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During their four years of high school, students have many teachers, coaches and role models. However, as a school counselor, you are the one person who sees the entire picture of a student's high school career and can bring all the information together.
Some of the things you can do to give students the best chance of being accepted by the college of their choice include:
Help to plan a challenging course schedule.
Keep records of classes and grades.
Track graduation requirements.
Suggest which college admission tests to take and when to take them.
Connect students to information on various colleges, majors and careers.
Recommend colleges to match academic profiles and career goals.
Advise on "safety," "probable" and "reach" colleges.
Make sure transcripts are sent to colleges.
Write letters of recommendation.
Make note of registration deadlines and prepare for the upcoming SAT I and SAT II tests and the ACT assessment. When researching colleges, be sure to note whether they require the SAT I, SAT II test or the ACT assessment. Some colleges will require or recommend one or the other, others accept either. Your counselor also can provide guidance. Prepare for the test(s) you plan to take. Some states (e.g., Colorado and Illinois) require all public school eleventh-grade students to complete the ACT assessment. For more information, talk with your high school guidance counselor.
Meet with your counselor to ensure you are on track for college with your course selection.Are the courses you are taking or are scheduled to take in high school meeting college admission requirements? Talk to your counselor about taking more challenging courses such as honors, college prep, or Advanced Placement courses. Ask about any courses that you can take that may help you decide if a particular career direction is right for you. Discuss whether or not you should take the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests. Also, remember to maintain good grades.
Read, read, and read some more!
Stay active in extracurricular activities. While your grades in high school are important, colleges also look at what you do outside the classroom. They like to see that you are involved in sports, student government, and community activities, and that you take on leadership roles when available.