School Counselor Reports and Forms
Let’s talk a minute about school forms and reports that college or guidance counselors might be requesting from you and your parents. In the fall, your school counselor will be required to fill out a school counselor’s report for your college applications. It depends on what application format you are doing, but most are electronically submitted. Some are done via The Common App, which has more than 500 schools participating. Your counselor might also have to fill out a form on the Universal Application, as well. Many schools have joined a system called Naviance for form preparation and submission electronically. Other colleges and universities, particularly large state school systems with many campus locations, have their own unique forms linked to their websites. It is up your counselor to know which schools require which forms. This is why your school list finalization, done usually in the fall, is critical.
There are many students who are not prepared to make their final decision about schools in October, and that is ok. If you are not applying to any schools early, you do not have to lock down every single school by October, but your school counselor will want you and your parents to be working to finalize your list as soon as is practical in the early fall. It is all right to not have visited any colleges you are applying to when you apply. It is nice, but not required. Many schools offer a senior weekend in the fall specifically for high school seniors to visit and spend some time. Look into these programs if you have a number one choice that offers this; some even offer financial assistance for this weekend.
Once your list is completed, your school counselor must become busy putting together all the forms that must be submitted to each school. These are your: transcripts with both latest quarter or semester and cumulative GPA, mid-year report (which is a grade report with comments), and the school counselor report. These reports are forms. They are not created by your school or counselor. Most are forms that boxes are checked regarding attendance, participation, disciplinary actions (suspensions, expulsions, leaves of absence for extended periods, criminal actions, etc.), honor code, awards, achievements, extracurricular school awards, etc. There is also a small space for comments, dictated by the form, as to how many characters. Usually, the form has enough room for a few sentences or possibly a paragraph or two (think fewer than 250 words).
How does the school counselor write up this report? Many schools solicit two teacher recommendations; many are done through Naviance, which are not the same as your teacher recommendations for college. These are two teacher recommendations inside the school to the school counselor. There are also teacher comments from report cards, if applicable. Some large secondary schools do not have much room on report cards for teacher comments. In addition, many schools solicit a student resume of activities, which is also Naviance form or a format or template is given to the juniors this time of year. Need one, contact us for a free form! Finally, parents are often asked to fill out a parent recommendation form. Some schools direct specific questions for this from parents, whereas others simply offer a free from submission.
The parent recommendation is a great tool for the school counselor to learn about you from your parents about the person outside of school, and your own history up to junior year. Depending on how large your secondary school is, and how long you have been in attendance there, and even how long your counselor has been in his or her position, this recommendation can fill in so many gaps that your counselor doesn’t know or have time to find out. I often tell parents it is perfectly fine to brag a bit about their child and to share what cannot be seen from report cards or comments by teachers at meetings. Need some support, contact us, we can help advise how this summer should go in terms of chronology of what needs to happen and when.
The parent recommendation is the opportunity to share that story about how persistent you were learning to write or read when it was a challenge or how you created your own club or community service project in middle school. This is the time to mention how when you lost your grandparent how deeply you were impacted by this loss. A good opportunity to note even though you appear calm and in charge, you are really very organized, disciplined and always on top of your work because you have aspirations you feel are beyond you. It is also the form to detail any 504 challenges and how this has shaped you. This is the moment to recognize how proud you are to be on the losing team no matter what! It is difficult for a parent often to do this recommendation because he or she feels that he or she should be professional, thorough and somewhat objective. Completely unnecessary! Your parents are allowed to be parents!
This is usually the time of year when all of these forms need to be gathered by your school counselor before you go off for summer. Some even offer that you have your essay topic picked out and drafted. So although many of you are out for the summer, while others are preparing for your final SAT and ACT of the school year and exams, these need to be in the works for an effective and timely transition in the fall to your application! If you are completely unaware of any of these, perhaps this is a good time to check in with your school counselor and get a handle on the process, and the timeline you will be experiencing in the fall. Preparation and Planning make your college applications easier to get done and far less stressful!