High School Counselor Week

Weekly stories, facts, trends, and other information from around the country


April 18, 2024

Big Picture

For Many Teachers, Gun Lockdowns and School Shooting Fears Are Now Inescapable
The 74 – April 11, 2024
Teachers are routinely forced to hide in their classrooms and most fear a shooting could unfold at their workplace amid an unprecedented spike in school gun violence over the last several years, a new Pew Research Center survey reveals.

Amid clamor from protesters, Tennessee Senate passes bill to arm some teachers
Chalkbeat – April 10, 2024
Amid outbursts from gun control advocates in the spectator gallery, Tennessee’s GOP-dominated Senate passed a bill Tuesday to allow some teachers and staff to carry concealed handguns in public schools. The legislation still awaits a vote by the full House. If it passes there, Tennessee will be on the verge of enacting a law that most teachers and parents oppose.

College enrollment is up. The financial aid mess could bring it crashing down.
Vox – April 12, 2024
The number of first-time filers has dropped 40 percent since the new FAFSA’s bungled rollout.

Columns and Blogs

FAFSA Foul-Ups? Apply Anyway (For Your Students)
Post – April 17, 2024
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D.

What can you do if you’re waitlisted from some of your favorite schools?
Post – April 10, 2024
College Advice & Timely Tips with Lee Bierer


School counselors could help female high schoolers erase the STEM gender gap
eSchool News – April 16, 2024
New research finds that female students may be more likely to stick with STEM curriculum when they receive support from high school counselors. In 2013, the Texas legislature introduced ‘endorsements,’ which function like college majors to provide high school students the opportunity to specialize in an area aligned with their long-term goals. To earn an endorsement, Texas students must take specific course sequences, or paths, in one or more areas of focus. The first students to graduate under the new endorsement system did not receive formal guidance about their endorsement tracks after their initial choicee. However, in 2019, the school district added a check-in session with school counselors for all students to support them in completing their endorsements. The gender gap in completing the STEM endorsement then almost completely disappeared, declining from 6.2% in 2018 to 0.8% in 2019.

Opinion: High school counselors help navigate a challenging college application process
NJ.com – April 13, 2024
To adequately support historically disadvantaged students and ensure that they have a fighting chance for acceptance to and affordability of four-year colleges, counselors serving vulnerable student populations must be equipped with an expanded array of resources to tackle these obstacles effectively. We must anticipate the trajectory of a rapidly evolving landscape while also remaining flexible to adapt to changes, ensuring students receive optimal guidance and support. Counselors at schools dedicated to serving vulnerable students stand on the frontlines, guiding students through the process of shaping their futures. It’s our duty to advocate for them and empower them to overcome the barriers standing in their way. We know that they will rise to the occasion when given adequate support: I’ve seen it happen at my own school.


How to Help Your Teen Deal With a Friendship Breakup
Parents – April 10, 2024
Friend breakups sometimes hurt more than romantic ones. Here’s how to help your teen if they’re dealing with the loss of a friendship.

The 1 Simple Thing You Can Do To Cut Down On Your Teen’s Phone Use
Huffington Post – April 17, 2024
One hopeful takeaway from a new study is that teens and parents share some views of the challenges that screens present in our lives. We are all on the same boat, so to speak, when it comes to navigating these new waters. Parents today have a unique opportunity to shape the way that teens use their phones. In addition, experts say that the one thing parents control most — their own phone use — can be a powerful influence on teens’ relationship to technology.


Why is there an absenteeism pandemic in US schools?
CNN – April 13, 2024
More than a quarter of US public-school students were ‘chronically absent’ during the last year – missing 10% or more of the school days. ‘Some of this is transportation difficulties, the need to work, other poverty-related factors,’ says Nat Malkus of the American Enterprise Institute. ‘But the real cause is the change that happened over the pandemic.’


Admissions Process & Strategy

3 charts unpacking the latest credential completion data
Higher Ed Dive – April 16, 2024
The number of undergraduates who completed a credential in the 2022-23 academic year fell 2.8% compared to the year prior, representing a decline of about 99,000 students, according to the latest data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. The dip marks the second-straight year of decreases — a trend likely due to falling student headcounts during the coronavirus pandemic

Podcast: Reimagining College — Big Ideas for the Future of Higher Education
The 74 – April 9, 2024
Stacey Childress, Senior Advisor on Education at McKinsey, joins us for the second episode of a two-part series weighing in on a recent analysis of higher education by two venture capitalists and their proposed solutions. (Full transcript provided)

Universities Need A New Language To Attract Students, Fill Majors And Create A Future-Proof Generation Of Graduates
Forbes – April 14, 2024
Colleges and universities, it seems, have finally come to grips with new learners and new traditional students. (It took far too long to get beyond the non-traditional label.) But these same institutions have done precious little — or few have done much — to create new degree paths or programs of study to accommodate them.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

After the FAFSA Quake, a Flood of Corrections
Inside Higher Ed – April 15, 2024
Up to 16 percent of the 7 million FASFA forms submitted so far include student errors and require corrections, far more than usual. ‘Mistakes are more likely from low-income students who do not have someone to walk them through the process,’ said one source. ‘But even most counselors are in the dark because this form is new. It’s a recipe for disaster.’ Student errors aren’t the only mistakes gumming up the works. The past few weeks have also brought to light several calculation errors from the department, meaning nearly 20 percent of all Institutional Student Information Records, or ISIRs, will need to be reprocessed before accurate aid information can be sent to students.

College aid officials warn FAFSA mess will delay many grant and loan offers until May
NBC News – April 11, 2024
Leaders of the college financial aid system assailed the Education Department over this year’s FAFSA debacle, warning that ongoing delays are extending institutions’ timelines for offering packages that many students’ decisions hinge on. The hearing by the GOP-led House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development came one day after Education Department officials disclosed that at least 30% of the FAFSA forms submitted so far this year could contain errors resulting from widespread application glitches or other issues.

If You’re a Mixed-Status Student Still Struggling With FAFSA, You Have Options
KQED (CA) – April 12, 2024
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA this year has been complicated, to say the least. Especially if your family is considered ‘mixed status’ — when a student has a Social Security number but one parent does not, due to their immigration status. Keep reading to learn what advice for mixed-status families KQED heard from college access advisors and financial aid offices.

Career & Technical Education

Trades make a comeback with Gen Z workers
Axios – April 14, 2024
America’s skilled trades — from plumbing to welding to construction — need more workers as boomers retire. Gen Z-ers are stepping up to fill the gaps.

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College Virtual Tours

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Browse a collection of virtual campus tours from over 2,000 colleges now on GradBetter. Counselors can sign up and easily share curated lists with students. (see all tours map here)

Teen Health

Teenagers who use internet to excess ‘more likely to skip school’
The Guardian – April 16, 2024
But truancy and illness-related absences can be reversed with good sleeping habits and strong family ties, study suggests

This is the No. 1 thing that influences Gen Z’s happiness, a new survey shows
CNBC – April 10, 2024
One of the most significant findings of the survey is that what influences the happiness of Gen Zers the most is ‘their sense of purpose at work or school.’ Yet, ‘between 43% and 49% of Gen Zers do not feel what they do each day is interesting, important or motivating,’ the report states.


Disproportionality in Special Education Fueled by Implicit Bias
NEA Today – April 16, 2024
Educators chip away at racial and ethnic inequities in special education to support students, no matter their race, gender, the language they speak, or ability.

Student Voices

Should colleges and universities bring back SATs and ACTs?
EdSource – April 12, 2024
To learn what university students think about the potential return of standardized testing, EdSource’s California Student Journalism Corps asked them the following questions at seven California colleges and universities:

What Students Are Saying About Why School Absences Have ‘Exploded’
The New York Times – April 1, 2024
We asked studehts: Had their relationship to school — and school attendance — changed since the pandemic? And if so, what did they make of this shift? Many students said, yes, school feels different now. They pointed to remote learning changing their routines, an increase in anxiety and a decrease in motivation, the ease of making up schoolwork online and much more. Read their responses in full below.