High School Counselor Week

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


April 11, 2024

Big Picture

This year, colleges must choose between fast financial aid offers, or accurate ones
NPR – April 5, 2024
Countless prospective college students are eager to commit to colleges, acceptances in hand, but are stuck waiting for one last piece of the puzzle: their college financial aid package. Those offers are coming later than normal this year, due to the troubled launch of the new FAFSA. Some institutions are doing anything they can to get those offers out as soon as possible – even if it means they aren’t a guarantee. College financial aid offices are in a tough position: They need to send aid offers out as soon as possible to give students time to weigh their options, but they also don’t yet trust the FAFSA data the Education Department is sending them, because it has been, ‘riddled with errors or incompletions…’

How has COVID-19 impacted Gen Z’s education?
USA Facts – April 4, 2024
Members of Gen Z, the generation born between 1997 and 2012, are between 12 and 27 years old this year: The youngest are now in sixth grade, and the oldest would have graduated from a four-year college five years ago. Across the board, their educational experience has been shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic and the integration of remote learning. What has this changing educational landscape meant? How educated is Gen Z, and how did the pandemic impact education?

Survey: These High Schools Report Declining Confidence in Properly Preparing Teens for the Future
The 74 – April 2, 2024
Public school educators in high poverty neighborhoods are less likely to rate themselves as doing a good job preparing high school students for college and the workforce compared to their colleagues in more affluent communities, a new study found. Here are 4 things to know about the findings in order to spark conversations that lead to improved opportunities:

Columns and Blogs

Giving Back
Post – April 10, 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


Banning teens from social media won’t help their mental health. Here’s what might
STAT – April 1, 2024
Adolescents face overwhelming mental health challenges. It is essential for public online spaces to be safe for teens to use. But the fear and focus on social media’s possible harms (on which the science is actually quite mixed) may prevent key decision- and policymakers from considering another possibility: social media holds unprecedented promise to support adolescent mental health, especially for teens facing barriers to treatment. Of course, the challenge here is finding interventions that actually work, rather than just offering platforms a way to pay lip service. But there is good news on that front.

The (AI) Counselor Is in
Inside Higher Ed – April 8, 2024
AI-powered college advising tools promise to free up time-strapped counselors and ‘democratize’ admissions expertise for less-privileged high schoolers. Will they? The College Guidance Network (CGN) held a virtual roundtable last week to introduce AVA, the newest artificial intelligence–powered college counseling assistant. Thousands showed up to the demonstration, many identifying themselves in the sidebar chat as high school counselors and independent admissions consultants. Angel Perez, president of NACAC, lent his organization’s considerable heft to the project by partnering with CGN on AVA’s launch. CGN emphasizes that AVA is not a replacement for counselors, and is not intended to do ‘human work’ that can not be replicated by any AI, no matter how trained. But it is a resource that may get students on the path toward college and free up counselors’ time. Read what school counselors and others have to say about the possibilities and possible concerns.


On Teens, Nutrition, and Exercise: How to Encourage Healthy Habits
Tufts Now (Tufts University) – April 9, 2024
Experts across Tufts outline the challenges for today’s teens when it comes to healthy eating and physical activity, and how parents and caregivers can help

To Help Boys, Should Schools Focus on Masculinity — or on Students’ Shared Humanity?
EdSurge – April 2, 2024
While data shows that girls and women on the whole are excelling in schools, boys and men have become a point of concern. Women graduate high school on time more often and earn more degrees. In early years, girls outperform boys in reading. The reasons appear to be complex, and ideas abound. However, many experts feel schools are neglecting healthy development for boys by inadvertently reinforcing sex- based biases, rather than emphasizing the traits all humans share, and the the natural tendency all people have for connection.

Admissions Process & Strategy

The Divergent Roads to Post-Secondary Success
Education Next – April 1, 2024
In this forum, Ryan Craig, author of Apprentice Nation: How the ‘Earn and Learn’ Alternative to Higher Education Will Create a Stronger and Fairer America, defends the expansion of apprenticeships. Ben Wildavsky, author of The Career Arts: Making the Most of College, Credentials, and Connections, argues for the enduring value of a college education.

4 College Admissions Trends Shaping Top Schools’ Decisions In 2024
Forbes – March 28, 2024
Ivy Day 2024, the day when top schools’ admissions decisions are released, is a pivotal moment to explore the evolving landscape of college admissions and anticipate future directions. This year’s transformations are reshaping college application strategies in profound ways. Let’s dive into the latest developments.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

In reversal, Education Department to reprocess all FAFSAs hit by tax error
Higher Ed Dive – April 5, 2024
The announcement reverses the department’s original plan to only reprocess the FAFSA forms that contained errors decreasing the amount of aid students were entitled to. Earlier this week, the department said it would reprocess the forms that approved students for too much aid only if asked by colleges. The change in plan stemmed from college and stakeholder feedback… The Education Department also said it had resolved the last issue preventing students whose parents do not have Social Security numbers from submitting the FAFSA online.

Here’s how to make key college decisions amid FAFSA delays
CNBC – April 8, 2024
Problems with the new FAFSA have delayed financial aid award letters, making it harder for students to make informed decisions about next year ahead of enrollment deadlines. In the meantime, applying for more private scholarships may help ease the burden of the cost of college. This could also be an opportunity for college hopefuls to weigh their options before factoring in aid…

FAFSA submissions from high school seniors are down 27.1%
Higher Ed Dive – April 9, 2024
But FAFSA submissions don’t represent the whole story, as they include applications that have errors that need to be corrected. FAFSA completions — those that have been processed by the U.S. Department of Education — are down a whopping 40% for high school seniors through March 29 compared to the year before, the National College Attainment Network found.

Career & Technical Education

America needs more skilled trade workers, here’s what’s being done about it
News Nation – April 9, 2024
America needs more skilled trade workers and data suggests states have taken notice. Last year, 47 states enacted 115 policies related to Career and Technical Education (CTE), according to Advance CTE, a nonprofit that represents state CTE directors. Those efforts have expanded work-based learning opportunities and funding for job training programs that go beyond the traditional high school and college learning model.

Community, student input key to align CTE to workforce needs
K-12 Dive – April 3, 2024
While there are many ways to develop career and technical education programming in a school district, experts say it’s important that what students learn dovetails with growing demands in the job market. Looking to community organizations and local government bodies like city councils can help identify partners who can teach and train students while they’re still in school


Opinion: How going back to the SAT could set back college student diversity
The Conversation – April 1, 2024
Earlier this year, a number of colleges announced they were going back to using the SAT and the ACT. Here, Joseph Soares, a professor of sociology, expert on higher education and proponent of test-optional admissions, answers a few questions about the rationale behind the colleges’ decision to require applicants to submit scores from standardized college admissions tests.

ACT could replace subject area testing as Mississippi graduation requirement
Magnolia Tribune (MS) – April 8, 2024
A bill that would replace the current system of subject area testing with a nationally recognized test—such as the ACT—to determine graduation eligibility for Mississippi high schoolers passed the floor of the House of Representatives with a vote of 103-6 late last week. Several members of the House had concerns about the testing change, and asked how using the ACT would be different as opposed to the current testing method. As the bill moves through conference, how assessment scores and ACT results will correlate will be one of several topics discussed…

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Teen Health

‘Behind the 8 Ball:’ How Research is Trying to Catch Up on Cannabis and Kids
The 74 – March 27, 2024
A new study reveals how many teens are using delta-8-THC, a weed-like product, but research is behind on pot’s more potent strains, one expert said. Delta-8-THC is of particular interest because despite health risks, it’s still widely considered to be legal at the federal level after the 2018 farm bill removed hemp from the list of controlled substances.

Meeting Students’ Needs for Emotional Support
Edutopia – April 9, 2024
A new survey finds that a large percentage of students don’t feel that they have an adult to turn to at school when they’re troubled. many students, particularly those with less social support and poorer mental health, are reluctant to seek emotional support from an adult at school. This may be due to mental health stigma (‘I will be judged by others’), cultural beliefs/norms about mental health (‘I just need to toughen up’), or lack of relationships (‘I’m not close to anyone’). So what can you do to increase emotional support seeking among students?


Students with disabilities often snared by subjective discipline rules
The Hechinger Report – April 3, 2024
Broad and subjective categories like insubordination, disobedience, disrespectful/minor disruption and inappropriate language are cited hundreds of thousands of times a year to justify removing students from school. Unfortunately, who gets caught up in a lot of the vagueness in the codes of conduct are students with disabilities. Federal law should offer students protections from being suspended for behavior that results from their disability, even if they are being disruptive or insubordinate. But those protections have significant limitations. At the same time, these subjective categories are almost tailor-made to trap students with disabilities, who might have trouble expressing or regulating themselves appropriately.