August 18, 2014
MIKE PERRON, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF ADMISISONS
As a former high school counselor/guidance director for 35 years, I’d like to provide you and your family with some tips for utilizing your child’s high school guidance office. Your school counselor can be your most valuable resource as you navigate the college search process – he or she knows the ins and outs of applying to colleges and is also skilled at helping students develop a list of right-fit schools for them, based on their interests and goals for the future.
1. Develop a good relationship with your school counselor.
- If your child has not yet met the school counselor assigned to your family, have your student stop by to introduce himself/herself early in the school year.
Have discussions to ensure that you, your student and the counselor are all on the same page. Some potential topics to discuss:
- What type of academic programs your child is interested in pursuing?
- Does your child have a preference as far as how far from home he/she wants to go?
- If you visited colleges over the summer what did your child like/dislike about the schools?
- What types of extracurricular activities is your child involved in, and do they want to continue these activities in college?
- What other criteria are important as you?
These conversations can allow the counselor to recommend colleges for your student to visit or apply to, and can help manage expectations throughout the process.
2. Encourage your student to get his/her paperwork in order – EARLY
- If your student is asking his/her school counselor to write a letter of recommendation, ask early. School counselors are bombarded with requests from students and the more notice you can give your counselor, the more time they can devote to writing a letter as unique as your student.
- Ask if you need to sign a release form to allow the school to send transcripts to colleges. This will make requests from college admissions representatives easier for your school counselor to fulfill.
3. Take advantage of the college planning events your guidance office hosts.
- Remember that most school counselors handle many student concerns and can only dedicate a portion of their time to college counseling. Hosting college planning events helps school counselors reach many families who have similar questions.
- Attend these sessions for answers to general questions and save personal questions for meetings, emails or phone calls with your school counselor.
- Oftentimes, schools have admissions representatives from colleges come to talk to students and their families on a variety of topics such as the college admissions process, understanding financial aid, essay writing, college interviewing tips, etc. Check with your guidance office to see if they have this type of workshop planned.
I hope that these tips will be helpful to you in the coming months, and I hope to see you on campus this fall. Be sure to check out our many visit opportunities available, including select Saturday’s this fall.
Assistant Director of Admissions