What does a College Counselor do?

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  • Written By: Margo Upson
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2019
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There are two types of college counselors. One works with college-bound high school students and other individuals hoping to start, or continue, their college education. The other kind of college counselor works on campuses, advising and working with students who are already enrolled in a degree program.

As a high school student, it can be very difficult to narrow down a list of possible colleges to the handful or so the student will actually apply for. Trying to find the school with the best program for a student's future career goals can be a challenge, which is why many parents may choose to work with a college counselor. The college counselor can help a student to choose colleges, fill out applications, gather letters of recommendation, and complete college essays. Most high school counselors are trained as college counselors. Parents may also choose to hire a private, or independent, college counselor.

The goal of an independent college counselor, one hired by the student's family, is to get the student into a college that will best fit his needs. High school counselors perform the same task, but may have less time to spend with each individual student. Both types of pre-college counselors, however, can walk the student through each step of the college application process, from taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SATs) to sending in the final paperwork needed for admission and registration.


Once a student has made it to college, there is another type of college counselor for him or her to work with. It is not uncommon for a new student to have difficulty adjusting to college life. There are more responsibilities and a lot more independence. There may also be problems with other students or other concerns a student may wish to talk to a counselor about.

College counselors, working on campus, also help students with their career goals. They may assist a student in researching and applying for graduate programs, or work with a student to help them find a position in their chosen career field. This may also mean helping students with course selection and academic skills.

Having the proper support, and having a trusted adviser to talk with when the student has questions, can have a huge impact on a student's decision to attend college. It can also effect how likely the student is to complete his degree with a high GPA (grade point average). College counselors, whether working with high school students or college students, can play a significant role in a student's success.


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Post 4

College counselors are indeed important, but there is a problem in their role at its most basic level. College counselors, as we are calling them here, even in high school, are 'college counselors'. That is their purpose, getting high school students to good universities. The point is, we are steering all our students into college, ignoring the fact that probably for many of them that is not the best option available.

Those other options are often simply ignored. If you do not want to go, you should be made to go anyway. That is probably why so many drop out. Counselors should be at colleges helping students who are there, but in high school, a counselor should have no agenda to get students into college whatsoever. Their goal is to help students, not help the system to confine students.

Post 3

I think that the role of college counselors in high schools are underestimated. They can be such an important and positive influence on high school students and their goals for the future.

Not only can they help high school students pick the right school and degree for them. But, even more importantly in my view, they can convince and help students who don't plan on going to college to do so. Students might not always know about scholarships and grants that they may be eligible for. A counselor informs students of these opportunities and possibilities.

This is why they are extremely important. I also think that there should be more college admissions counselors in high schools so that students can have more direct contact and time with them.

Post 2

I had a really tough time adjusting to college and went to counseling services on campus.

We met once a week for several months my freshmen year. I must say that it helped me tremendously because I was attending college in a new state and was far away from family and friends.

I think college students should not hesitate to go talk to a University counselor. They can give you suggestions or just listen to you.

Post 1

My degree counselor in college was fantastic. She was always extremely helpful when I had questions and helped me pick the right courses in my degree for each semester.

When she noticed that I was interested in international politics and was taking many courses in it, she suggested that I make International Studies my minor or second major. I ended up having it as a double major. It was all thanks to her suggestion and help!

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