High School Counselor Week

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


February 25, 2021

Big Picture

This year’s state test results will be tough to make sense of, experts warn
Chalkbeat – February 24, 2021
One day after the U.S. Department of Education told states that they must give standardized tests this year, a number of state officials gathered virtually to hear from leading testing experts. Those experts offered a warning…

More students earning ‘F’ grades during online learning
WSBT (IN) – February 22, 2021
A local school district saw the percentage of students getting Fs last fall double compared to the previous fall, and districts across the country are seeing the same thing if they’ve had mostly online learning since March.

Enrollment at U.S. community colleges plummets amid pandemic
ABC News – February 20, 2021
Peniella Irakoze is cold calling a list of 1,001 fellow students who didn’t return to Phoenix College this semester, checking on how they’re managing during the coronavirus pandemic. The calls have become a regular part of her job at a community college like others across the U.S. that…

Columns and Blogs

State and Federal Governments Need Assessment Intervention
Post – February 24, 2021
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor Ph.D.

Common Application releases this year’s prompts
Tribune News Service – February 24, 2021
College Admissions Strategies with Lee Bierer 


Lifechanging investment: How volunteer counselors can help guide more students to college
AZ Central – February 22, 2021
The idea may seem impractical, even pie-in-the-sky, but it is already being done.

The Answer I Didn’t Have
Inside Higher Ed – February 22, 2021
I think in the coming years, we as admissions professionals need to listen hard to prospective students, parents and school counselors. They’ve listened to us, but I am afraid what we’ve been saying doesn’t fit the time.

Counselors hope in-person classes will boost mental health
MassLive – February 22, 2021
School officials announced a change in policy last month, largely due to concerns that the mental health risks of all-remote learning were greater than the physical risk of contracting COVID-19.


High school students speak out about stress and pandemic pressure
NBC News – February 15, 2021

About 56% of students reported increased school-related stress, a national survey from NBC News and the nonprofit Challenge Success found. NBC speaks to a group of high school students about how learning during the pandemic has impacted their mental health.


With college applications in, son’s admissions countdown ticks slowly
Columbus Dispatch (OH) – February 23, 2021
The essays are done and the financial aid requests submitted. The applications for Kid No. 1 are officially in the hands of the admissions offices at 10 colleges and universities. Tell me if this is normal: I think I may be more antsy than the applicant.

Parent’s Guide to the FAFSA 6 Need-to-Knows
WilmingtonBiz Insights (NC) – February 22, 2021
Cape Fear Community College’s director of financial aid — who, for over 20 years has been helping students finance college — noted a few things parents need to know about the FAFSA

Admissions Process & Strategy

50 Colleges With No Student Loans, Reduced Tuition
Forbes – February 22, 2021
‘No student loans’ financial aid packages generally seek to replace student loans with grants or scholarships that do not have to be repaid – it doesn’t mean…

Do admissions officers check your social media posts?
Concord Monitor (NH) – February 22, 2021
Before I answer this, I have a question for you. If you learned that admission officers did check the social media of all applicants, would your posts or behavior change? If you answered ‘yes,’ it might…

Complete Guide to College Applications in the Covid Era
Whitmore School (Online High) – February 20, 2021
Are you a junior or senior in high school confused about the process of gaining college admission? This complete guide will answer your questions about the college application process, acing the SAT and test-optional colleges – and what you can do now to make sure you are ready to apply for the college of your dreams.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

Ten Top Tips for College Scholarship Success
International College Counselors – February 23, 2021
You don’t have to be a straight A student or score perfectly on the SAT or ACT. You may be able to score a scholarship with interests and skills like making a short video about human population growth, being involved in STEM, enjoying Magic: The Gathering, designing a greeting card, or doing a great duck call.

4 Major Ways the FAFSA Can Help You Pay for College
KAKE-ABC (KS) – February 22, 2021
Since financial need isn’t necessarily a requirement for aid, everyone who’s planning on college or graduate school should submit the FAFSA.

Federal Vs. Private Student Loans: 8 Differences
Forbes – February 24, 2021
Federal student loans come with far more benefits than private loans do, making them the best choice for most people. But federal student loans also come with annual limits, which means some borrowers may pursue private student loans to make up for a gap in college funding.

The Most Onerous Form in College Admissions
The Chronicle of Higher Education – February 23, 2021
The most onerous form in admissions bores into the bones of your existence. Each year it sows confusion and multiplies misery among those seeking financial aid from many of the nation’s wealthiest colleges. It’s called the College Scholarship Service Profile, or CSS Profile, for short.

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Inside The Admissions Office

Waiting Well in Uncertainty
Georgia Tech Admission Blog – February 19, 2021
If you applied to colleges for regular decision, it’s been a few long weeks now that you’ve been waiting on your decision. For the many Early Action applicants deferred…


An Update on ACT Testing for the 2020-2021 School Year
ACT – February 23, 2021
Notwithstanding COVID-19, students have spoken. They are seeking test scores for admissions, scholarships, and college and career insights.

AP English Classes: How to Choose
U.S. News & World Report – February 22, 2021
Both courses involve a great deal of reading and writing, but there are notable differences.

The SAT Eliminated Its Essay. Now What?
The College Post – February 19, 2021
Over its near century-long existence, the SAT has adjusted both its name and its construct multiple times. Therefore, removing the essay component is not necessarily as momentous as it may be perceived. In fact, the essay was only added…

Coronavirus-Related Resources

Where Teachers Are Eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine
Education Week
Since this information is changing rapidly, please note the date at which the information was last verified for each state.

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

ASCA Toolkit: Virtual High School Counseling
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)