Want to see what questions your counselor answers? You can download a copy by clicking on the 2015-16 sample Common Application here — the School Report/Counselor Recommendation is on pages 10-11 of the sample application.
Here are a few tips about how to make sure you get these important supporting materials submitted on time and without stress.
1. Ask your counselor at your school for a copy of the documents that are included with the School Report — your transcript and the school profile.
2. Check your transcript for any errors and get those corrected.
3. Review the school profile so that you know whether you need to add information about your school in the Additional Information section of the Common App. The school profile is the “cheat sheet” your school provides to admissions officers and it helps admissions officers put your academic record in context. And that helps you! For example, you might go to a school that only offers a few honors courses. If your school profile tells the admissions officer that, then you don’t have to explain why you have only a few honors courses on your transcript.
4. Make sure you follow your school’s policies for how to request that these supporting materials be sent. You may have to more than just invite and assign through the Common App. For example, you might have to fill out a form or make a request online through another system used by your school.
5. Pay attention to the information below that explains how your counselor is going to submit these materials. Your counselor may choose to submit the School Report online through the Common App, online through another service (like Naviance), or by mail. If it is going by mail, you need to print the form and take it to your counselor (along with an addressed and postage paid envelope).
5. Mark your calendar for when to ask your counselor to submit the follow-on Midyear Report — it should be sent once you have received your grades for the first term of 12th grade — usually sometime in late January or early February.
6. Also mark your calendar for when to ask your counselor to submit the Final Report — the one that shows you have officially graduated from high school! The Final Report only needs to be sent to the college where you are enrolling.
Your counselor will also be submitting a Counselor Recommendation if it is required by the college. It is a subjective recommendation from your counselor, and because a good recommendation takes time and thoughtfulness to write, give your counselor any information he or she will need (or asks for) early in the fall of 12th grade.
For example if you want your counselor to address something negative in your record, like a bad grade or a disciplinary issue, then you should definitely speak with him or her early in the year. Ask nicely and always be polite so your counselor can be a strong advocate for you.