High School Counselor Week

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


December 9, 2021

Big Picture

Schools are back in person, but quarantines, health concerns have students missing more class
Chalkbeat – December 1, 2021
In-person schooling is back across the country this school year, but fewer students than normal are regularly attending class, according to data emerging from states and school districts. Many districts have also reported a spike in the share of students on track to be ‘chronically absent.’

Surgeon general warns of youth mental health crisis amid COVID-19
Fox News – December 7, 2021
Early data show emergency room visits for suicide attempts among adolescent girls, in particular, rose by 51% during COVID-19 and ER visits among adolescent boys increased by 4% during the same time period.

‘Try Everything to Find Them’: Districts Launch New Efforts to Get Chronically Absent 9th Graders Back in Class
The 74 – December 6, 2021
Lacking many of the typical routines to help incoming freshmen adjust to the demands of high school and hindered by remote learning, many teens missed Zoom classes and turned up on lists of students considered most in need of support this fall. Now districts are using federal relief funds to hire staff and build new programs to target students that missed too much school.

Columns and Blogs

Counseling Over Break? Ho, Ho—No!
Post – December 8, 2021
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor Ph.D.

Application Follow-up Activities and Notification Dates
Tribune News Service – December 8, 2021
College Admissions Strategies with Lee Bierer 

Quick way to capture a 529 tax break when a student is in college
Post – December 2, 2021
The College Solution with Lynn O’Shaughnessy 


This Newark high school counselor was discouraged from applying to college. She’s determined to help her students ‘achieve their dreams’
Chalkbeat – December 1, 2021
Rivera-Beltre recently shared with Chalkbeat how she overcame adversity, the advice she gives to her students, and what gives her hope at this moment.

Navigating College Search From the High School Counselor’s Perspective
Spark451 – November 23, 2021
Spark451, with the help of co-sponsor High School Counselor Marketing, recently surveyed roughly 3,000 high school counselors, to get an updated pulse check on a variety of college search-related topics, plus candid thoughts on the state of school counseling. A recorded version of the related webinar is now available, along with a downloadable presentation of survey results [requires sign-up; a PDF of the presentation alone can also be downloaded here]

Intervention, Not Suspension, Could Help Certain High Schoolers In Crisis
Cape Cod Chronicle (MA) – December 1, 2021
High school students experiencing mental health issues and substance use disorders often end up suspended from school as part of the school’s disciplinary process. But a different approach calls for targeted intervention for those students, rather than just sending them home.

Increased San Jose child abuse calls raise counselor concerns
San Jose Spotlight (CA) – December 2, 2021
Parents also allegedly have been allowed to sit in on, or flat out refuse, interviews with child protective services. That’s causing concern for a group of counselors—who wish to remain anonymous due to the delicate nature of the situation. ‘If the goal is to keep students safe and protect them from home environments that are, for a lack of a better word, awful, we simply cannot do that anymore,’ said a counselor at San Jose Unified School District. ‘Children are going to act very differently when their abusers are in the room.’


How to talk to your kids about school safety
Grand Haven Tribune (MI) – December 7, 2021
Local schools are working to help kids who are struggling with fears due to the Oxford school shooting and the corresponding closures of area schools due to threats. Emily Berry, a social worker at Grand Haven High School, said it’s important to remember that kids take clues on how to handle situations based on their parents’ reactions.

Handling College Admission Decisions: A Sidecar Parent’s Guide
Forbes – December 3, 2021
Helicopter, bulldozer, snowplow, tugboat, Velcro, tiger, and now drone—these are all the deprecatory labels that we use to describe today’s overinvolved, and sometimes aggressive, parents. Throughout two decades as a school counselor, I have witnessed these child-rearing styles and many others, some productive and others less so. However, I am not…

Admissions Process & Strategy

College admission applications spike as January deadline nears
CNBC – December 7, 2021
Already, the number applications filed for undergraduate admission is up 22% from pre-pandemic levels, according to the Common App. However, 60% of applicants are from the most affluent communities, while only 5% are from the lowest-income areas.

How to successfully request a gap year deferral
La Morinda Weekly (CA) – December 8, 2021
Some students choose to defer their undergraduate studies to take a gap year, using the time to work, travel, or volunteer. Aside from having a concrete gap year plan, students must ensure that they apply for a deferral at the college they plan to attend. The deferral process differs across colleges, and thus it is vital that students understand their college’s policies…


When the SAT Feels Like a Lock, Not a Key
EdSurge – December 7, 2021
The SAT test weighs heavily on our collective imagination—and most everyone can picture the nerve-wracking scene of students sitting at desks, bubbling in Scantron forms with a No. 2 pencil, while stern-faced proctors walk around looking for cheaters. For this episode of the EdSurge Podcast, we are taking a closer look at the SAT’s impact: Who is it for? And is it fair?

Financial Aid/Scholarships

How To Pay For College: 7 of the Best Money Saving Tips
The Good Men Project – December 4, 2021
With costs rising at well above the national rate of inflation, many are looking for solutions. We’ll run through 7 different tips that could help make college costs easier for you to handle. Each of these tips/methods alone is a powerful way for you to handle some of your college costs. When implemented together, though, you’ll likely find that paying for college is easier than you expected!

How to Renew the FAFSA
U.S. News & World Report – December 6, 2021
A student must fill out the FAFSA every year to be considered for federal, state and even institutional aid. But the renewal process for subsequent years can be a much quicker process

Scholarships are free money for college
Newton Daily News (IA) – December 7, 2021
If your family will have a new college freshman next year, this is a great time to look for scholarships that will help offset the cost of an education. Scholarships are considered ‘gift aid,’ meaning that they do not need to be repaid later. Some are one-time awards that can be used while a family’s college savings continues to grow; others are renewable as long as the student remains eligible.

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Teen Health

Watch out for ‘leakage’: These are some of the clues students can look out for to help prevent school violence
ABC 12 News (MI) – December 7, 2021
To help thwart potential school violence, students and staff need to beware of certain warning signs — and feel comfortable reporting them. ‘the general public, they really don’t know what to look for,’ said former FBI special agent and profiler Mary Ellen O’Toole, who has studied school shootings for more than 20 years. Clues can range from subtle to overt. And students are often in the best position to notice concerning behavior from classmate.

Instagram unveils new teen safety tools ahead of Senate hearing
NPR – December 7, 2021
Instagram is rolling out a new set of safety features aimed at its youngest users and their parents, a day before the photo-sharing app’s head testifies to Congress about the platform’s potential risks to kids and teens. They include tools to help users manage how much time they spend on the app, place limits on both unwanted interactions with adults and exposure to sensitive content, and offer optional parental oversight of children’s accounts.

After pandemic pause, more incoming college students may face sexual assault risks
PBS News Hour – December 7, 2021
Even before students returned to campus, advocacy groups were expressing heightened concern about the ‘red zone, the period from August to late November when roughly 50% of sexual assaults occur at colleges. New students unfamiliar with campus life are especially at risk and because the pandemic disrupted last school year, two classes of students found themselves on campus for the first time this fall at many universities, creating a ‘double red zone.’