For most students, particularly those in public schools, the guidance counselor recommendation required by most colleges is really not very important. It isn’t that colleges don’t care what you guidance counselor has to say. It’s just that they realize that at most schools, the guidance counselor does not have time to really get to know their students.
But, what if you are at a school where the guidance counselor knows you and what you have done. A good guidance counselor recommendation can give you a bump in the admissions process. And what is a “good” recommendation?
A good recommendation is one that is personal. One that talks about you as a person. One that address any issues you have had with scheduling classes or any blips in your transcript.
The reason that such a recommendation letter helps is that it gives the college a little more insight into who you are as a person. Did you want to double up in science classes but couldn’t because your school doesn’t allow it? The guidance counselor can mention that. Had an AP US History teacher that doesn’t believe in giving A’s and your B+ was the highest grade in the class? That can be mentioned too.
Colleges don’t really expect much from a guidance counselor recommendation so when they get one that clearly knows who you are, it catches their eye and generally will work to your benefit.
So, while you have time, and this is particularly true for students in 9th to 11th grade, get in to your counselor and try to get to know them. It won’t hurt if this doesn’t work but if it does, you may get a small bump in admissions.