Take responsibility for your future

Seek help, guidance counselors guide the way through stressful college admissions process


Graphic Ethan Moyer

Online Editor Liza Armstrong writes that guidance is meant to help students that ask for it and not walk your hand through the whole process.

Liza Armstrong, Online Editor

Throughout my four years at Algonquin, I have heard constant grumblings from students saying that guidance has never helped them in the college process. That guidance has left them to their own devices to navigate the process of finding and applying to schools that match their criteria.

However, I have found that to be untrue. For me, my guidance counselor has been extremely helpful. This is because I went in with honesty on how far I was in the process, what I needed and what I wanted in a college. Because of this mindset, my counselor could help me find other schools to look into and the steps I needed to make sure I did not fall behind.

What I have found to be the problem is a lack of communication between students and guidance counselors. Students expect that guidance will schedule their appointments to help them through the application process, but that is not the case. As the ones applying, it’s our responsibility to make sure that we request the transcripts and other letters we need. More importantly, it’s our responsibility to communicate with guidance about what we need.

I have found that my guidance counselor helped me when I talked to her about what I needed. When I told her I had an early deadline, she made sure my materials were in on time. When I was having trouble contacting an admissions counselor because of a unique situation (the school had switched my major without telling me), she took time out of her day to help me figure it out. However, all of this happened because I asked for help.

From what I’ve seen, the issue that most students have with guidance and the college application process comes from students expecting their counselor to be the ones leading the process when it should come from them. As students, we need to learn that that is not how a guidance department operates. There are too many kids for counselors to know exactly what you need and nobody can know exactly what you need if you don’t tell them. Of course, there are some things that guidance could improve on, like explaining the coalition application (which I had to make a guidance appointment to figure out), but most of the complaining that I hear involves something that could be fixed if they just emailed their guidance counselor. So speak up and take the initiative when asking for help because that’s exactly what you’ll have to do when you leave Algonquin.