By Suzan Reznick If you do not already have a strong relationship with your guidance counselor, now is the time to make them your newest best friend. How can they write you an effective letter of recommendation, if they know nothing about you? Stop by their office as often as you can, without becoming an annoyance, to ask them questions or for their advice. I suggest that you obtain a copy of your transcript, in the exact format that colleges will be receiving, to ascertain that there are no mistakes. It is generally your decision if your SAT/ACT scores will be listed on the transcript. If your scores are low and you may be applying to test optional colleges, you may prefer to have them omitted. While many colleges will accept the test scores off the high school transcript, others may prefer that they receive the official score report from the College Board. Most transcripts are mailed out with a high school profile; you can request to see the profile to learn how colleges will view your high school. Guidance offices have their own preferred ways of dealing with applications and you need to be very sure that you follow their rules. Many schools have created their own forms so that they can track where you are applying and how (i.e. online, common app). Some guidance counselors even have rules regarding the size of the envelopes that you need to hand in to them! Questions to ask your guidance counselor: • Do you need to give your teachers addressed/stamped envelopes for them to mail out recommendations or does guidance collect all forms and mail them together? Do you need to provide the counselor with addressed envelopes or postage? Alternatively, will they submitting their forms online? • How far in advance, before the application deadlines, does your counselor want you to put in your transcript and counselor recommendation requests? Good communication between you and your counselor is critical for a successful college outcome for you!