3 Questions to Ask Your Guidance Counselor About College

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5 min read

As a high school senior, there are probably many questions on your mind. The biggest area of concern for many high school seniors is the impending college transition. Questions like what college to attend, how test scores and dual credits transfer, and when to send in applications may be on the forefront of your mind. Where do you turn for answers to these serious questions? The beginning of senior year is a great time to ask your guidance counselor about college.

High school guidance counselor Patty Crotty says it’s important for high school seniors to know themselves and focus on finding the right fit during the college search. “Keep an open mind, and don't eliminate schools that you haven't heard of. Trust yourself—when you find the school for you, you will know.”

Your school’s guidance counselor is possibly the best resource when questioning anything relating to the college admissions and transition process. He or she can keep you up to date on important deadlines, like that for the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), and remind you of the importance of keeping your grades up in the home stretch. Keep reading to learn about what to ask your guidance counselor about college:

1. Ask your guidance counselor about transferring credits

Many high schools offer dual-credit courses to their students. These classes provide you with credits that you can then transfer to your college or university, and they count toward your total credit requirements. For example, you could potentially begin your freshman year of college with six credits under your belt. Credit-earning courses might include:

  • AP (Advanced Placement)
  • Community college classes
  • IB (International Baccalaureate).

While this is a great option to take advantage of, it isn’t always straightforward. Colleges and universities have their own rules and guidelines as to which classes they will accept for credit. Regardless of the number of dual-credit courses you have taken or are planning to take, it is important to know what you have going into college. Having an idea of how many credits will transfer to your schools of interest could factor into your decision of which institution to choose. Talk to your guidance counselor about your credits, as well as how they might impact your college decision.

[RELATED: 6 Surprising Things About Senior Year of High School]

2. Ask your guidance counselor about your test scores

If they haven’t already, test scores will become a big part of your senior year. Between SAT, ACT, and AP test scores, you may have many questions. If you have already started SAT or ACT testing, you might have some idea of how the process works. Regardless, your guidance counselor can be of help when it comes to managing and understanding test results.

You can send your SAT or ACT scores to several colleges for no additional cost aside from your registration fee. After a certain number, each has various costs per additional college. Typically, the testing service will send scores to schools for you, so you won’t have to worry about sending them yourself. However, it is helpful to understand how it works and take the sending process into consideration when selecting testing dates.

As for AP scores, the process is fairly similar. You are able to send your score to one college or university for free by listing the school's code on your answer sheet. Usually, if you score a 3 or above on the exam, you are eligible for college credit and/or advanced placement. The College Board takes care of sending your scores to the schools you choose, but again it is helpful to understand the process when preparing to take exams.

[RELATED: The Ultimate Study Plan for AP Courses]

3. Ask your guidance counselor about application deadlines

Your senior year will be full of various deadlines, so be prepared to keep them organized. Your guidance counselor is a great resource to help you track down dates and keep them straight. Reminding your parent or guardian about FAFSA deadlines is key in the fall of your senior year. It is also important to keep track of any fall testing dates you are interested in, and make a note of registration deadlines. Missing a registration date for a fall test could impact when your school of interest receives your score.

Make sure to look at any schools you are interested in, and to note their application deadlines. If you are interested in applying early decision, it is especially important to determine those deadlines immediately, and to understand what this decision entails. Essentially, if you apply early decision to a school, you will receive an admissions decision sooner. The tricky part, however, is that once you accept an early decision offer, you must decline any other offers you receive. If you are set on a particular school, this option could work for you. If you are looking to keep your options open, a regular application timeline might be best. Talk to your guidance counselor about your options for applying to college.

Your guidance counselor plays a big role in your senior year of high school and college preparations. Be open with him or her regarding what you want your post-graduation life to look like. Guidance counselors are there to help you find the best college for you, and will be a great resource for any questions that might arise. Crotty encourages students to not get caught up in worrying during the college search. “Enjoy senior year—it will go by far too quickly.”

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