High School Counselor Week

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


May 30, 2024

Big Picture

‘Unacceptable gaps persist’: A new report details higher ed’s racial and ethnic disparities
Higher Ed Dive – May 21, 2024
Racial and ethnic disparities in college degree completion persist despite increasing student diversity in higher education, according to a new report from the American Council on Education. Educational attainment has ticked up across all racial and ethnic groups, according to the report, but increases among White and Asian students outpaced all other students, deepening existing disparities.

New Hampshire’s limits on teaching on race and gender are unconstitutional, judge says
ABC News – May 29, 2024
A federal judge has struck down New Hampshire’s nearly 3-year-old law limiting what teachers can say about race, gender, sexual orientation, disability and other topics in public schools as unconstitutionally vague. Teachers found to have violated the law could face discipline including the possible loss of their licenses, and could also face lawsuits. Educators and administrators who sued the state said they were confused about what they could legally teach. They said the law violates their freedom of speech, and they feared for their jobs.

Gen Z drives a teen-job comeback
Axios – May 27, 2024
Gen Z is reversing a decades-long decline in teen employment. Why it matters: Working for pay can be a key rite of passage for teens as they grow up, but it’s not nearly as common as it used to be. ‘There is something lost when there are more young people who enter the workforce after college with no work experience…’

Columns and Blogs

Commencement 2024
Post – May 28, 2024
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D.

Find the Free Money — Merit Scholarship Money Makes Cents!
Post – May 22, 2024
College Advice & Timely Tips with Lee Bierer


America’s critical shortage of school counselors
Axios – May 26, 2024
The American West and Midwest lead the U.S. with the highest student-to-school counselor ratios, an Axios review of federal data has found. Schools in these regions also have some of the highest rates of racial resegregation in states over the last 30 years. Experts say the disparity of school counselor access disproportionately hurts students of color seeking mental health help or advice in applying to college in a post-affirmative action world. The growing shortage of school counselors is also hitting schools amid a rise in social media bullying and school shootings. The American School Counselor Association recommends that states pass legislation or introduce policies that offer alternative licensing options and pay incentives to attract more school counselors.


Is My Child OK? Warning Signs Kids and Teens are Stressed
Boys & Girls Clubs of America – May 26, 2024
Parents, family members and mentors are often the first to recognize signs of anxiety in children and teens and to help them learn coping skills to navigate challenging times. How do kids and teens show they’re stressed or experiencing anxiety? Stress and anxiety in children and teens can show up in physical, emotional and behavioral ways. These signs are relatively consistent throughout children of all ages; however, some indicators are less obvious than others.

Parents are primed for a smartphone ‘revolt,’ says this expert
Today – May 27, 2024
Parents are overprotecting children in the real world and underprotecting them online, says Jonathan Haidt, author ‘The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness.’ ‘It’s basically the loss of childhood in the real world. When kids are rooted in real relationships, they’re not washed away by social media. People say, ‘Phones are here to stay.’ Well, cars are here to stay, but we don’t let 11-year-olds drive them.’ Haidt thinks parents are ready to ‘revolt’ and that by the end of 2025, the role of phones and screens in kids’ lives will look completely different.


Generation Swipe’: What a new era of social media regulation means for young people
ABC News – May 24, 2024
Despite 13 being the youngest legal age to sign up for most social media platforms, a 2023 advisory issued by the U.S. Surgeon General found that 40% of children ages eight through 12 remain active social media users. We take a look at how social media affects kids, and the calls for oversight.


Admissions Process & Strategy

Are High School Graduates Ready For College?
Forbes – May 28, 2024
Four out of 10 undergraduates leave college without a degree. Two inconvenient facts—the ill-preparedness of many high school students and the increasing number of college dropouts—signal bad news for young people seeking opportunity. It is time to recognize that there are alternative and better ways to prepare young people for adult success, including apprenticeships and apprenticeship degrees. Schools can also continue to expand K-12 programs that create connections for high school students with colleges, such as dual enrollment programs, which have a positive impact on several key outcomes

Nonacademic Factors to Consider When Choosing a College
U.S. News & World Report – May 28, 2024
Although attending college is about getting an education, potential students don’t pick an institution based solely on available academic programs. There are nonacademic considerations, as students want to feel connected to campus, be in a safe environment and have job opportunities post-graduation. Here are examples of factors to consider:

Portfolio Intelligence podcast: tips for making college admissions officers say, ‘Wow’
John Hancock Investment – May 23, 2024
How do you make your college application and essay stand out now that AI can influence how application materials are generated and screened? Hear from Nancy Steenson, a college admissions coach, as she joins the podcast and host John Bryson to offer tips for students and parents as they navigate today’s college admissions environment.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

Four cities of FAFSA chaos: Students tell how they grappled with the mess, stress
The Hechinger Report – May 22, 2024
To see the impact in person, The Hechinger Report sent reporters to schools in four cities — San Francisco, Chicago, Baltimore and Greenville, South Carolina — to hear students’ stories. Because we found them through schools, most of those we interviewed had counselors helping them; for the millions of students who don’t, it’s an even more daunting task. Despite heroic efforts by counselors and a slew of public FAFSA-signing events, just 40.2 percent of high school seniors had completed the FAFSA as of May 10, in contrast to 49.6 of last year’s seniors at the same time, according to the National College Attainment Network. The numbers do not bode well for college enrollment, nor for the many high school graduates who will not get the benefits of higher education.

How to Pay for College Without Loans
U.S. News & World Report – May 24, 2024
Student loans can be hard for college students to avoid, but there are steps you can take to minimize your debt burden. Read on to learn some strategies that can help you pay for college without loans.

Still Waiting On Financial Aid Offers? Here’s What You Can Do Now
NerdWallet – May 28, 2024
Reach out to your prospective schools to ask for a decision deadline extension, consider your options and submit the FAFSA ASAP (if you haven’t already). And if you’re still navigating enrollment deadlines and waiting on financial aid packages from one or more prospective schools, here are some other things you can do…

Career & Technical Education

A ‘Great Misalignment’ Between Credentials and Jobs
Inside Higher Ed – May 29, 2024
Many future jobs won’t require a bachelor’s degree, according to a new report. But institutions aren’t offering credentials in the right fields to meet labor market demand.

Liberal arts colleges must embed career services throughout campus life
Higher Ed Dive – May 28, 2024
Colleges should strive to teach students both how to think and to be career-ready when they graduate, the leader of Denison University argues.

Texas-style career ed: Ties to industry and wages
EdSource – May 28, 2024
Across the 11 campuses of the Texas State Technical College system, the recruiting motto proclaims: ‘Life is hands-on. Your education should be too.’ The reality of that was evident during a recent visit to its sprawling flagship campus in Waco, where students were creating robots, repairing hybrid cars, welding pipelines, baking fancy cakes, flying airplanes and climbing utility poles. That goal, administrators say, is to get students ready for the workforce as quickly as possible and then be hired into well-paying jobs in the growing Texas economy. And it is done with extra — some would say unusual, even excessive — focus on what industry needs and what pays best.

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Value of Scholarships

sponsored by Fastweb

Value of Scholarships
Review of how scholarships help today’s students pay for college.

Organize Senior Merit Awards

sponsored by GradBetter

GradBetter Simplifies Aggregating Senior Merit Awards
If you’re a HS counselor that organizes senior merit awards for marketing purposes, GradBetter simplifies this and incentivizes families by providing free award feedback, unlike Google sheets. (Create HS landing page)

Teen Health

Nearly 7,000 teens have signed up for NYC’s free online therapy platform in first 6 months
Chalkbeat – May 23, 2024
The neighborhoods with the highest number of signups are areas which have some of the highest poverty rates in the city, and have historically lacked widespread access to mental health services, officials said. Roughly 80% of teenagers using the program identify as Black, Latino, Asian-American or Native American, and almost 70% identified as female, according to the city data. Some experts have raised questions about the effectiveness of the practice, and other large-scale online therapy programs have sputtered. But the city’s health commissioner cautioned that the ‘the cost of inaction is too high…’

Virtual reality: A new hope for teen mental health?
PsyPost – May 28, 2024
In a study published in the journal JMIR XR and Spatial Computing, researchers have explored an innovative approach to addressing the mental health crisis among teenagers: virtual reality (VR). They found that a VR environment designed to reduce stress and improve mood was embraced by teens, who used it regularly and reported feeling less stressed and more relaxed during sessions. However, the study did not find significant reductions in overall levels of anxiety and depression.