If there’s one person that you should focus on becoming BFFs with, it’s your high school counselor. Haven’t booked an appointment to visit them just yet? You’re missing out and should probably get on that ASAP. Think of it as your new bestie that can help you with all things related to your classes, school activities, college and career prep, and mental health. Many high schoolers are so immersed in the experience, that they forget about the resources available to guide them through their journey.
Still unsure how to even go about this whole thing? We got you. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are some questions you can ask that’s guaranteed to get the ball rolling.
1. Which courses to I need to make sure I graduate?
You’re going to want to take full advantage of your counselor’s brain and remember that they’re professionals in this kind of thing! When you meet up with them, make sure that you’re registered for the classes that put you on track for graduation – it’s NEVER too early!
2. When should I start preparing for college?
If college is a consideration, you’ll want to begin that journey as early as possible. Naturally, you won’t be applying for schools or taking college entrance exams during your freshman year, however, it’s key to kick off your college career on a positive note. This would entail plans for getting involved, earning good grades, or just starting your checklist. REMEMBER: Your success will likely look a little different than your peers, so do your best to work on YOUR timeline, not others’!
3. What extra-curricular activities should I get involved with?
The most exciting aspect of high school is having the freedom to make choices that support your curiosities. There’s no better time to branch out and try new hobbies, discover new passions, and make new friends! It’s likely that your counselor has some awesome recommendations for activities to immerse yourself in that will be beneficial. See something you like? Write it down and make it happen!
4. Which AP courses should I consider taking?
Does your school offer Advanced Placement (AP) classes? If so, you can typically begin taking them during your sophomore year. AP classes offer an opportunity for free college credits upon passing an AP test at the end of the year to incentivize your hard work and knowledge of the subject. If your school doesn’t have AP courses available, ask for alternatives that can reward your hard work with some college credits – free of charge.
5. I’m struggling with a class, where can I get help?
There’s no shame in asking for help! Most, if not, all students in high school need assistance with coursework at some point. These classes can be tough, especially as a new freshman navigating through a new transition into high school. Your school may offer some resources, like a before or after school program that focuses on private lessons and office hours with faculty/staff for some extra help. By connecting with your school counselor, you’ll have a clear understanding on the tools your school has in place to help its students succeed.
6. When should I start thinking about my future?
A general, but great question to ask! Thankfully, your school counselor was born for this question and will have plenty of insight for you to consider. Thinking about your future can be overwhelming, so having the support to guide you can make or break your planning process. As a first-year student, you probably have no idea where to even begin. And guess what? That’s totally normal! It’s never too early to start up these conversations with your friends, champions, and counselors to explore the endless possibilities your future can hold.
7. How should I start exploring different careers?
There are all different ways to explore your careers, sometimes through internships, volunteering, extracurriculars, etc. Your counselor will likely have information about local opportunities for students at your school. Exploring different careers will help you get to know yourself, so it’s worth looking into!
No matter the questions you ask, establishing a relationship with your school counselor as a high school freshman will benefit you. They are there to help you! Don’t hesitate to make an appointment if you ever need a listening ear or have questions, school-related or not.