High School Counselor Week

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


High School Counselor Week is on vacation. We will resume publication March 5, 2020

February 20, 2020

Big Picture

New Research Finds That Character Counts In College Admission
Forbes – February 13, 2020
It has been said that character is who one is, or what one does when nobody is watching. When it comes to college admission, everyone seems to be watching and according to a recent survey, character counts. This week, NACAC and…

Merit-Aid “Arms Race”
Inside Higher Ed – February 13, 2020
A report from New America calls for federal intervention on the enrollment management industry to stop what it refers to as the “merit-aid arms race.” The organization’s analysis found that more than half of the 339 public universities examined doubled the amount they spent on non-need-based aid between 2001 and 2017.

The universities that enroll more poor students have less financial aid to give
The Hechinger Report – February 14, 2020
Why students who don’t go to their state’s flagship often end up paying more

Columns and Blogs

Can We Please End the False College/Career Dichotomy?
Post – February 19, 2020
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor Ph.D

How you spend your summer vacation is important
Tribune News Service – February 19, 2020
College Admissions Strategies with Lee Bierer 

Common App essay prompts remain the same for 2020-2021
Post – February 12, 2020
The Explorations Blog with Nancy Griesemer


Column: Should I go to college?
MetroWest Daily News (MA) – February 15, 2020
Colleges are getting a lot of bad press these days, costs are out-pacing inflation, an uncertain job market for recent college graduates, predatory lending institutions and six-digit college debt.

West Michigan school counselors review warning signs of teen dating violence
WWMT West Michigan – February 14, 2020
One in 10 high school students said they have experienced physical violence from a boyfriend or girlfriend…a lot of teens might not know they are in a controlling relationship because they’ve never dated before.


14 Need-to-Know Facts About Parent PLUS Loans
U.S. News & World Report – February 18, 2020
Parent PLUS loan borrowers take out a little more than $1,000 on average, one study found.

Road to College: Guide to 2020
River Journal (NY) – February 13, 2020
On the road to college, we use milestones to determine what we have accomplished, and what is to come. As we round the new year into February, parents and students can think anew.

The Gap Year: ‘Not On My Sofa’
NACAC Admitted Blog – February 19, 2020
Not on my sofa! was one parent’s response at the prospect of their student’s gap year. Fair enough, yet under the right circumstances, could a gap year be a smart solution?

Admissions Process & Strategy

College Connection: Start planning now for a productive spring break
My Central Jersey – February 14, 2020
Typically, colleges schedule their spring breaks in early March while high schools hold them in late March or April. This provides the perfect opportunity for high school students to tour college campuses while classes, activities and college life are in full swing.

How To Make Sure Your College Essay Stands Out Amongst The Rest Of The Applicants
Daily Bayonet (NY) – February 15, 2020
In order to help you write a really good college and admissions essay, we have come up with some effective ways that you can use to help you get that spot in the university of your dreams.

Career & Technical Education

How the skills gap is changing the degree path
Education Dive – February 17, 2020
Pressed to respond to students’ concerns about the rising cost of higher education and their sometimes-foggy understanding of how their learning translates into jobs, some colleges are reshaping the degree pathway.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

Here’s how to break down your college financial aid award letter
CNBC – February 12, 2020
Before deciding on a college for next year, families should look at what kind of aid is being offered and the conditions that apply. What may look like the largest offer might not be the best.

Most Affordable Four Year Colleges and Universities by State
University HQ – February 10, 2020
We take a look at which colleges provide the most affordable tuition in the United States. Criteria were based on the lowest tuition cost.

Tips for Decoding College Financial Aid Offers
New York Times – February 14, 2020
Schools often use different jargon for the same types of aid or loans. Student advocates offer suggestions on how to figure out what you’ll pay.

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Teen Health

Teens Are Still Vaping Flavors, Thanks To New Disposable Vape Pens
NPR – February 17, 2020
Efforts to stem the tide of teen vaping seem to be a step behind the market. By the time Juul pulled most of its flavored pods from the market in October of 2019, many teens had already moved on to an array of newer, disposable vape products.


SAT vs. ACT: Which College Admissions Test Should You Take?
University of the Cumberlands Blog – February 13, 2020
Most colleges and universities will accept either the ACT or SAT as an admissions test. If you have a choice between one or the other, you probably wonder which one you should take. Or even if you should take both.

The Truth About 3 Common ACT, SAT Strategies
U.S. News & World Report – February 17, 2020
Many myths abound regarding which strategies can score you the most points on the ACT and SAT. Learning more about testing techniques will help you know which claims to take seriously and which to ignore.

None Of The Above: Test-Optional Movement Targets More Than Just SAT, ACT
NPR Illinois (LISTEN) – February 17, 2020
The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest.org) tracks this growing trend. Our education reporter Dusty Rhodes had a wide-ranging conversation with the center’s executive director. Transcript Provided