Feb. 3, 2021

The Benefit of Engaging the Guidance Counselor Early in High School

The Benefit of Engaging the Guidance Counselor Early in High School

Engage and wow the guidance counselor 

Guidance counselors assigned to help kids through the college preparation and application process have a great influence in your kid’s college future. The good ones know the application process, the ins and outs of colleges and universities, and have information that may not be on college websites. 

Guidance counselors have a wealth of knowledge they have acquired through their careers. For example, they know the experiences of other students in your kid’s high school who applied to the same schools your kid may be applying to. They know what worked for them and what didn’t. That’s great information!

Counselors are assigned hundreds of students

One of the issues that makes the work of guidance counselors very challenging is that they are each assigned a very high number of students. Our national average for students assigned to a guidance counselor in public schools is 455, almost twice the maximum ratio recommended by the American School Counselors Association (ASCA) of 250 students to 1 counselor. 

In some states those numbers are way higher. The numbers for Arizona, Michigan, Illinois, and California are 905, 741, 686, and 663 students respectively. Because they are so overloaded, counselors usually have no choice but to spend the little time they have on the students who are taking the initiative to do what they have to do to get into college. 

With so many students assigned to them, how else could they do it? My point to you is, be sure your kid engages the guidance counselor early in high school as I suggested on Blog 002. By doing this, your kid will inadvertently let the counselor know how motivated he or she is to do what it takes to be ready for and apply to college.

Their best effort goes to the most committed students

That is the type of students guidance counselors spend the bulk of their time and energy on. Be sure your kid schedules an appointment early in the high school year. You want the counselor to see that your kid is truly motivated, and that you and your family are behind his or her college admission efforts.

Be on the alert, some high schools don't begin college admission activities until the junior year 

Be on the alert. Some high schools do not begin to approach college admissions until the 11th grade. As you could imagine, that may present a risk for students who are planning to apply to the more selective schools.

There may be a course or activity those students should have taken or been involved in since before the 11th grade. If it is in your kid’s plans to apply to one of those schools, definitely do what it takes to meet with a counselor early on.

It is important to make sure your kid is enrolled in the right courses since freshman year.


Article Image Courtesy of Matt Ragland on Unsplash