I pit my school's ineffective counseling office. (mild, lame, long.)

Our school has a counseling office. Or at least, we’re supposed to have one. But you see, we don’t. No. Instead, we have a bunch of women who sit on their asses all day, gossipping.
Now, there are many reasons that I detest our guidance counseling office:

  1. They’ve stuck me in tenth grade English.
    I’m a junior. I’ve already taken American Literature, the expected junior lit class, because of differences between the curriculum at my old school and this one. At my old school, you took American Lit in tenth grade. Here, you take it in eleventh. Not a big problem, right?
    Of course, when I finished American Lit, they told me I’d have to take 10th grade lit and comp. No big deal, I mean, I can deal with the sophomores for an hour and a half every other day.
    Then I saw my schedule, and realized that they put me into a Magnet class. I do not belong in a magnet class. I took honors American Lit, so don’t you think I might be ready for a 10th grade honors class?
    I asked the counselor. Oh, no. We wanted to stick you in an honors class, but couldn’t. There isn’t a tenth grade honors class in that time slot.
    When I compared schedules to my sister (who is in the same position as me, junior taking tenth grade lit), though, it became apparent they were full of shit. She has 10th grade literature honors in the same block that I have 10th grade lit. magnet. Oh, well. I suppose I’ll suffer through it for a year. I mean, I’m only wasting an eighth of the time I’m here at school. I went to the first class this semester, got the syllabus, everything hunky-dory.
    But when I looked at the syllabus, it was like deja vu. I knew I’d seen this curriculum before… Oh, that’s right. I took this in ninth grade. At my old school, the curriculum of this school’s ninth and tenth grade literature was rolled into a one year class.
    So I’m retaking a course I got an A in. In an easier format. With a bunch of assholes who don’t shut up.
    All thanks to my friendly guidance counselors.

  2. I do not have my PSAT scores yet.
    Now, this I might understand. Might. If, you know, they told us that we wouldn’t have our scores yet. But they didn’t. They told us we’d have them by last week. I went to the guidance counselor today, and they told me that they’d have them for us “some time after New Year’s, when you come back from break.” What the fuck? Why? Oh, that’s right, because the lazy-ass guidance counselors have to go through our scores and check them. So that they can… they can… sit on their asses. That’s it. They need to know our scores so that they can sit on their asses.
    It’s the only reasonable explanation.
    Now, I won’t get my PSATs, which I’ve been fretting about for the past two weeks, until January. Asshats.

3.They charge you to get a copy of your transcript.
Now, I could see this as being reasonable if, and only if, they also charged you for printing anything out from the school computers. But they don’t. The guidance counselors charge you for getting a copy of your transcript, so that you send it to a college that they didn’t help you find. I mean, they helped put you in all the right classes and graduate, right (wrong, for the sarcasm impaired)? They only deserve just compensation for all the hard work they’ve done.

Fuck you, lazy assholes. Find another job where you don’t screw with my life.

Have your parents called, or come down to the school to deal with that class scheduling problem? Around here, if you don’t happen to be assigned one of the competant counselors, the only thing that’ll light a fire under the others is the threat of parent involvement. If that doesn’t do the job, get thee to your assistant principal and raise hell.

As for the transcript thing, official ones cost a bit of cash to be printed and sealed and sprinkled with holy water and then mailed and so are generally a pain. For the counseling secretary. Charging a small fee is reasonable for those and cuts down on frivolous requests. I’ve never worked at a school that didn’t charge for them.

Otherwise, yes, I agree that lazy people not doing their jobs is horrid. You could see it as good practice for when this will happen to you in the workplace. And count yourself lucky you don’t have my old highschool counselor. She told me the only college in the entire state of california that offered a biology major was UC Riverside. Now that’s bad.

When I had trouble getting my worthless guidance counselor to put me in the classes I wanted, I just asked her if she could kindly tell me how to change guidance counselors because I didn’t feel that she was helping me.

Wow, did that turn around fast. I got every class I wanted for the rest of my high school years. YMMV.

Personally, I think there are (or at least should be) two types of transcripts, offical and unoffical. Offical ones are what you described. Unoffical is a computer printout, meant for your (or your parents, depending on age) use. I think that you should be able to get an unoffical one anytime you like–after all, it’s all there in the computer. All the person has to do is pull the right info out of the database and send it to the printer.

Of course, my school finally got on the ball (they’ve been talking about online registration and the like ever since I entered and now that I’m a senior they are finally starting to get it going) and made your transcript available online. When all you need is a bit of data to enter into an online form (a grad school application, say, where you’ll send an offical one later), it’s really handy.

I ran into similar problems every time I changed schools. It was easier to just stick me in the required class rather than actually taking the time to read the descriptions and syllabus of my previous classes.

Is there any way your parents (because they probably won’t listen to you) could demand that you be given the chance to test out of that American lit class? If you’ve done the work, it’s really pointless for you to take the class again.Your parents may need to raise a stink, though. The administration often hates to take the time to test you and force a teacher to make up and grade a test.

Also, the class your sister is in may already be full. Not much you can do about that. Though if your parents push, you may get to slide in.

I don’t know what guidance counselors do with PSAT or other standardized test scores but I heard the same story all throughout high school. I never knew just what they were “checking.”

Yes, transcripts cost money. The rationale I always got was what Ashes mentioned: it was supposed to be a deterrent to frivolous requests (though I never understood what is so frivolous about wanting your transcript). I agree that they should have official (cost something and are sprinkled with holy water) and unofficial versions–but that would require work.

All joking about work ethic aside, I’m sure many guidance counselors do work pretty hard. It’s just that a lot of what they do is likely behind the scenes kind of stuff that isn’t really “counseling.” I know ours were responsible for bringing in and handling college recruiters, managing the school job fairs, etc. I always thought the position should be renamed.

I took American Lit. already. It’d be Tenth grade lit I’d be testing out of.
And I know my sister’s class isn’t full, because a new student transferred into it three weeks ago.

There’s no way that sheet of paper costs $3, and it sure as hell didn’t take the registrar’s receptionist $3 worth of effort to click print, fold the thing, stuff it in an envelope, and then rubber-stamp the registrar’s name across the seal.

I know I wasn’t charged for official transcripts in high school, so I only have the college prices to go on.

Ah, yes. Counselors.

I teach high school. Our counselors office is a sucking pit of dispair. NOTHING is ever done correctly. Kids who couldn’t think their way out of paper bag are put in AP classes while smart, hard working kids atrophy in regular classes because someone keyed something in wrong and schedules aren’t changed for the first six weeks of school.

We tried to have a PSAT prep course this year. It crashed and burned because the conselors loaded it with seniors who needed an elective, any elective, to graduate. To this day it makes no sense to them why this was a problem.

Remedial classes for kids who didn’t pass the graduation exam lst year still haven’t been put together this year.

But the worst is the three weeks before graduation when they become absolute maniacs with the mantra that “every student MUST graduate”. They yank you out of your room in the middle of class (during the height of AP prep, mind!) to try to strong arm you into “letting a child make up work” from the last semester, or, occasionally, the LAST YEAR so that you can do a grade change and the student can graduate. When you suggest that, perhaps, little Johnny made nothing but 50s for the entire semester and that can’t be redeemed with an “extra credit packet” (I love this suggestion, like my class can be replicated by a stack of worksheets) six months latter, you get guilt tripped for ruining little JOhnny’s future.

Or my favorite: little Johnny is failing your class. He complains to the counselors , who tell him “oh well, you can test out” (we have clep-style tests). They are only offered once a semester or so, though, so they send the failing child back to your class, having more or less given him permission to sit there and fail, having sent the clear message that your class doesn’t really matter. Do you have any idea how a child or two with this atitude can posion the atmosphere of an entire class?

The really sad thing is that there is SUCH a need for creative, innovative counselors. We need someone that when faced with a fairly bright, extremely hard working student who happens to be illegal because her parents brought her here when she was 2, who burns with the desire to educate herself but hasn’t a penny and has to stay close to home because she is the only one in her house that has functional English–we need someone who can come up with the best place for that kid. Who knows what college to recommend to the super-bright cheerleader captain who is acing BC Calc as a junior but still dots her i’s with a heart. Who knows programs that will give the skills that lead to an honest living and that also appeal to the affable special ed student who is a nice guy that would drive a getaway car if anyone he met in a parking lot asked him to. What we don’t need are people who thump a junior college guide at all commers.

However, to defend your counselors a little, we still haven’t gotten PSAT scores, either, though some area schools have. So it is entirely possible that they aren’t in yet. I do feel your pain, though-you are just waiting for one set. I’m on pins and needles waiting for 75! (You should see me right before AP scores come out in the summer!)

What I’m wondering is, how the holy fuck did it take “a minimum of two weeks” for my registrar to do that for me in HS, on top of the little fee?

Yeah, I pretty much lived in the counseling offices for my senior year of HS, first because of transcripts, then applications, then scholarships, then making sure I would use my right hand to receive the diploma… I could probably still find any sheet in that office blindfolded, fill it out (in triplicate), and bring it to the secretary->registrar->my counselor-> registrar again. By then end of the year, my record for getting into and out of there, for anything, was 20 minutes, because no-one had any idea what they were doing.

Christ, it’s nice to be out.

It is thanks to people with this “everyone must graduate” and “(nearly) every kid must go to college” that in college, you spend much time surrounded by imbeciles, who never ought to have gone. For example, some people just need to work for a while, so that they know what a gift not having to flip burgers is. Instead, parents and guidance counselors tell these kids to go to college straight out of highschool, they don’t go to class, they smoke weed and drink and have sex and just waste four years of their lives only putting in enough effort to pass, rather than actually learning. I have been in classrooms where the attitude towards being challenged academically is absolutely hostile.

I admit being an intellectual elitist, but you know, there has to be a different expectation than everyone going to college, and well, i dunno, just these people think this and perpetuate the misery.

Manda JO, I had a senior once who was absent 45 days and had a numerical average of 18. The guidance counselor decided to put it to a vote of the faculty as to whether or not the student got credit in my class. (That was, of course, against all Board of Education policies.) It didn’t matter. The members of the faculty quickly shot her down.

After the graduation ceremony, the guidace counselor changed the record and the student received her diploma.

XWalrus2, after you discovered that you had already studied the 10th grade curriculum when you were in the 9th grade, did you let the counselors know? Did you tell your parents? Did you talk with an administrator? Did you let the teacher know?

Did you ask the guidance counselors why there is a delay in getting your PSAT scores back? Did they refuse to give you an answer? Maybe they are busy running off transcripts and scheduling classes for the second semester so that you will be in the ninth grade English class that you took in the eighth grade.

What do the guidance counselors do with the money that they get for each copy of the transcript? Are they all wearing Vera Wang clothes and having brow lifts?

At one time money ran out in our school and the teachers chipped in to buy paper so that we could run off materials for the students. But maybe you go to a private school.

Or maybe your counselors really are lazybutts and asshats. I hope things get better for you. You may have to demand better. Speak up for yourself there – not just here. But be sure your request is reasonable. (You do have the right to be in an appropriate English class.)

Yeah, I let them know. They said tough noogies, it’s a required class for graduation.

Yes, they said they have to “go over” the scores. Plus, they won’t give them out until we have another homeroom period, which won’t be until the Wednesday after break.

It sure beats me. I suppose it goes into the same fund as Christmas tree sales and parking permit fees.

That really does suck. But no, I go to a public school.

I know, I know. But in real life, I’m honestly not a confrontational person, and don’t like to cause trouble.

XWalrus2 welcome to the wonderful world of high school counselors. It’s just going to get worse.

The flip side of those who think no one should fail are those who think no one should succeed - in getting into college. It seems lots of counselors don’t want to break a kid’s heart by encouraging him or her to apply to a stretch school. (This isn’t new, my wife’s high school counselors did the same thing 35 years ago.) My daughter applied to a program that let her go to Berkley half time her senior year, and getting the paperwork through her counselor was horrendous. We only did it because my wife works at home, so could go to the school to bug her, and I had connections at the district offices. I wonder how many kids wind up in second rate colleges because their counselors tell them they can’t get in anywhere better.

BTW, I thought SAT and PSAT scores are available on the web these days. I’m surprised that you can be kept from them. When I went to school they came on big sheets, and those of us who worked in the college office pasted them on forms for every one of the 1500 students in our class .

then making sure I would use my right hand to receive the diploma.


My high school tried to threaten me with not graduating because I had to spend three out of the five days of ‘graduation practice’ at Pitt taking placement tests and registering for classes.

They said that if I didn’t practice the full five days I couldn’t graduate. After my stellar academic performance for four years, I told them that I thought I could manage to learn ‘left-together, right-together’ and ‘diploma left, shake right’ in two days. If they still insisted on denying me the diploma, I was quite sure that Pitt would understand.

They caved.