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What to know

Developing good relationships with some of your teachers and high school counselor is an important element of high school and in the college admissions process.

•  The goal of having good relationships with teachers and your counselor is to enhance your overall high school experience. Remember, these people potentially can offer you a lot. They

✔  Teach and counsel
✔  Mentor
✔  Open doors for you
✔  Offer career advice
✔  Sometimes even become good friends

•  At the same time, keep in mind that people who will write the strongest letters of recommendation for you are those who know and like you the best.

•  Admissions people pay a lot of attention to teacher and counselor recs because few people know high school students (including you) better than they do.

•  Ask your parents to get to know your counselor and teachers, as they can play a significant role in your having a good relationship with them.


What to know


•  At the beginning of school, make a point of introducing yourself to teachers, participate in class discussions, do homework and get papers on time. When you don’t understand something in class, ask the teacher for help and always be appreciative of whatever he or she does for you.

•  Remember, teachers don’t have to write letters of recommendation, so be cautious about taking for granted that they will automatically do this for you.



•  Colleges often call on high school counselors to get specific information about individual students or their applications. Therefore, the better your counselor knows you, the better the job he/she can do for you in the college admissions process.

•  It’s important for you to go out of your way to have a good relationship with your college counselor.

•  Even if you have little access to your counselor, there are positive ways of handling this situation.

✔  Smile and always be polite and respectful

✔  Be friendly

✔  Follow through with anything that is asked of you

✔  Say thank you for anything that is done for you, little or small


What to know

Freshman Year
Freshman year is an opportune time to begin forming good teacher relationships.

It‘s unlikely that you will have much involvement with your counselor, but be friendly and help him/her get to know you.

sophomore Year
During 10th grade, begin talking to your favorite teachers about their thoughts on different colleges. College admissions may seem far off, but hearing about colleges now will pave the way for a good college selection process during your senior year.

Stop by the counselor’s office every once in awhile to say hello.

junior Year
Solidify your teacher and counselor relationships during junior year. Decide which teachers you will ask to write recommendations and ask them before the school year ends.

Increase your interaction with your counselor and talk with him/her about your college list. Respond quickly to any counselor requests for information about your college plans.

senior Year
Senior year is when good teacher and counselor relationships really pay off. Go out of your way to provide them with whatever they need for the recommendations they write.


When to do it

Parents can play a big role in relationships with their children’s counselor and teachers. You can start by attending Back-To-School night functions to meet the teachers your child has. Become a respected, friendly, known quantity at the school. Make sure that all communications between you, the counselor and teachers are polite and constructive. When your child is a senior, do everything you can to help your child provide the counselor and teachers with organized, complete admissions materials.

by Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz
Excerpted from adMISSION POSSIBLE® (Sourcebooks, Inc, April 2012)

If you want to know more about this and other admissions topics, read
Getting into the Best Colleges for you
. Order it here!



adMISSION POSSIBLE® is committed to every student having access to the best college admissions advice available free
of charge, regardless of family background, financial resources, geographic location or attendance at a public or private school.

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