High School Counselor Week

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


December 17, 2020

Big Picture

Education For Young People In Shelters Was Already a Challenge — Then Coronavirus Hit
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange – December 15, 2020
‘Make sure your headphones are on and you’re listening, please,’ says Daniel Russell, a youth services specialist at Metro Parks Tacoma. He is in an entirely new role invented to solve an entirely new problem caused by the COVID-19 pandemic: When classes are run remotely, how do kids living in homeless shelters, cars or doubled up with relatives participate in online classes?

16 Charts that Changed the Way We Thought About America’s Schools This Year
The 74 – December 15, 2020
Never before has the American education system been put under a microscope — sometimes literally — the way it was in 2020. Experts have never had to think about what might happen if all of it — the hugs, the free breakfasts, the standardized tests, even the buildings themselves — simply went away. This spring, that’s exactly what happened, stranding tens of millions of students in academic limbo…

Connecticut Gives Every Student a Computer and Home Internet to Close the Digital Divide
EdSurge – December 15, 2020
Even before the pandemic, more than 25 million Americans lacked access to broadband internet. But even when they can get online, students of color and low-income families were more likely to share a single device. Today, when strong internet connectivity is all but required for learning, such gaps can serve as insurmountable barriers to learning.

Columns and Blogs

Three Steps to a Great College Admissions Holiday
Post – December 16, 2020
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor Ph.D.

What does my deferral really mean?
Tribune News Service – December 16, 2020
College Admissions Strategies with Lee Bierer 

Tips for acing your virtual college interview
Post – December 3, 2020
College Explorations with Nancy Griesemer 

Use this Valuable College Admission Checklist
Tribune News Service – December 8, 2020
The College Solution with Lynn O’Shaughnessy 


‘I’m sure I’ll figure it out’: Del Campo High School Senior navigates changing collegiate process
KBTX-TV (TX)- December 1, 2020
In ‘Class of 2021,’ FOX40 will follow a group of students whose senior year was upended by the coronavirus pandemic, documenting their challenges and accomplishments.)


School ‘wellness centers’ could be an answer to soaring mental health needs in California
Lake County Record Bee (CA) – December 10, 2020
Schools should join with health agencies and nonprofits to provide mental and physical health services for families, commission says.

Schools Provide A Critical Safety Net For Kids. Can They Do That Via Zoom?
Honolulu Civil Beat – December 16, 2020
Youth advocates and school staff worry students are not getting the proper counseling or basic social services available in a regular school setting.

COVID School Lockdowns Taking Heavy Toll On Local Students
Clark County Progress (NV) – December 16, 2020
All of this is being done in attempts to protect the health and well-being of the students and school staff. But the past year has shown that there may be worse health and safety risks than COVID-19 out there, especially for the children.

Grant Students ‘Steered Straight’ During Virtual Awareness Program
TAP, South Plainfield (NJ) – December 16, 2020
‘Steered Straight is a program that encourages kids to make wise choices in life particularly in the realms of drugs and alcohol and bullying as well,’ said the school’s counselor. The organization provides educational programs and materials to youth, families and communities across the country and around the world.


4 ways to boost support for families of students with special needs
SmartBrief – December 14, 2020
The transition from in-person to remote learning has been overwhelming for many families of students with special needs. Disrupted routines and loss of support services has created confusion and frustration in numerous households

How to talk to your child about failing grades
Minnesota Public Radio (LISTEN) – December 15, 2020
MPR News host Angela Davis talks with an editor at a national education news publication about what he’s learned about pandemic grades. A local director of student support services also joins the show to discuss how parents and caregivers can talk to their students about their grades during this difficult time.

Admissions Process & Strategy

‘Is it worth it?’ How distance learning brings new challenges to college applications
Los Angeles Times – December 15, 2020
With the California State University application deadline a day away, John Marshall High School college counselor Tricia Bryan had one final push to make Monday. At least 40 of her students had begun an application to the CSU but had not completed it. She didn’t know why because she had not seen or heard from most of them.

Applying to College as Undecided Major: Pros, Cons
U.S. News & World Report – December 14, 2020
Don’t declare a major on your college applications if you haven’t fully researched that academic concentration.

College Guy: What to do if your application was deferred
Concord Monitor (NH) – December 14, 2020
Question: My Early Decision application to college was deferred. What do I do now? Answer: I have good news and bad news for you, but first let’s start by defining what we are talking about.

What does being admitted mean?
Georgia Tech Admission Blog – December 15, 2020
Being offered admission is a little bit easier to understand than being deferred or denied, but there is good reason the letter you received is more than one sentence. So, let’s dive into what it does and does not mean, as well as what you should do and avoid doing after being admitted.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

Possible prizes available to FAFSA, Promise Scholarship applicants
WV MetroNews – December 13, 2020
The ‘Cool Cash for College’ contest, a cooperative effort from the Alliance and the Higher Education Policy Commission, launched earlier this month in response to a major decline in applications submitted thus far this year compared with this time last year.

Best Student Loans Without A Co-Signer 2021
Forbes – December 14, 2020
Below we have identified the best federal and private student loans that may be available to eligible borrowers without a co-signer based on features like fees, repayment options and ease of the application process.

Decline In Higher Ed Aid Applications Flagged As Worrisome
WBUR Boston (MA) – December 15, 2020
Applications for federal higher education financial aid declined significantly this fall, raising concerns that the COVID-19 pandemic may exacerbate gaps in college accessibility for vulnerable student groups


The Decline of Testing Affects More Than Testing
Inside Higher Ed – December 14, 2020
From efforts to recruit students to rankings, the impact is immense, write Bill Conley and Bob Massa

Pandemic should prompt a reassessment of test success
Culpeper Star-Exponent (VA) – December 15, 2020
All students do not learn at the same rate or in the same way. Studies continue to show that standardized tests don’t provide a clear picture of what a student knows. In fact, some of our brightest students fail miserably on standardized tests.

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What Can We Do to Prepare for College
Autism Parenting – December 15, 2020
Many students on the autism spectrum do well academically, and graduate high school with grades that make them candidates for college.

Committed: Kids With Disabilities Increasingly Swept Into Mental Health System Under Baker Act
WFSU Tallahassee (FL) – December 14, 2020
The Baker Act was not designed for kids, yet the number of children who are involuntarily committed keeps going up. State data shows kids with certain disabilities are becoming increasingly ensnared — despite language in the law meant to keep them out of the mental health system.

Switch to remote ed fuels concerns for disabled students
Rome Sentinel (NY) – December 15, 2020
A recent Associated Press report addressed complications that it said are shared by many of the country’s 7 million students with disabilities, who represent 14% of American schoolchildren. It noted that advocates for the students say long periods of learning from home, and erratic attempts to reopen schools, are worsening issues that began with changes to distance learning last March.

Coronavirus-Related Resources

*NEW* Upcoming Virtual Events for Students and Parents
TeenLife Blog

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

COVID-29 Data Dashboard
C2i (College Crisis Initiative)

School Counseling During COVID-19
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)