Eight Ways Your School Counselor Can Help You Get Ahead

College counselors are an integral part of academic life. The relationship starts freshmen year, when you’re required to meet with your counselor straight away to map out the next four years. However, most students have no idea what subject they want to major in, let alone what career path they should be following. Don’t stress about it because you’re not alone! This is literally the job of your counselor—to be your resource and guide you through your academic journey.

Your college counselor can direct you to the information, people, and activities that will improve your college credentials and help you make the most out of the college experience. Unfortunately, the typical counselor, though reliable and hard-working, faces time constraints that prevents him or her from forming productive relationships with every student. To reap the benefits, you must be proactive!

In honor of National School Counseling Week, here are 8 ways your college counselor can help you get ahead (…using GIFs):

  1. Start early. Introduce yourself as soon as possible and ask for guidance. Each school offers a myriad of services and opportunities for students—and your college counselor knows all about them. Start the dialogue and hear from the source how they can help you get ahead.

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  1. Visit often. People like helping people they know. If you make the effort to insert your college counselor into your academic life, you will naturally build a relationship, which will benefit you in the long run. Maybe you really need to get into a completely full class, your counselor will know the strings to pull to make it happen. However, if you’re a stranger to them, they may not be as eager to pull those same strings.

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  1. Get adjusted. Many students struggle with adjusting to college life. They have more responsibilities and much more independence. Whether you’re struggling with your course load or having roommate issues, college counselors are available to meet face-to-face whenever you have a question (or just need some encouragement).

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  1. Stay organized. Your college counselor understands the ins and outs of college. They’ll help you navigates demands and meet the requirements of earning a degree. They’ll make sure you’re taking the right number of classes per semester so that you can graduate on time, without causing undue stress.

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  1. Hear lessons learned.Chances are your college counselor has seen it all. They probably know someone who has applied for that internship or job you’ve been eyeing. Your counselor can share with you the successes (and failures) of other students, guiding your efforts.

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  1. Meet important people.If you’re serious about a particular career path, ask your college counselor if there’s anyone within their extensive network of contacts that you can connect with. Leveraging your counselor’s network could help you land your first internship or job.

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  1. Learn about unique opportunities. Aside from applying for those huge, popular internships and jobs that everyone else is chasing after, your college counselor will let you know about alternative options. If you’ve been keeping in touch, they’ll know all about your interests and present unique opportunities that are tailored specifically to you.

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  1. Get a letter of recommendation. Getting your first internship or job can be challenging. While having a letter of recommendation may seem “old school,” it could make all the difference. Counselor-written letters that provide a personal and comprehensive account of your character and work ethic can have tremendous influence on decision makers.

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Having the proper support, and having a trusted adviser to talk with when you have questions (or just want to vent), will have a huge impact on your college success. College counselors are one of your most valuable resources—use them!

Looking for more ways to get ahead? Share the School Counselor Toolkit with your school counselor today.