There are two types of college counselors. One works with college-bound high school students and other individuals hoping to start, or continue, their college education. The other kind of college counselor works on campuses, advising and working with students who are already enrolled in a degree program.
As a high school student, it can be very difficult to narrow down a list of possible colleges to the handful or so the student will actually apply for. Trying to find the school with the best program for a student's future career goals can be a challenge, which is why many parents may choose to work with a college counselor. The college counselor can help a student to choose colleges, fill out applications, gather letters of recommendation, and complete college essays. Most high school counselors are trained as college counselors. Parents may also choose to hire a private, or independent, college counselor.
The goal of an independent college counselor, one hired by the student's family, is to get the student into a college that will best fit his needs. High school counselors perform the same task, but may have less time to spend with each individual student. Both types of pre-college counselors, however, can walk the student through each step of the college application process, from taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SATs) to sending in the final paperwork needed for admission and registration.
Once a student has made it to college, there is another type of college counselor for him or her to work with. It is not uncommon for a new student to have difficulty adjusting to college life. There are more responsibilities and a lot more independence. There may also be problems with other students or other concerns a student may wish to talk to a counselor about.
College counselors, working on campus, also help students with their career goals. They may assist a student in researching and applying for graduate programs, or work with a student to help them find a position in their chosen career field. This may also mean helping students with course selection and academic skills.
Having the proper support, and having a trusted adviser to talk with when the student has questions, can have a huge impact on a student's decision to attend college. It can also effect how likely the student is to complete his degree with a high GPA (grade point average). College counselors, whether working with high school students or college students, can play a significant role in a student's success.