What Do College Counselors Do?
College counselors—both school counselors and independent consultants—can play a huge role in your college search. And when it comes time to apply and evaluate schools, both can help you make that all-important decision.
High School Counselors
Your high school probably has at least one on-site college counselor to help you find and apply to colleges. Your school counselor can help you:
Stay on top of class selection and graduation requirements
Navigate your high school’s processes for
Getting letters of recommendation from teachers
Completing the counselor letter of recommendation
Sending your official transcript to colleges
Select extracurricular activities
Research colleges and draft your college list
Find and apply for local scholarships
Complete and send your applications
Your school college counselor can be an invaluable resource! That said, the national average student-to-counselor ratio is 350:1. And if you go to a large high school with more than 2,000 students, your student-to-counselor ratio may be closer to 500:1 (Source: The College Board).
Depending on the amount of face time they get with their school counselor, some families decide to hire independent college counselors to guide them through the admissions process.
Independent College Counselors
An independent college counselor works alongside your school counselor to help you with all of the above, and in addition:
Find a best-fit school for you based on qualities like
professors and academics
access to experiential learning
size and location
quality of life
Refine your list and pick which schools to focus on
Present yourself on your applications so that they stand out from the crowd
Keep college stress at bay by coaching you (and your family) through each step of the process
Decide which offer of admission, and financial air package, to accept
Whereas your school counselor can advise you on more than just college, independent counselors spend all their time on college counseling and tend to work with fewer students.