who would make suitable recommenders if additional letters are needed. Reviewing your transcript with your counselor will also identify areas that may require improvement, such as extracurricular activities or community service. Consider asking your counselor for a list of important college tasks to focus on during the fall, as this will not only keep you motivated but also provide topics for discussion during your next meeting in the spring. Remember, your guidance counselor is dedicated to your success, so don’t hesitate to ask for assistance. By approaching your guidance counselor with these essential questions, you will receive the guidance and support necessary to navigate the college preparation process with confidence and clarity. Make the most of this valuable resource and pave the way for your future academic success.