High School Counselor Week

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


February 6, 2020

Big Picture

A Call for More Aid, and More Accountability
Inside Higher Ed – January 30, 2020
A panel including lawmakers involved in Congress’s last renewal of the Higher Education Act says that law is now obsolete, recommending a series of changes.

After ‘Varsity Blues’ scandal, lots of talk about overhauling college admissions. Will there be action?
The Hechinger Report – February 4, 2020
Gathering at USC dreams big, but many poor students will still be left behind

Just 7% Of U.S. High School Students Confident American Colleges Are World’s Best
Forbes – January 30, 2020
What becomes of U.S. higher education when the country’s own high school students doubt its value compared to foreign colleges and universities? That is the startling new question raised by a recent survey…

The Certificate-First Curriculum
Forbes – February 4, 2020
A few institutions are straying from straight-and-narrow custom and introducing what’s called the ‘upside-down’ or ‘inverted’ curriculum, in which students first take courses in their majors or in a bundle of classes leading to a marketable certificate and complete general education requirements later.

Columns and Blogs

Why You Should Celebrate National School Counseling Week
Post – February 6, 2020
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor Ph.D.

These traits make letter-perfect students
Tribune News Service – February 6, 2020
College Admissions Strategies with Lee Bierer 

Evaluating a Financial Aid Letter: What’s Usually Missing
Post – January 13, 2020
The College Solution Blog with Lynn O’Shaughnessy


Dear Future High School Counselor…
NACAC Admitted Blog – February 4, 2020
We asked NACAC member Edward “Eddie” Pickett III to reflect on what National School Counseling Week — and the profession — mean to him. He chose to pen a letter to the profession’s future leaders.

Helping students: School counselors in spotlight this week
Delaware State News – February 3, 2020
In today’s world, the guidance counselor moniker has given way to school counselor, whose mission is to improve success for all students through implementation of a comprehensive school counseling program.

National School Counselor Week Recognizes Their Impact On Academic Successes
AZEdNews – February 3, 2020
This year’s NSCW theme is ‘School Counselors: Helping Build Better Humans’

How the reach of virtual college advising is expanding
University Business – January 30, 2020
Near peers’ and virtual coaches guide students in choosing best-fit schools

Unintended Impact
Inside Higher Ed – February 3, 2020
Changes in the college application process designed to help students may not do so. A few of the more recent features designed to make the process easier — more streamlined and student-centered — have raised unintentional hurdles.


Four Ways to Help Your College Student Grow Up
New York Times – February 4, 2020
None of them involve calling the school to fix their problems.

I’m a CEO and a dad. Here’s the college advice I’m giving to my kids — including why I don’t care what they major in.
Business Insider – February 2, 2020
Yes, there are some jobs that need very specific training from day one. But as an employer, I’ve learned that most technical skills are ultimately teachable; it’s much more important that new hires know themselves and know how to communicate, think critically, and problem solve.


College Board: Free SAT prep available for redesigned, ‘skills-based’ test
KBTX-TV (TX) – January 30, 2020
The College Board’s “Suite of Assessments,” or SAT, was redesigned in 2016. Priscilla Rodriguez, the College Board’s vice president of college readiness assessments, says the goal is to better measure the skills and knowledge from curricula that students are already learning in schools. “We really organized it around the standards that states and districts across the country use,” she said. For the full interview with Rodriguez, see the video.

Admissions Process & Strategy

How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation for College
Yahoo! Finance – February 5, 2020
Obtaining high-quality letters of recommendation usually doesn’t happen overnight — it’s a process that takes time and planning.

College admissions process starts early
Tampa Bay Newspapers – January 30, 2020
Most people say the road to college starts your freshman year of high school,’ said Glen Besterfield, dean of admissions at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He offered the following advice for high schoolers

7 Tips for Writing an Amazing College Application Essay
Student Loan Hero – February 1, 2020
As a college counselor, I guided many students through the essay-writing process. Here are seven of my best tips on writing an outstanding college application essay that will impress an admissions officer and hopefully, get you into your dream school.

Career & Technical Education

How Colleges Are Making Work-Study Programs More Equitable
Diverse: Issues in Higher Education – January 29, 2020
What if work-study wasn’t just about paying for college? What if it was a more intentional part of a student’s education? Colleges and universities have developed some innovative models to make on-campus employment a path to post-graduation jobs.

How the Workforce Skills Gap is Placing Increased Focus on Technical Education
The EvoLLLution – January 28, 2020
The aging concept that there is a career-path chasm between manual labor and a four-year academic degree, has been bridged by the return of manufacturing to the U.S. economy and…

Louisiana reinventing career and technical education; ‘There is honor in all pathways’
The Advocate (LA) – February 2, 2020
Not only has the number of students graduating with career diplomas skyrocketed. Some new high school graduates are landing jobs paying $40,000 or $50,000 per year or more, and starting careers that are in no danger of disappearing.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

ECMC Dispels Financial Aid Myths As College-Bound Students Receive Award Letters
Yahoo! Finance – January 31, 2020
Myth #1: My financial aid award letter will show me a clear picture of college costs. Fact: The total costs…

The top 10 colleges for financial aid
CNBC – February 3, 2020
The top 10 are all private and many have sky-high sticker prices, yet their very generous aid packages make them surprisingly affordable.

Students should take FAFSA verification seriously
Leesville Daily Leader (LA) – February 5, 2020
The federal government requires many students who submit the FAFSA to verify the information included. Students chosen for verification cannot receive their financial aid until they complete the process. As soon as they are contacted, they should provide any information that is required.

The FAFSA Just Got Easier to Fill Out
Yahoo! Finance – February 1, 2020
New changes to the FAFSA will make it easier for families to complete that oft-necessary form, and Congress is considering additional changes to the FAFSA in 2020.

College financial aid: How divorce can complicate the application process
Fox Business – January 31, 2020
Only one parent can claim the child on their tax returns, but it doesn’t have to be the same parent who completed the FAFSA

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Teen Health

Fear of missing out: Is social media making your teen depressed?
Omaha World Herald – January 31, 2020
The amount of time spent on social media doesn’t correlate to increased or decreased anxiety and depression. However, what teens are consuming on social media can have a negative impact on their mental health. Many teens suffer from FOMO, or fear of missing out.

How to help teens cultivate healthier habits
Texarkana Gazette – February 1, 2020
When Nirvana recorded ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit,’ they were on right on target with their description of how adolescents are so often defiant and defeated simultaneously


Aim for higher expectations
The Stanford Daily – January 29, 2020
Hundreds of thousands of print-disabled students face artificial barriers to success in the classroom because of exclusive design, and educators are often at a loss for how best to help.


How Long Does the ACT Take?
CollegeVine – February 1, 2020
Test length, start and end times, and how to pace yourself.

Where Can You Take The SAT Or ACT?
College Raptor – February 3, 2020
The SAT and ACT are each held 7 times a year in the United States. Ever ask yourself where you can take the SAT or ACT? These tests are conducted at various …

A quick comparison between advanced placement and international baccalaureate
Augusta Free Press (VA) – January 30, 2020
More and more families are understanding the benefits of the IB programme and wondering if it is better than AP altogether. Before finalizing your decision, check out an overview of both and see how they differ.

Gap Year

February is Gap Year Exploration Month
TeenLife Blog – February 4, 2020
More students every year are choosing to take a gap year after high school, and this February the gap year movement is launching its second annual month-long campaign to encourage students to explore the option and its myriad benefits.

The College Gap Year: Student Resources for Travel, Volunteering & Learning During Time Away From School
Affordable Colleges Online – February 3, 2020
So what is a gap year? These experiential breaks allow students to take time off between high school and college to broaden their worldviews, learn new skills, build lifelong memories, and refocus on the next chapter of their academic career. This guide delves into the questions surrounding how, when, and why to take a gap year and provides expert advice for those considering this option.

How to Avoid 5 Gap Year Mistakes
Year Out Group – January 30, 2020
Gap years have long been popular in Europe and are gaining more traction in the United States—and for good reason. However, successful gap years require a strategy.