With access to your grades, your classes and your extracurriculars, your school counselor can and should play a big role when it comes to finding the right college for you. If you need help with any of these ten college search steps, all you have to do is ask!

1. Picking your classes. Many colleges prefer students to complete certain courses while in high school. Your school counselor can help you craft a schedule that appeals to admissions counselors and keeps you on track for graduation.

2. Constructing your list. Knowing your academic strengths and weaknesses, your school counselor can identify schools that are good matches for you...and can even open your eyes to schools you hadn't yet considered.

3. Understanding financial aid. For the lowdown on FAFSA and other financial aid opportunities, pay your school counselor's office a visit. They can tell you more about your options and keep you posted on important deadlines.

4. Getting recommendations. Because school counselors have inside knowledge of your academic history and long-term goals, they make great references. (At Siena, a recommendation letter from your school counselor is an application requirement.) 

5. Searching for scholarships. With robust lists of scholarship opportunities and an understanding of your interests and talents, your school counselor can narrow down some unique scholarships you may be eligible for.

6. Setting up a shadow day. Are there alumni from your high school that went off to the colleges on your list? Your school counselor has the connections you need to set up a visit or, better yet, a shadow day with those graduates.

7. Contacting potential schools. School counselors often have long-standing relationships with colleges and universities, and can serve as a point of contact when you're ready to reach out to a potential school.

8. Proofreading your essay. You already know you'll have to proofread your essay before you submit, so ask your school counselor to act as another set of eyes. If you haven't written yours yet, he or she might be able to help you get started, too. (More essay tips here.)

9. Comparing your offers. Because they know tuition is a major factor for most students, school counselors can assist in breaking down the numbers and comparing financial aid packages and scholarship offerings.

10. Making your decision. They can't commit to a school for you, but they can help you weigh the pros and cons of each of the schools on your list. And, once senior year ends, they'll send your final transcripts to your college.

The one thing you can't do from your school counselor's office? Experience Siena firsthand. Plan a visit to our campus, then let him or her know what you think! 

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