What Do High School Counselors Do? Preparing for College and More
As you enter high school, you begin an exciting new phase of your life. You’ll have the chance to try new activities, meet new friends, and learn more about what matters to you. You will have some new freedoms — that come with greater responsibilities, of course. It may be challenging to keep it all together sometimes, but by the time you graduate from high school, you’ll have earned skills that will serve you for life!
While teachers, coaches, and parents can help when times get tough, don’t forget about your high school counselor. You may be asking yourself, “What do high school counselors do?” The short answer is — a lot!
Your high school counselor’s job is to work with you one-on-one to keep you on track with academics, support your social and emotional health, and prepare you for postsecondary greatness. Here are just a few examples of how your high school counselor can set you up for success, both in and out of the classroom — and prepare you to live your best life after you graduate!
They Help You Stay on Track
On your first day of high school, expect to absorb a lot of new information: the layout of the building, your locker combination, your teachers’ names, and much more. Your high school counselor is busy during this time helping you and your peers adjust to everything. They may lead freshman orientations or assemblies to give out important information in a group setting.
As the school year gets underway, it’s a good idea to meet with your counselor individually so they can get to know you and go over your class schedule to ensure you are in the right classes for you. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions!
In the years that follow, your high school counselor will stay in your corner as a champion for your academic success. You may have the same counselor all through high school (if they go by last names), or you may have a different one each year who works specifically with a certain grade level. They will help you choose classes and go over what credits you need to earn your diploma. If you find yourself struggling academically, they can help you and your parents create a plan to help you stay on track to graduate. This may include attending summer school, working with your teachers, and helping you develop better study habits.
Your counselor can also help you get a jump start on earning college-level credits while you’re still in high school through the NC Career and College Promise. This program is free for eligible high school students and is a great way to help you pay for college.
They Support Your Mental Health
Studies show that mental health has become a big issue for teens. So, when you think, “What do high school counselors do?” understand they handle more than academics. If you’re having a hard time at school or at home, they’re a trusted adult you can turn to for help. Schedule an appointment to meet with your counselor to discuss your needs.
They Help to Resolve Conflicts
High school counselors are often experts at resolving conflicts. If you have a tense relationship with a teacher and it’s affecting your performance in their class, your counselor may host a meeting with you and your teacher to clear up any misunderstandings or miscommunications and set a plan to make sure you can thrive — not just survive — in the class.
If you experience bullying or harassment, tell your counselor as soon as possible. Everyone has the right to show up as their authentic self and feel safe in their school environment. When cyberbullying, rumormongering, or fighting happens at school, counselors can intervene with effective methods for conflict resolution and bullying prevention.
Some students may not feel comfortable informing an adult; they fear speaking up will only make them more of a target for bullies. Before you assume this, try talking to a counselor privately about your experience. Bring a friend with you for support, and be open and honest about your concerns. Trust that your counselor will find the best possible solution that prioritizes your safety and emotional well-being while preventing future harm to you. Plus, they’ll hold others accountable.
They Help You Plan for College and a Career
During your junior and senior years, you may have demanding classes, standardized testing, and college searches all happening at once, so the question, “What does a high school counselor do?” turns to college and career planning. Your high school counselor can answer questions you may have about preparing for the ACT or SAT, searching for colleges, applying for financial aid, and more!
Choosing a path after high school can feel intimidating if you’re not sure what you want to do. High school counselors may have you take career self-assessments to reveal your interests and skill sets. The results can direct you toward a career path and allow you to explore majors relevant to that career to pursue in college.
They’ll advise you on gathering recommendation letters — and yes, they can write one for you too! They can also show you how to craft a great resume, write a persuasive college essay, and kill it in college or job interviews!
Think of your high school counselor as your cheerleader on the sidelines, from your first day as a nervous freshman to the moment you cross the stage with your diploma. CFNC is also here to help North Carolina students as they plan, apply, and pay for college. Consider us your virtual high school counselor — no appointment necessary!
CFNC is Your Virtual High School Counselor
In addition to the resources available from your high school counselor, take advantage of the free online college planning resources from CFNC! Use our College Search to help you explore schools that may interest you. You can also submit applications and official high school transcripts through the CFNC Application Hub so you can stay organized and don’t miss any important deadlines. We also have helpful resources to walk you through applying for financial aid, grants, and scholarships.
It all starts when you create a CFNC account. Get started today!