High School Counselor Week

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


April 15, 2021

Big Picture

As Biden eyes infrastructure, recent research suggests students’ environments really do matter for learning
Chalkbeat – April 14, 2021
Schools may be considering facilities upgrades that were previously out of reach. Research indicates it could make a difference.

More colleges say they’ll require students to have COVID-19 vaccines for fall
NPR (LISTEN) – April 12, 2021
As vaccines become more widely available, it’s likely that many more colleges will add their own mandates. Thirty-seven states are now vaccinating all people ages 16 and up, and by April 19, all states in the U.S. will join them. [Podcast and full article]

Prospective Students Are Open to Vaccine Requirements
Inside Higher Ed – April 12, 2021
Survey finds that they want requirements — and so do their parents — despite actions in Florida, Texas and Utah that might make them impossible.

Online Schools Are Here to Stay, Even After the Pandemic
The New York Times – April 14, 2021
Some families have come to prefer stand-alone virtual schools and districts are rushing to accommodate them — though questions about remote learning persist.

Columns and Blogs

Survivor, Law School Version—the Future for Undergraduate Admissions?
Post – April 14, 2021
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor Ph.D.

How to Make the Final Decision
Tribune News Service – April 14, 2021
College Admissions Strategies with Lee Bierer 

Looking beyond highly rejective colleges to get better deals
Tribune News Service – April 13, 2021
The College Solution with Lynn O’Shaughnessy 


Feature It: Reframing the ‘Lost’ College Visit
ACCIS AdmitAll Blog – April 7, 2021
As we find ourselves in pandemic spring 2.0, college visiting is not possible for the majority. When my mother was alive she would say, ‘If you can’t fix it, feature it.’ Her sound advice reminds me to invert the problem of cancelled college tours. Covid is inviting us to reinvent college discovery and student engagement.

Showing support for school counselors during the pandemic
Multibriefs: Exclusive – April 13, 2021
We are just over a year into a pandemic that has already caused radical shifts and rifts in our society and our profession. Since it started, some of our profession’s unsung heroes that you don’t often hear enough about are our school counselors. This team, often a small group in a school, have been quietly trying to hold things together…

WCCUSD counselor helps students think about life after high school
Richmond Standard (CA) – April 12, 2021
Martinez’ rocky journey to and through college is one shared by millions of students across the country. While she persisted to graduation and went on to earn her master’s degree, on average about 40 percent of students across sectors who start college don’t finish…


Schools Face Shortage of Mental Health Professionals as Students Slowly Return
NBC 4 Washington DC – April 12, 2021

As students return to school buildings after a year of unprecedented stress, public schools across our region are operating with fewer counselors and psychologists than recommended by national experts, according to our investigation.


How to Pay Off $130,000 in Parent PLUS Loans for Just $33,000
Kiplinger – April 12, 2021
Meet Nate. He took out $130,000 in Parent PLUS loans for his kids. The standard repayment plan will cost him over $170,000. But some smart strategizing could get his bill down to $33,000 instead. Here’s how.

Admissions Process & Strategy

5 tips for getting great college recommendation letters
Oakland Press (MI) – April 12, 2021
The lingering impact of COVID-19 may make it difficult to stand out in the admissions process. A good recommendation letter goes a long way toward success, while the absence of enthusiastic support from your teachers and counselor is noticed by experienced admissions officers and can lead to rejection.

What Does an Anti-Racist College Admissions Process Look Like?
Diverse: Issues in Higher Education – April 12, 2021
The CEO of CommonApp discusses the unintentional bias in college admissions, we may be able to start addressing equity gaps by changing the process itself.

Getting in to college just got harder. Here’s what to do if you are waitlisted
CNBC – April 13, 2021
In an application cycle unlike any other, more students were rejected or waitlisted at their top-choice schools. Now students are left with fewer options and only a short time to figure out their next move ahead of National College Decision Day on May 1.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

Financial Aid Offers Are Negotiable. Here’s How to Ask Colleges for More Money (and Get It)
Money – April 10, 2021
College financial aid is more like a car dealership than a grocery store. It’s possible to negotiate a better deal. In fact, the practice is becoming a common enough part of the college admissions process that there are now companies that focus on helping families navigate the negotiation.

Why Students Aren’t Filling Out the FAFSA
Inside Higher Ed – April 12, 2021
Low-income and first-generation students find it difficult to fill it out, and they fill it out themselves, EAB survey finds.

Disproportionate burden: Estimating the cost of FAFSA verification for public colleges and universities
Phys.org (Science X Daily) – April 12, 2021
Prior research has shown that verification serves as a potentially unnecessary hurdle to college enrollment and success, especially for low-income and historically marginalized students, and creates a disproportionate burden on institutions these students are likely to attend.

Career & Technical Education

$152 billion for job training in Biden’s infrastructure plan could help with the tech worker shortage
TechRepublic – April 12, 2021
Now is the time to boost apprenticeship programs and work with employers to target the most in-demand skills, according to experts.

Career Technical Education: A Road Less Traveled
edhat Santa Barbara (CA) – April 10, 2021
As many high school families focus on the college admissions processes, some take a less popular avenue, however equally as prosperous, toward the career technical education (CTE) path. As a past dean of CTE, I became familiar with many exciting areas of study that lead to successful and fulfilling careers.


A Test for the Test Makers
Education Next – April 15, 2021
College Board and ACT move to grow and diversify as the pandemic fuels test-optional admissions trend

The AP Psychology Exam: A Test-Taker’s Guide
U.S. News & World Report – April 12, 2021
Students can expect to spend two hours on this end-of-year exam. Studying its format and content in advance can help.

Will colleges, universities waive ACT/SAT testing requirements forever?
NBC 15 (AL) – April 14, 2021
Availability is at the forefront of the decision to keep test scores waived….. Here’s how the conversation is going at one university.

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The College Transition: Tips For Students With Disabilities
NACAC Admitted Blog – April 14, 2021
Preparation is key for all college-bound students, but thinking through what you’ll need to be successful is especially important for students with disabilities.

Student Voices

Dear Seniors, An Advice Letter For College Commitment Season
Broadway World Student Blog – April 12, 2021
Choosing a school can feel overwhelming. Trust me, I’ve been there. In honor of the approaching ‘decision day,’ I’m sharing my overall college takeaways and (slightly cursed) decision day story. Hopefully, it can help ease some worries, and at least let you know that you’re not alone.

Imposter Syndrome 101
Cornell Daily Sun (Cornell University) – April 12, 2021
It was my sophomore year of high school. Worries about college applications had just barely come in and my heftiest anxiety was about if my video submission to run for junior officer of Science National Honor Society would make the cut. The day after I had submitted it and let it slip to someone that I was in the running, a peer asked me if I was smart enough to run…

Coronavirus-Related Resources

Where Teachers Are Eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine
Education Week
Since this information is changing rapidly, please note the date at which the information was last verified for each state.

COVID-19 School Response Dashboard
Maps schools’ responses to the pandemic across the United States (data submission voluntary)

Live Updates: Latest News on Coronavirus and Higher Education
Inside Higher Ed

Live Coronavirus Updates: Here’s the Latest
The Chronicle of Higher Education

ASCA Toolkit: Virtual High School Counseling
American School Counselor Association

College Board Coronavirus Updates
College Board

AP Online Classes and Review Sessions
College Board on YouTube

COVID-19 Resource Center
National Association of School Psychologists

U.S. DOE: COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel
U.S. Department of Education

Where to Get Free WiFi for Students During COVID-19
Campus Technology

College Virtual Tours
compiled by Rebecca Chabrow, M.A. with assistance from Collegewise

The impact of COVID-19 on high school counselors and the college search process: A national survey.
RNL & High School Counselor Connect (2020)