Connecting with your school counselor can help you alleviate stress and make positive plans for your future. Your school counselors have access to your grades and information about your extracurricular activities and your classes. They can help you see the larger picture when it comes to future planning. They understand how various details can help you achieve your goals and offer you the career and college guidance that you need. You must make the first step however and set up an appointment to speak with them. Bring a list of your questions, concerns, goals and interests to help them get a better idea of what you are seeking and how they can help.
Many schools have multiple counselors. If you find you don’t connect with the first one you speak with, you may be able to ask to meet with a different one. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses and what you hope to achieve. The sky is the limit. It is normal to feel discouraged and terrified at times. It can seem overwhelming to think about moving out and paying for college or even living at home and getting through your current classes. However, the earlier you start to address these fears and realize how normal and natural these feelings are, the better prepared you will be and the longer you will have to save up and make your plans.
Freshman Year Appointment
During your freshman year, make an appointment with your school counselor for the first time. Building an early relationship with this person over the next 4 years of high school can be very valuable for your future. Discuss your goals and your interests and any difficulties you may be experiencing. The more open and honest you are with your school counselor, the better they will get to know you. When they know your personality, your achievements and where you want to succeed, they will have a better time recommending certain programs or paths, or options that are tailored to your interests. The following are some of the top ways that school counselors can benefit you:
Meeting with your counselor can help you make plans for the future. Discuss your favorite classes and subjects. Make time to brainstorm about what you see happening after high school. Your counselor can work with you and use this information to help you maximize your high school class schedule. If challenging yourself with harder courses is something you are up for, maybe discuss trying an AP class. If an athletic scholarship is the route you are seeking, talk to them about different options. If you need to boost your volunteer or work hours, they may have suggestions to explore within the community.
College Preparation and Planning
Steering you to classes that are right for you is one of the main benefits of working with your school counselor. They can help you determine if your course load is meeting your career and academic goals. Your counselor plays a big role in the process when application time comes around. By then, hopefully, you have a solid and trustworthy relationship. This can help you speak frankly about any questions or concerns to ensure you are on the right path. You may have many questions about the college application process regarding deadlines, financial aid and transcripts. Having a counselor you trust to work with you during this time is invaluable.
How Do I Pay for College?
Thankfully, there are many payment options when it comes to college. There are private lenders, colleges, government loans and other organizations to help you cover your post-secondary costs. School counselors offer a wealth of information regarding financial aid. They understand how the application process works and what deadlines you need to be mindful of. School counselors also can discuss a variety of scholarship and grant options. This is money that you may be eligible for and not have to repay. Often, you will need to submit an essay or proof of your eligibility.
Once you enter a college, your counselor can offer help answering any financial aid questions you have about your package. Make sure you understand everything about your financial aid package. Assuming anything regarding repayment or interest, etc. may leave you missing a payment or making a mistake that disqualifies you from accessing future aid. It is really helpful to have someone familiar with all the terms and conditions to answer your questions.
Planning for Your Future Career
There are many ways your school counseling office can help you plan for the future. Many schools offer a wide vareity of resources including job nights and career fairs, meeting with career coaches who offer student guidance, taking specific tests to reveal your talents and strengths. This information can help you decide on future career possibilities and showcase your interests and abilities. Following interests in career areas can help you decide on majors, appropriate colleges and career options. Your school counselor can break down the type of training and education you will need to succeed.
Personal Counseling Services
A school counselor can discuss much more than post-secondary and career options. They are available if you have any issues in your personal life including divorcing parents, addiction problems and depression. School counselors also deal with bullying and issues with other students or teachers. They are trained to help you help yourself if you are struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, physical violence, emotional violence, bullying and feeling upset or not sleeping due to stressors in your life. You don’t have to feel overwhelmed or alone. Get the help you need to succeed. It is wiser to acknowledge the problem now and find positive coping mechanisms while these services are offered for free instead of pretending you have everything under control and losing your balance. These same services can cost people hundreds of dollars a month if they don’t have a health insurance plan that covers them once they leave school or move away. Therefore, take advantage of help while you can and learn how to heal your trauma and not be so hard on yourself. There is no shame in asking for help. Everyone falls down sometimes. It is not what happens to us but how we handle it. And some things are so heavy or upsetting that we can’t handle them alone. Make an appointment with your school counselor to find out what your options are.