High School Counselor Week

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


January 5, 2023

Big Picture

Survey: Most high school graduates don’t feel prepared for college, career decisions
K-12 Dive – December 14, 2022
57% said they had five or less conversations with high school teachers and counselors about their post-high school plans, according to a survey recently released by YouScience, a company that gives students career guidance. The survey, which had over 500 respondents who graduated high school between 2019 and 2022, also found that 30% were not following any planned educational or career path.

School Attendance Problems Are Complex, and Our Solutions Need to be as Well
The 74 – December 29, 2022
Over the past few years, the pandemic prompted school closures and remote learning that drew international attention to issues of students missing school — what researchers call ‘non-attendance.’ But school non-attendance is not a new issue. Terms like ‘epidemic’ have been used in relation to school attendance problems in many countries such as Canada, the United States and Australia for a long time. School attendance problems are complex and often very challenging to address. And for responses to be effective in getting students to school more often, they need to reflect this.

School shootings reach unprecedented high in 2022
K-12 Dive – December 21, 2022
There’s been an on-campus shooting ‘pretty much every single school day’ this fall, the founder of the K-12 School Shooting Database said. These counts include any acts of gun violence on K-12 public, private and charter school campuses, including mass shootings, gang shootings, domestic violence, shootings at sports games and after-hours school events, suicides and other incidents.

Columns and Blogs

The Brussels Sprouts of College Admissions
Post – January 4, 2023
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D.

3 P’s of College Admissions
Post – January 4, 2023
College Advice & Timely Tips with Lee Bierer


College Admission ‘For The Rest Of Us’
Forbes – December 23, 2022
As we look ahead to 2023, I asked my counseling colleagues to air their grievances with the admission process and suggest changes. These will likely resonate for any student or parent who is applying to college.

9 essential mental health supports for school-based programs
K-12 Dive – December 14, 2022
Researchers have long known poor mental health negatively affects academic achievement, and the COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on how schools can help address the issue. Just over half of U.S. public schools offered mental health assessments for students — and even fewer offered treatment — during the 2019-20 school year. Schools cited barriers such as inadequate funding and access to licensed mental health professionals, school policies, potential legal issues, lack of community support, reaction from parents and reluctance to label students. Alongside partnering with nonprofits that offer tailored programs, experts recommend the following nine foundational approaches to caring for students’ mental health in schools.

Protocols to stop mass school shootings are spreading. Are students’ right being violated?
USA Today – December 28, 2022
Threat assessment teams – typically teachers, mental health providers and law enforcement officials – use specific protocols designed to pinpoint emerging or imminent threats and stop violence before it happens. When teams use these protocols correctly, proponents say, schools are safer and the school environment is more tolerant. Some research supports this view, but there’s no evidence to date that use of the protocols prevents school shootings. And advocates say the process disproportionately targets students already at risk of not succeeding in school. Students in special education, in particular, are more likely than their peers to face a threat assessment, and some have been denied protections they are owed under federal law.


What are ‘Promise Programs’ and how can they help make college more affordable?
PBS News Hour – December 26, 2022
More than a dozen states and multiple cities and counties subscribe to initiatives called ‘Promise Programs.’ They vary in design, but in general they offer recent, local high school graduates tuition-free college for institutions in a specific geographic area. Here are some of the findings on how promise programs affect enrollment and their respective communities.


Is College Worth It? A Father and Son Disagree on Whether to Finish Their Degrees
EdSurge – December 20, 2022
Finishing a college degree is hard. It’s an endurance race: It takes determination to keep going, and a belief that it will all be worth it in the end. But what if the current generation of students is just less sold on needing a college degree than their parents are?

More schools are opting for four-day weeks. Here’s what you need to know
USA Today – December 28, 2022
Instructional time policies often vary by district, but the four-day model is particularly pronounced in certain states, including those in the western region of the country and the South.F1663+F1664

Admissions Process & Strategy

How Students Can Manage Stress While Awaiting A College Decision
Forbes – December 29, 2022
After months of studying for standardized tests, compiling application materials, and editing essays, students can breathe a sigh of relief after the January 1st college application deadline. However, with the additional free time and the impending admissions decisions, many students experience a fresh wave of anxiety and stress.

Spring Semester: The Final Push for College Applications
Tulsa Kids – December 10, 2022
Spring semester senior year can feel much like a manic race to the finish line. Heaped on to the academic, extracurricular and social demands of a regular school semester are the numerous activities associated with graduation. Looming above it all like a dark cloud of dread is the college application process. For parents and kids navigating that final stretch, Staci Pennington, senior admissions counselor at the University of Tulsa, offers a few tips for college applications.

Opinion: Early decision programs openly stack the college admissions deck
CNN – December 15, 2022
Other admission practices, such as the legacy preference for children of alumni, may more openly stack the deck in favor of the wealthy, but none is as pervasive as the opaque early decision system, through which elite colleges fill as much as two-thirds of their classes. It wasn’t always this way.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

5 Ways to Pay for Community College
U.S. News & World Report – December 22, 2022
In most cases, community college students are eligible for the same type of federal and state financial aid as undergraduates at four-year universities. However, institutional aid resources – those provided by the school itself – are less common at community colleges than at their four-year counterparts.

What happened to Biden’s free college plan? Cutting cost of higher ed out of feds’ reach
USA Today – December 20, 2022
Cutting student loan debt is in the spotlight, but the price of college in the first place is going largely unaddressed. The federal government can do little about the cost of tuition, with state budgets and private institutions holding most of the power in this arena. Free college programs can only go so far; tuition has been rising with little exception for decades; and experts say there are too penalties for colleges if students don’t graduate.

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Teen Health

How Schools Can Help Overloaded Teens
The 74 – December 22, 2022
Does your child’s school prioritize their mental health and well-being? Here are key changes schools can make to increase sleep and reduce stress

Teen Suicides Fell During Lockdown, Rose When In-Person Schooling Resumed, Study Finds
Forbes – December 28, 2022
Suicide rates among teenagers fell sharply when schools were closed during the Covid-19 lockdown, but rose again when in-person schooling resumed, according to a new study. Returning from online to in-person education was associated with an increase in the rate of teen suicides of as much as 18%. The results provide convincing evidence that ‘in-person schooling is a contributor to teen suicide,’ researchers say, with exposure to bullying likely to be a key factor in the link. Using Google searches as a proxy for concern about bullying, researchers found that fully reopening schools was associated with a 52% increase in bullying queries, a 42% increase in cyber-bullying queries and a 93% increase in queries about school bullying.

TikTok Pushes Harmful Content to Teens Every 39 Seconds
HealthNews – December 28, 2022
A new report shows that TikTok pushes harmful content promoting eating disorders and self-harm to teens every 39 seconds. Harmful TikTok content goes under the radar with moderators due to coded hashtags. The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) has shared four recommendations to TikTok to help make the app safer for teens.

Career & Technical Education

The Benefits of Career and Technical Education Programs for High Schoolers
U.S. News & World Report – December 27, 2022
The ‘vocational education’ of years ago has evolved from wood shop and home economics into a powerful educational reform tool. Some 8.3 million high school students participated in CTE pathways in 2020-2021. With courses that range from landscape design to culinary arts, CTE is part of a robust national approach to boosting high school graduation rates and preparing students for well-paying jobs. Many districts even partner with industry to align their course offerings with labor market needs.