Is it possible to get records from my old school guidance counselor?

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Hi, I hope it’s ok to post this here but I’m not sure where to ask.

I’ve been seeing new people for help with my mental health lately, and been especially looking back at my mental health as a child for a better understanding of my brain and my possible mental illnesses.

When I was in elementary school I saw the guidance counselor weekly for four years (grades 1-4). I think it would be really helpful for me and my mental health team to be able to see the records/notes from my old counselor. I’m just not sure if I’d be able to do that now that I’m an adult, or how I would go about it. If anyone has any idea if/how I can do this it’d be very appreciated!



6 thoughts on “Is it possible to get records from my old school guidance counselor?

  1. In some states, Washington and Michigan, schools are required to keep records for 100 years. It’s called a cumulative file, or cum file for short – with a long “u” so you don’t make that mistake. It will usually be held at the high school you graduated from.

    Go to the building secretary, or if it is a big district, the District office and ask for your cum file. You’ll need some identification.

    Good luck.

  2. Most counselors keep notes for 5 years before shredding. How much detail is in the notes varies by counselor. Most don’t have time for anything detailed and might only note key words as a reminder for the next session, for example, “problem with friend.”

  3. You need to call the records clerk or registration. Often, they work hand in hand because of the high rate of mobility and transient students in our society. There should be electronic records of your transcript. Some may still have paper copies, believe it or not.

  4. It will deends on your jurisdiction. Where I work we are required to keep all records for 5 years past your 18th b day. In practice we keep them for 6 years so we are not purging them each month. Talk to your school as they will be able to tell you their policy and where to go from there.

  5. They’re probably gone and might have a better chance if you are able to connect with the counselor themselves. Schools keep notes generally for memory taking purposes but if shared or formalized in any way they can be subject to subpoenas because then they can be considered part of your educational record. I know many counselors who shred these memory keeping notes each year just for liability sake. Practices vary by state though and maybe you did have a counselor who was working with a specific treatment plan and has records.

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