Counseling Department Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I schedule a meeting with my counselor? To whom do I go and is it smart to meet with my counselor just so I can introduce myself?
- What do I do if my counselor is unavailable when I need to talk to him/her?
- Are there other staff members who can answer guidance questions besides my counselor in case he/she is busy?
- Where can I find a list of activities that I can be involved in and how can I get information on activities’ dates?
- What programs are there for new students entering the school from other counties, states, or countries?
- Where can I get Student Service Learning forms? When do these forms need to be turned in? Is there a deadline?
- By what date should a student sign up for summer school?
- Is there is a way students can select their teacher for a particular course? Teachers have different styles of teaching and students have different learning styles, so a student may have more success with one teacher than another.
- How should I choose my classes? What classes look better to colleges? When comparing grades for honors, regular and AP classes, which looks better for a student to have: an A in a regular class or a C in a honors/AP class?
- Is it better to have more than two world languages credits?
- How can I get information about colleges and careers?
- Which information do I get from the Counseling Office, which from the Career Center, and which from the Registrar?
- What does it mean if I have good grades but my SAT scores are not high?
- Do colleges take heavy consideration of students’ involvement in extracurricular activities?
- Do colleges give more consideration to those students in the Magnet and CAP programs?
- What is CAC? What does it do for me? Who belongs? How does one join?
To schedule a meeting with your counselor, you may come to the counseling office and pick up a green appointment request form. The form is self-explanatory. Fill out this form and give it to one of the secretaries. It is, indeed smart to meet with your counselor and introduce yourself. This way, your counselor gets to know you and a relationship is established.
If your counselor is unavailable you can do any of the following: Make an appointment using the green appointment sheet explaining what you want to discuss. The counselor will get back to you.
If it is an emergency please let the secretary or another counselor know. There are other counselors available and they may be able to help you immediately. The secretary will help you find someone to talk to.
If no counselor is available and you feel an urgent need to talk to someone, you may go to an administrator in the main office or you may try to talk with the nurse.
If you are experiencing a crisis, please talk to an adult immediately. Here is the county crisis number (240) 777-4000 if you are not at school.
Other counselors, our guidance secretaries, the registrars and the Career
Information Coordinators may all be able to answer your question. Sometimes an administrator may be helpful depending on the question. There is also a central office School Counseling Services Unit where counselors may be able to help you with specific questions if no one locally can help you. The number is (301) 279-3593.
There is a list of school-sponsored activities in the Blair Student Plan Book. It includes everything from sports to clubs to theater. Also check the Blair website at http://www.mbhs.edu/. If you have any problem contacting the activity sponsor, ask your counselor for help.
Students new to Blair (other than 9th graders from the feeder schools) have an individual registration conference with their counselor. The purpose of this conference is to introduce students to the school culture and answer questions regarding school policies and procedures, as well as evaluating the student’s previous credits. Proof of residency is required for registration at Blair.
Student Service Learning forms are available in the administrative offices and from Mr. Hopkins. They need to be completely and properly filled out and turned in when you have completed your hours. It is preferred that you turn the hours in within the same school semester that you perform the service If you have questions about particular aspects of Student Service Learning or need information about what organizations are acceptable for service, contact Mr. Rob Hopkins, Robert_T_Hopkins@mcpsmd.org or by phone at 301-649-2844.
By what date should a student sign up for summer schoolThe date for summer school registration varies from year to year, but generally students need to be signed up for Semester 1 (typically begins around the Fourth of July) several weeks ahead of time. For second semester courses, which begin at the end of the first three-week session (around the 25th of July), students must be registered by early July. Registration materials are available in May in the Blair Counseling Office.
Is there is a way students can select their teacher for a particular course? Teachers have different styles of teaching and students have different learning styles, so a student may have more success with one teacher than another.
Although it is true that students have different styles of learning and teachers have different styles of teaching, a large part of life’s survival skills is learning how to adapt and work with various personalities and teaching styles. Since we change classes (and usually teachers) at the beginning of each semester, students have a great opportunity to familiarize themselves with a variety of styles. Some students view this as an impediment to learning, but others find that the teacher they weren’t so fond of early in the semester becomes one of their favorites by the end of the eighteen weeks, and they learn to appreciate the options of different classroom settings. If we were to match you with your “favorite” teachers for four years, what a rude awakening college and the world of work would be!! We also need to balance classes and teacher loads equitably.
How should I choose my classes? What classes look better to colleges? When comparing grades for honors, regular and AP classes, which looks better for a student to have: an A in a regular class or a C in a honors/AP class?
Students should consult with their parents, teachers and counselors in making course selections and selections of levels of courses. While consistency is important, the types of classes you take and the grades you earn are extremely important. We encourage students to seek out new academic experiences and exposure to new ideas and we have many course selection options. Meeting with a counselor to plan course selections and discuss college options would be beneficial in helping you decide whether or not you want to continue with a particular subject.
Generally speaking, colleges would like to see students challenge themselves to as great a degree as possible in high school. Colleges also recognize that students have strengths and weaknesses, and understand that not all students should take 7 honors/AP classes. Your high school program should reflect some attempts at honors/AP work if that interests you and motivates you to success. The selective colleges are interested in your Weighted GPA-the GPA that reflects the honors and advanced level courses you took. An A or B in an honors or advanced level class suitable for the student’s abilities is generally viewed more favorably than all A’s in less challenging classes. Students consistently making C’s in honors/AP classes should review their program with their counselor.
Yes, in the same sense that it is better to take several levels of other courses. Completion of advanced levels indicates the student’s desire to challenge himself or herself. World languages levels higher than level 2 give some advantage. Four years of high school and seven credits per year allow you, in theory, to take up to 28 credits by graduation. There is, therefore, ample opportunity to take more than two credits of world languages if you so desire.
There are several ways to get information about careers and colleges, and the Counseling Office and the Career Center are the places to start. We have standardized test registration packets (SAT’s and ACT’s), a listing of average SAT scores for hundreds of colleges, and ACT/SAT score equivalent guide, and counselors who will be happy to sit down with you to discuss different college options.
Check the Blair website under Career Center, http://career.mbhs.edu/ and listen to Infoflow for college related information.
There is a great deal of shared information among all the counseling offices. You may get help from any place, but generally:
The Career Center focuses on:
- College searches and information
- Career searches and information
- Financial aid and scholarship information
- College recruiters
- Testing information (SAT, PSAT, ACT, TOEFL)
- GED information
The Counselors focus on:
- Personal counseling sessions
- Scheduling of classes
- Conferences with students, parents, and teachers
- College advising and counseling
- Career advising and counseling
- Alternatives to college
- Edison High School of Technology information
- Night school or summer school information and registration
- Special counseling referrals
- Crisis resolution
The Registrar’s Office and Secretaries focus on:
Transcript requests for colleges, scholarships and jobs
- Enrollment of students
- Withdrawals of students
- Grades and grade changes
- Records management
The SAT tests are but one measure of how a student might do in a college environment. It’s also important to remember that a Verbal and Math composite score of 1000 is considered to be a good indicator of success in college. If you are doing A and B work in high school, challenging yourself with some honors/AP classes, have a desire to learn and continue challenging yourself, and you are an involved member of the school community, it sounds like you and your teachers are doing a fine job, and you would have an excellent chance of success after high school regardless of your SAT scores.
A general rule of thumb is that extracurricular activities count about 25% of the admissions decision. In discussions with several admissions counselors, deans and directors the decision is usually based on:
- 50% high school program and GPA/WGPA (which translates into your range of class position)
- 25% SAT scores (these may be weighted more at the most competitive and highly
- 25% Personal Qualities-as reflected in the extracurricular activities to which you have given significant amounts of time.
Colleges like to know what quality of contributions you have given to the activity. They also like to know if you exhibited leadership skills in the organization. Depth of involvement in activities is preferred, rather than a breadth of activities. Your sports and activities show what kind of broad interest you have as well as the time management skills you possess.
Selective colleges generally look for a transcript that demonstrates the most rigorous and challenging high school program of which that student is capable. The Magnet and CAP programs certainly meet those high standards. Students not in these programs at Blair High School may choose to complete an equally rigorous and challenging program with careful course selection. Consult with your school counselor.
The CAC is the Counseling Advisory Committee. This committee is designed to help the counseling department with communications to the Blair community and to help with special projects. The committee is made-up of parents and the resource counselor. We are interesting in expanding the membership to include students, teachers and administrators. Students, parents and teachers may join by expressing their interest to the resource counselor. We meet approximately every month.