Making the Best Use of the College Counselor at Your Teen’s High School

By Huntington Learning Center

Your teen might be vaguely aware of the counseling office at his high school, but less aware of what the staff in this office does to help students prepare for the college search and application process. Here are a few tips to share with your teen to make sure he is taking full advantage of the counseling office’s services:

  • Visit early. Too often, teens make the mistake of visiting their counseling office as juniors but not before. Freshmen and sophomores would be wise to drop in early to talk about their goals (e.g. their dream colleges and careers) and what it will take to reach them. The goal-setting process can be impactful, inspiring students to work hard and stay motivated.
  • Learn about on-campus college visits. The high school guidance counseling office frequently arranges college visits right on campus. Teens who are in the know can take advantage of this and learn about colleges that they might not otherwise hear about or be able to visit in person.
  • Take advantage of nearby college fairs. If there are college fairs in your area, the counseling office will be the first to have information. This is another great way to learn about a variety of different colleges and universities without having to travel to them. Teens can start exploring options and get a feel for what different types of colleges are all about.
  • Talk about the SAT and ACT. The counseling office keeps students informed of upcoming SAT and ACT test dates, registration details and sites in the area. Counselors can also advise students on how the exams are structured, their similarities and differences, and which exam might fit them best.
  • Prepare to be successful in college. There’s preparing to apply for college and then there’s preparing for college-level academics. The counselors at your teen’s high school are trained to educate teens about what the high school-to-college transition will be like so when they set foot on a college campus as freshmen, they feel ready.
  • Learn about financial aid. One of the biggest areas of concern for parents and teens regarding college is the cost. The counseling office is an invaluable source of information for families and can share more about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), how to find and apply for scholarships, and so much more.
  • Stay apprised of college-related activities all four years. Arguably the best thing about the counseling office is its commitment to keeping students and parents informed about all events, to-dos and deadlines. Every school is different, but this office helps students register for college and career exploration web resources (e.g. Naviance), set academic goals, explore careers, gather valuable information about colleges and the application process, and much more.

At Huntington, we encourage high school students to make the most of the resources at their disposal that will help them make plans for college and achieve their dreams. The counseling office is there to advise students on choosing classes, but they can do so much more—like provide information about college admission tests and registration, support students on their journey to college, and offer information for students and parents about paying and planning for college.

Huntington is also here to assist you. Contact us to learn more about how we help teens succeed in high school and get ready to do the same in college: 1-800 CAN LEARN.