Getting into college without the help of a school guidance counselor is like crossing the middle of a desert without a canteen. But what if your counselor is a washout? Here is one student's...

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Getting into college without the help of a school guidance counselor is like crossing the middle of a desert without a canteen.

But what if your counselor is a washout? Here is one student’s successful strategy:

“During my senior year of high school, I was assigned to a guidance counselor who was not particularly helpful. I took some initiative and began approaching another counselor who took an active interest in his students.

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“By greeting him in the hallway and asking for his advice on colleges and future plans, I ended up creating a rapport with him. He began reminding me of application deadlines and strongly suggested several scholarships for which he thought I should apply.

“By graduation, I had racked up three scholarships that paid for my tuition to the University of Washington.”

— Jennifer Lloyd, 2000 graduate of Lakes High School in Lakewood, June graduate of the University of Washington, and 2004 intern at The Seattle Times