High School Counselor Week

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


December 8, 2022

Big Picture

3 key mental health priorities for K-12 educators in 2023
K-12 Dive – December 5, 2022
While some of the challenges from 2022 will continue, several positive developments and opportunities will provide educators with the chance to make their schools more welcoming and affirming in 2023. Let’s look at where we are now — and what are likely to be the key mental health priorities for schools and districts in 2023.

Schools are becoming hotbeds of political conflict – especially in purple districts
USA Today – December 1, 2022
A new study based on surveys with hundreds of high school principals finds partisan politics are leading to more conflict at school. The problems are particularly bad at schools in purple communities, those whose voters are close to evenly split Republican-Democrat. High rates of principals in purple communities report a dramatic increase between 2018 and 2022 in parents or community members challenging instruction, and in harassment of LGBTQ+ students.

Later School Start Times More Popular, But What Are the Drawbacks?
NEA News – December 1, 2022
As schools across the country continue to struggle with the academic and mental wellness fallout of the pandemic, many educators and district administrators are rethinking some of the mainstays that have defined public schools for decades, including homework, technology, and the length of the school day and week. One potential change that generated momentum even before the pandemic is later school start times.

Columns and Blogs

Test-optional Admissions and Data
Post – December 6, 2022
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D.

The final essay push
Post – December 6, 2022
College Advice & Timely Tips with Lee Bierer

Do you know the differences between a college and a university?
Post – November 28 2022
The College Solution with Lynn O’Shaughnessy


3 Things we get wrong in responding to child grief — and how to do better
KQED (CA) – December 5, 2022
One of the less visible effects of the pandemic is the number of grieving students now populating American schools. More than 200,000 children under 18 lost a parent or in-home caregiver to coronavirus. Those kids, along with those who lost other relatives, are carrying their grief with them into classrooms. Unacknowledged and unaddressed, it can hurt their ability to learn and engage with school. But most adults in schools aren’t specifically trained to respond to child grief. School counselor Gen Nelson said that’s what led her to current work supporting grieving kids and raising awareness about their needs. This past summer she became the program director at the Lost & Found Grief Center in Springfield, Missouri. At the American School Counselors Association national conference, she discussed some of the things we get wrong in responding to child grief and how we can better help students navigate the challenges of loss.

The crisis of student mental health is much vaster than we realize
The Washington Post – December 5, 2022
Nationally, adolescent depression and anxiety — already at crisis levels before the pandemic — have surged amid the isolation, disruption and hardship of covid-19. Even as federal coronavirus relief money has helped schools step up their efforts to aid students, they also have come up short. It’s unclear how much money is going to mental health, how long such efforts will last or if they truly reach those who struggle most. In many areas, even when money is in hand, hiring is not easy. Schools often said they employed too few staff to manage the caseload but also complained about difficulties finding licensed providers, the data showed. One school counselor even began looking out of state for therapists who had openings — a solution that was not practical for many families. And things are not getting better.


9 Tools for Your Financial Aid Toolkit: A Guide for Parents
Azusa Pacific University – December 1, 2022
You’re about to enter a whole new world with your high school student looking at colleges, and most likely, that will mean securing financial aid. Rest assured, the process isn’t as complicated as it seems, but your child will need your assistance. Getting a headstart requires having some necessary information and records at hand. Here are the tools you and your child need before beginning the financial aid application.

How Teens Think Adults Should Talk to Them About Drugs
The New York Times – December 1, 2022
Rather than using scare tactics and focusing only on abstinence, as popular 20th-century drug programs like DARE and Just Say No did, the recommendation is to be honest with young people and offer strategies for harm reduction. We asked teenagers how they want adults to talk to them about drug use. An overwhelming majority agreed. As one student put it: ‘Kids need to be cared for and not by lying to their faces or making a situation terrifying but by telling them the truth.’ They told us how parents, teachers and other adults have talked to them about drugs and shared what has worked and what hasn’t. Several even offered their own ideas for how to approach the conversation. You can read a selection of their responses below.

Admissions Process & Strategy

For Profit Colleges Are The Most Likely To Close Without Warning
Forbes – November 30, 2022
You apply to college, enroll in classes, get your financial aid in place, including student loans, and show up for classes. What are you supposed to do when week five of lectures rolls around, and the doors to your college’s building are locked? This is not a hypothetical question; it has happened to tens of thousands of students in the past fifteen years.

Three College Admissions Tips For Students With Learning Differences
Forbes – November 29, 2022
Roughly 20% of undergraduate students in the United States reported having a disability*, including diagnoses such as autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, and dyslexia. I spoke with Dr. Eric Endlich, a psychologist and founder of Top College Consultants, to create three college admissions tips for students with learning differences.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

College aid letters are misleading students and need a legal fix
NPR – December 5, 2022
New federal research says colleges are failing to give accepted students clear and standard information about financial aid packages. The consequences can be extremely disruptive, including, for some students, dropping out of school. In addition, making the wrong decision because of unclear aid information can lead to students borrowing more than they need to, which can affect them for years, or not buying textbooks, or even cutting back on food.

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Top Scholarships for Seniors

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Top Scholarships for High School Seniors
New resource to help students to find and apply for scholarships

JED High School Info Session

sponsored by JED High School

JED High School Information Session, December 15 at 3pm ET
Learn more about the JED High School technical assistance program, partnering with high schools and districts to support student mental health and prevent suicide.

Teen Health

Higher youth suicide rates linked to mental health staff shortages
K-12 Dive – November 30, 2022
Researchers found the adjusted suicide rate rose 4% with each one-point increase in the workforce shortage score, according to the study published Nov. 21 by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Why We Need to Have More Critical Conversations About Social and Emotional Learning
EdSurge – December 2, 2022
SEL has picked up steam in the past few decades. Recent surveys show widespread support of SEL skills from parents, teachers and school administrators, and more curricular programs are being used in districts across the U.S. At the same time, a small but adamant group of voices—typically led by politically conservative community groups—have placed SEL under attack, turning it into a controversial concept.


ACT vs. SAT: How to Decide Which Test to Take
U.S. News & World Report – December 1, 2022
When it comes to the ACT and SAT, both exams are widely accepted by U.S. colleges, which often prompts students to ask: Which test should I take? The answer to that question lies in understanding the differences between the two tests.

Common App: Number of college applicants sending admissions scores hasn’t rebounded
K-12 Dive – November 30, 2022
Far fewer first-year college applicants are providing their test scores than before the coronavirus pandemic, despite COVID-19 restrictions waning, signaling the further diminished roles exams have in admissions. The Common App’s data shows only 4% of institutions are requiring entrance exams in 2022-23, a decline from 55% in 2019-20.

Opinion: Why High School Students Don’t Need the SAT Anymore
BlackPressUSA – December 4, 2022
Students this year and in the short term will be well served to keep asking questions like: Is the investment of time and/or money to prepare for this test worth it? Is it safe and useful to take the test? And, does submitting my scores increase the likelihood that I’ll help my application or increase scholarship opportunities?