Twenty Questions to Ask Your School Counselor

Your School Counselor, or guidance counselor, is one of your best resources as you plan for college. Your counselor has information about admissions tests, college preparation, and your education and career options. Here are some basic questions to help get your conversation started:

1. What are the required and recommended courses—for graduation and for college prep? Check you High School's Course Description and/or Curriculum Handbook
2. How should I plan my schedule so I'll complete them?
3. Which elective courses do you recommend? Based on your interests
4. Which AP Courses are available?
5. When is the PSAT/NMSQT/PLAN/EXPLORE/ASVAB/Michigan Merit Exam going to be given here?
6. Is this school a testing center for the ACT, SAT I, SAT II, or will I need to go somewhere nearby? Varies
7. Do you have any after-school or evening sessions available for college planning, ACT, SAT I, TestPrep, etc.? Parent Meetings-September/October
8. Do you have college handbooks or other guides that I can browse or borrow? Do you have a copy of the free Taking the SAT booklet, which has a practice test in it? Yes, available in career center
9. What activities can I do at home and over the summer to get ready for college?
10. What kinds of grades do different colleges require? Varies
11. Are there any college fairs at this school, or nearby?
12. Where do other kids from this school attend college? Michigan, MSU, etc.
13. What are the requirements or standards for the National Honor Society?
14. Can you put me in touch with recent grads who are going to the colleges on my wish list? Facebook
15. Do you have any information to help me start exploring my interests and related careers? Multiple Intelligences, Holland's Self-Directed Search, etc.
16. If my colleges need a recommendation from you, how can I help you know me better, so it can be more personal? Recommendations vary by college
17. Are there any special scholarships or awards that I should know about now, so I can work toward them? Also, check with the colleges and/or universities where you're applying, many have them on web pages
18. Can I see my transcript as it stands now, to see if everything is as I think it should be? Obtain and keep an updated copy of your high school transcript at all times
19. Do you have any forms I need to apply for financial aid?
20. How does our school compare to others, in terms of test scores and reputation?

Reality Check

Your school counselor may be the most wonderful and accessible person on the planet, or may be juggling a thousand students and barely know your name. So remember that the person who has the biggest stake in your academics is you. It's up to you to stay on top of opportunities and deadlines, to take control of your future.