It happens every year – school counselors move or change jobs just like everyone else! But what do you do when it’s YOUR school counselor. You may have spent some time in his/her office, talking about colleges, or classes, or teachers, or just stuff that you’d talk to your counselor about. You’ve taken a little bit of time to let him/her get to know you – and now s/he’s left and won’t be there to write your letter of recommendation.
What should you do if your school counselor left?
Someone will write your letter of recommendation! Don’t worry about that. Your job now is to help that new person get to know you as much as possible, and help them write the best letter of recommendation they can possibly write for you.
Make an appointment to meet face-to-face.
Set up a time to meet with your new school counselor. When school is virtual, that’s a little bit more difficult, but e-mail and ask him/her to set aside a time slot to speak with you. Video is best if you aren’t going to school in person.
Prepare for that meeting.
Print out or e-mail your activities list or resume to the new school counselor. Include your GPA (unweighted), a list of the courses you’ve taken (especially if you have a good number of Honors/AP courses), and any honors you have won, both in and out of school.
Think about the three things you really want that counselor to know about you.
Are you diligent? Think of a story that illustrates that. Hard-working? Not super-distinct. Creative? SHOW THEM. Think of a few characteristics that are really important and fundamental to who you really are, that may not apply to other students at your school. See if you can give the new school counselor some interesting and unique things to say about you!
Help them out!
Put your best qualities in writing. Think about those things you’d want them to say in your letter of recommendation, and jot down a few sentences telling that story. Your new school counselor has a ton of work to do, so make it easy for them to get their job done!
Ask a few teachers to speak to the new counselor about you.
In an ideal world, the new school counselor would ask your teachers for a few pieces of information, but s/he may or may not have time to do that. Consider how many students your new counselor is working with – see if you can make it as easy as possible for him/her to hear great things about you!
College application season is stressful to begin with, and we know it’s frustrating when something changes that you didn’t expect. The best way to deal with your school counselor leaving is to help the new counselor in every way you can.
By the way – even if your school counselor knows you, and didn’t leave their job – they still have a lot of responsibility on their plate! Do your best to help them write the best letter of recommendation they can write for you. If they ask for a brag sheet, give them one! A resume? Give them that too! Ask a few teachers to speak to them just so they have some great feedback on you. And set up an appointment, even if they already know you, to update them on where you’re applying, what you’re most interested in studying, and anything else they should know about you before they write that letter!