High School Guidance Counselor FAQ

Explore the most commonly asked questions about high school guidance counselors.

Your high school guidance counselor is extremely helpful when applying to college. If you don’t know how to use your guidance counselor or are looking for more information on how a counselor can help you, this FAQ can answer all your counselor questions.

What does a guidance counselor do?

Your high school guidance counselor is there to help you succeed in high school and college. They do just about everything.

While guidance counselors are a great resource for college prep, they are also trained to help students with other issues.

Guidance counselors help students plan their high school schedule, offer study advice, help students search for colleges, fill out applications, find scholarships, and choose extracurricular activities that look good on resumes. They can help you find jobs and internships and write letters of recommendation. Guidance counselors are also employed to be an advocate for student emotional and mental health.

When should I first see my guidance counselor?

If you haven’t already met your guidance counselor, you can always just stop in or schedule a quick appointment to say hello. As a freshman or sophomore, you can see your guidance counselor to go over your schedule and make sure you’re on track to graduate.

By junior or senior year, it’s a good idea to meet with your counselor more frequently. You’ll probably have questions about your college search, tests, and essays or maybe just want some advice. The more you know your guidance counselor, the better help he or she will be.

Even if you’ve never met your guidance counselor, there’s nothing wrong with making your first appointment. For step by step instructions on when to visit your counselor, visit our High School Guidance Counselor Timeline.

What if I don’t like my guidance counselor?

First, you should stop and ask yourself, “Why don’t I like my guidance counselor?” A counselor’s priority is to help you, but they can’t do everything. If you expect them to not only help you but to do everything for you, you might be overstepping your bounds. Try to go in and talk with your counselor about what the issue might be. They might have just made a mistake or had a bad day.

If you’ve gone through all the proper steps to fix the situation but still don’t like your guidance counselor, speak to your principal about switching counselors. Don’t talk about how much you don’t like the counselor, and instead focus on wanting to switch because it will be helpful for your success in school. Switching counselors is sometimes a hassle for the school, so if you are respectful of everyone, the principal will be more willing to help you.

If your school only has one counselor, or you would simply rather find out everything for yourself, we can help. We have tons of information for students like you in our Getting Started with Your College Planning section.

What if I don’t have a guidance counselor?

It might be that you just don’t know where they are. Ask your school secretaries or a teacher you know if your school has a guidance counselor.

If your school really doesn’t have a counselor, ask a teacher that you know and trust to help you out. Be sure to talk to the principal about what options you have instead of a guidance counselor or if there is someone else in the school that can function in place of a counselor.

If I have a problem, can I talk to a guidance counselor?

While guidance counselors are a great resource for college prep, they are also trained to help students with other issues. If you are feeling overwhelmed or are worried about bullying, your health or other issues, don’t hesitate to visit your counselor today.

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