Q&A Bad Guidance Counselor

What if your counselor isn’t very helpful?

Guidance counselors are notoriously overworked. Often, there will be a student to counselor ratio of something like 400:1. If you are worried about your recommendation, fear not. Colleges are aware of the situation and thus will not penalize students for a generic counselor recommendation letter. A good one is definitely an added bonus that can be valuable to an applicant, but a generic one will just be neutral. If you’re still concerned, offer to ghost-write a recommendation for your counselor. This means that you write the recommendation yourself with all the important information you’d like to include and then you hand it over to the counselor to edit and send it. That way, the counselor can really let you shine but still make sure that the information is factually accurate.

However, if you are worried that your guidance counselor isn’t helping you with the college process, you have many different options. Take advantage of the many free resources available to you. The Collegiate (especially the mentoring program) is one of them. Go to your local library and read everything you can get your hands on regarding the college process. Some of my favorites include How to Be a High School Superstar: A Revolutionary Plan to Get into College by Standing Out (Without Burning Out), Looking Beyond the Ivy Leagueu, Cool Colleges, College UnrankedThe Early Admissions Game, and The Gatekeepers. There are literally hundreds of others that all have their merits as well. If you do this kind of research, you will be at a true advantage, even over your peers with excellent guidance counselors. You will have a firm grasp of the college process and will have done quite a bit of thinking about what schools are right for you.

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