High School Counselor Week

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


December 2, 2021

Big Picture

Schools across the country are struggling to find staff. Here’s why
PBS News Hour – November 23, 2021
Paying students to serve lunches during school hours. Bringing retired teachers back to the classroom. Hiring bus drivers for janitorial duties. Shortening in-person instruction to four days a week. Across the country, these are some of the short-term solutions to a nationwide shortage of school staff at all levels. The crisis will worsen as…

What Congressional Covid Funding Means for K-12 Schools
FutureEd – November 19, 2021
The House today approved a $1.75 trillion plan that includes more funding for K-12 schools, as well as about $400 billion to make child care more affordable and to secure six years of funding for universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-old children. The Build Back Better plan, which passed on a party-line vote, also includes…

Here’s why college enrollment continues to drop
WCNC Charlotte (NC) – November 22, 2021
So where did all the students go? Many young adults are heading straight into the workforce after high school. Money has been tight for many, and college isn’t cheap. Plus, companies…

Columns and Blogs

Post – December 1, 2021
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor Ph.D.

Showing the Colleges Your Love
Tribune News Service – December 1, 2021
College Admissions Strategies with Lee Bierer 

How grandparents can help with college costs without hurting financial aid chances
Post – November 24, 2021
The College Solution with Lynn O’Shaughnessy 


The Kids Are Not All Right: How 4 States Are Rushing to Improve Student Access to Mental Health Care
The 74 – November 23, 2021
Families, lawmakers, doctors and educators across the political spectrum are in agreement: The kids are not all right.

His ‘own story’ prompted Paul Harris to help Black youth find sense of self
Penn State News – November 16, 2021
Because Paul Harris’ parents refused to let him believe that athletics was his only path to a successful future, he dedicated himself to being a similar protective factor for all students, especially Black youth, in their college and career readiness process. Harris, formerly a high school counselor in Virginia, took first-generation, low-income…

Schuylkill County high schools tackle mental health stigma, search for solutions
The Morning Call (PA) – November 22, 2021
Students and their faculty advisers from five Schuylkill County high schools gathered Friday to learn about breaking the stigma around mental health and to create supportive school communities. It was done through Aevidum, a nonprofit organization that has student-led chapters throughout the country…


Parma high schools using ‘Hope Squad’ program to address mental health
WKYZ Studios (OH) – November 17, 2021
Northeast Ohio high schools are slowly introducing mental health programs into their daily offerings. Parma High’s counselor discusses their implementation of the nationwide ‘Hope Squad’ program for suicide prevention.


Navigating college admissions during COVID-19 can be daunting for parents. Stay optimistic with these helpful tips
Tennessean – November 30, 2021
As higher education researchers, we’ve heard from family and friends who are seeking advice as their children plan their post-high school path. Here’s some tips we’ve offered.

Parents are scrambling after schools suddenly cancel class over staffing and burnout
NPR – November 23, 2021
Schools and districts around the country have been canceling classes on short notice. The cancellations aren’t directly for COVID-19 quarantines; instead schools are citing staff shortages, staff fatigue, mental health and sometimes even student fights.

Admissions Process & Strategy

How do you write a great admissions essay? We asked Duke, UNC, NC State for tips
News & Observer (NC) – December 1, 2021
If you’re a student applying for college, writing a personal essay can seem daunting. But it doesn’t need to be. We talked to admissions offices at Duke, UNC Chapel Hill, NC State and NC Central to find out what to do — and what to avoid — when writing those essays over the next few weeks.

Getting Personal With College Admission: Requesting The Right Recommendations
Forbes – November 22, 2021
In selective college admission, students and parents are often looking for that one thing that will make the applicant stand out in a competitive pool. They are convinced that there is a silver bullet, special sauce, or secret to admission success. Mistakenly, they believe that it is not who you are or what you know but rather who you know. So what is the truth?


Balance Studying for Final Exams and SAT, ACT
U.S. News & World Report – November 29, 2021
Here are some tips to help you prepare to perform well when these high-priority events occur at the same time.

Preparing for the SAT and ACT: Why and How You Should Do It
Foreign Service Journal (AFSA) – December 1, 2021
Standardized tests can help you get into the college of your choice, but they are not like ordinary school tests. Both the SAT and ACT are tests designed to predict ‘college readiness,’ not content knowledge. You might possibly have to unlearn those skills that may help you on school tests but hurt you on a time-compressed, complex standardized test. Let’s examine the unique challenges and the techniques you can use to meet them.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

10 ways to attend college for free
Bankrate – November 19, 2021
It’s no secret that the cost of higher education has reached an all-time high. However, there are many things a prospective student can do to help offset the steep cost of college.

Half of US Colleges Surveyed Have Not Started Preparations for New Student Aid Requirements
Yahoo! Finance – November 30, 2021
A study from Oracle and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators found that administrators are anxious about how to handle major modifications in the financial aid processes and are unsure of the Department of Education’s support in making these adjustments.

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Top Paying College Majors

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For students considering their college path – spotlight on top-paying majors
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Mental Health Support for LGBTQ+

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Supporting the Mental Health of LGBTQ+ Students
Proud & Thriving Framework: Develop & strengthen mental health support for LGBTQ+ students.

Inside The Admissions Office

Family and the College Search Process
University of Miami Admissions – November 24, 2021
Now that I have worked in college admission for nearly 15 years, I’ve seen innumerable families come into my orbit in their own search for the perfect collegiate fit. Family is an indisputably influential part of this process. Allow me to give a few tips on how to get through this admittedly stressful process together.

Teen Health

FFA’s ‘Break the Stigma’ raises mental health awareness
The Farmer (MN) – November 24, 2021
After recent suicides in the community, FFA students at Chatfield High decided to step up and help. With guidance from their FFA advisor, they hosted a ‘Break the Stigma’ event and fundraiser. Funds will pay for a communitywide suicide awareness training seminar called safeTalk. SafeTalk teaches participants…

Mental-health-awareness project helps students
The Garden Island (HI) – November 21, 2021
Students discuss the school’s Mokihana Project, a program that provides mental-health services to students including counseling on campus for those with diagnosed mental-health conditions.

Student Voices

The Youth We Leave Behind
Voice of OC (California) – November 23, 2021
‘We want to measure a student’s knowledge—not their disability,’ says College Board’s ‘Accommodations’ page on their official website. However, our current education system hinders their ability to deliver on this promise.