If you’re a high school student or parents of one, college is a big deal with a bunch of questions.
To help you prepare, here are the top 35 college counselor questions to ask by subject:
|1. What courses do I need to take to be ready for college in general?|
|2. Is my current class schedule good enough to satisfy college admission requirements?|
|3. Are my current grades high enough to get into my first choice colleges?|
|4. Which classes should I take before graduating to help me get into my preferred college?|
|5. Which AP classes should I take if I want to get into my preferred college?|
Standardized Testing Questions
|6. Should I take either the ACT or SAT? Do I need to take both?|
|7. How should I get ready to take either the SAT or ACT?|
|8. How high do my test scores need to be?|
|9. Should I take the PSAT and, if so, when’s the best time to take it?|
|10. Does my PSAT score qualify me for any scholarships?|
|11. Should I take either the SAT Subject Tests and AP Exams?|
Financial Aid & Scholarship Questions
|12. How do I apply for financial aid and where do I get started?|
|13. Where can I start researching potential scholarships that are out there?|
|14. How is the financial aid application process different from the admissions process?|
|15. Are there any good scholarships or awards that you think I could qualify for?|
|16. How much will my family’s finances affect my scholarship search?|
General Timeline Questions
|17. How far in advance should I start thinking about getting ready for college?|
|18. What’s the best high school class schedule for me to take before graduation?|
|19. When should I start my looking at applying to colleges?|
|20. How early can I start asking people for recommendation letters and work on my personal essay?|
College Selection Questions
|21. How do I find the best college or university that fits me?|
|22. Do you have college handbooks or other guides that I can browse or borrow?|
|23. Is there a college fair happening anywhere soon that I can check out?|
|24. Are there any colleges that you think I should try applying to right now?|
|25. Have you scheduled any college planning sessions at our school yet?|
|26. What colleges have other recent graduates been accepted to already?|
College Admissions Questions
|27. What colleges have other recent graduates been accepted to already?|
|28. What are the admissions officers looking for in my personal essay?|
|29. Who should I ask to write my recommendation letters?|
|30. What usually happens during an interview?|
|31. Is it better to apply for Early Decision or Early Action or not?|
|32. What should I do during a campus visit?|
|33. What are some common application mistakes that I can avoid ahead of time?|
|34. What kinds of high school grades do colleges look at?|
|35. Can I see my transcript to see if there’s anywhere I need to improve before graduation?|
General Tips To Consider
Before you ask these questions when you see your college counselor, bear these general tips in mind too that will help your overall planning strategy.
Never Too Early To Start Planning – The common consensus that a lot of high school kids follow is to start seriously looking at colleges in junior year and continue throughout the senior year. The fact is, with competition for top schools increasing every year, it’s never too early to at least start thinking about schools you’re interested in attending.
If you’re a freshman with dreams about an Ivy League school, then, by all means, work towards that dream. But do so in a helpful way. Do your research, see what programs look interesting to you, go online and check out what their admissions requirements are.
Also, don’t be afraid to have a list of top schools to go after. You may have one particular dream school in mind, but put together a top five list for safety and to keep stress low.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Academic Challenges – A lot of high school students ask themselves the following question “do I stick with an easy class schedule to rack up A’s or take honors or AP classes to make my transcript look better?”
It’s tempting to stick with the light schedule if you’re bright because you think that a stack of A’s will look good to college admissions boards. The truth is, most of those boards aren’t looking at the letter grades alone.
What they’re also looking at is if you’ve ever taken on the challenge of higher-level classes and how you handled them. College classes are more in-depth and require greater critical thinking skills than regular high school classes normally provide.
If you decide to take AP or honors courses and do well in them, admissions officers will notice and be aware that you can handle a difficult workload right off the bat. The key though, if you do sign up for these courses, is to balance them intelligently with your high school prerequisites and choose subjects you’re genuinely interested in pursuing forward.
Think About Financial Aid – Unless your family is able to fully pay for a college education, the chances are you’re going to have to apply for financial aid. It’s not all doom and gloom though; there are plenty of scholarship opportunities out there to help pay for school.
For example, the National Merit Scholarship competition grants scholarships to a wide variety of high achieving students across the country. There are also plenty of scholarships offered through corporations across the country too.
Very often, children of parents who work for these corporations are eligible, so check with your parents to see if their workplace has a scholarship program in place. Furthermore, Pell Grants, college-funded scholarships, and other loan options are available too.
The point is, start looking at various funding options to see which ones you are eligible for early on. It will make the overall college application process less stressful, and make less hesitant to apply to certain schools because you don’t think you’ll be able to pay for tuition.
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