High School Counselor Week

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


January 14, 2021

Big Picture

What school districts need to know about COVID-19 vaccine mandates
Education Dive – January 12, 2021
In many states, educators and other school staff are listed in the early phases of COVID-19 vaccine rounds, following the CDC’s recommendations to vaccinate essential workers after those in healthcare and nursing home residents. And district leaders are grappling with a big question: Should districts require staff to receive a COVID-19 shot?

The Pandemic Has Revealed What Really Matters in Education. (Spoiler: It’s Not Tests.)
EdSurge – January 6, 2021
As it turns out, many of the things that educators and community members have spent years advocating for are not just ‘nice to have.’ They are essential to the health and wellbeing of all of us, especially our children. More counselors and translators, more technology resources, more family engagement coordinators, more support from…

Admissions Have and Have-Nots
Inside Higher Ed – January 11, 2021
Institutions with money and prestige are doing very well this year; those known for serving low-income students, not so much.

Columns and Blogs

Colleges—Go Test Optional for The Class of 2022 Now
Post – January 13, 2021
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor Ph.D.

Do We Really Need Another Acronym in College Admissions? – LOCI
Tribune News Service – January 13, 2021
College Admissions Strategies with Lee Bierer 


Counseling For College Admission In 2021
Forbes – January 13, 2021
I asked high school counselors and others supporting students through the admission experience what concerns them the most and what they are hopeful about. Not surprisingly, parallel themes emerged. Here is what they had to say:

Two LexOne school counselors publish book on student anxiety
Cola Daily (SC) – January 7, 2021
The two said after speaking at a national conference about student anxiety and how to manage it as a school counselor, a textbook company reached out to them asking if they would co-write a book. Managing Student Anxiety in School Settings delves into how anxiety impacts students’ emotional and academic well-being. A heavy focus in the book is placed on creating a tangible set of strategies that…

Return From Winter Break With Success
Confident Counselors – January 11, 2021
Coming back to school after winter break can be difficult. Students and families across the country will be returning to school and will need time to adjust to the upcoming semester like never before. No matter if you are returning face-to-face, virtually, or a combination of both, there are a few things you can do to set yourself up for success. Check out the eight tips below as you embrace returning to school after winter break.

Nothing can replace relationships between students and advisers, but some tools make a big difference
The Hechinger Report – January 13, 2021
Without seeing them in person, counselors must help students complete crucial tasks related to college admissions and financial aid, with a student-to-adviser ratio 72 percent higher than ASCA recommends. High-quality virtual advising can help. Defined as distance counseling that is mediated by…


Online Learning Experiences You Don’t Want to Miss This Winter/Spring
TeenLife Blog – January 8, 2021
Online schooling has been a tumultuous experience for parents, students, and teachers alike. After school activities and clubs are among the hardest hit by the pandemic. Parents and students can take comfort in the fact that, aside from keeping their loved ones safe, many amazing courses and enrichment opportunities are now offered online.

Admissions Process & Strategy

10 Overdone College Audition Songs
Backstage – January 12, 2021
Here are 10 recently overdone musical theater college audition songs and some suggestions for alternatives. I spoke with professors at six musical theater college programs across the U.S. to compile this list, which is in no particular order.

College Visits: Virtual Tours, What to Ask
Fastweb – January 12, 2021
What questions should you ask on your virtual campus tour? What are the important aspects of college for you to consider? Our student contributor shares helpful advice to make your college decision process easier!

Five College Admissions Trends For 2021
Forbes – January 12, 2021
Only time will tell how the pandemic will alter university trends for future generations. However, I believe these five trends will be of greatest impact in 2021.

College isn’t the only way to succeed
Daily Emerald – January 12, 2021
College. The educational institution that American culture has painted as the ultimate promised land for all students. Except, it’s not. The mindset that college is the only path to success is not only wrong, it’s damaging. College can be wanted, or even needed, for certain skill sets, but there are other directions that can be just as rewarding.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

FAFSA Simplification Changes Which Parent Must File The FAFSA
Forbes – January 11, 2021
The FAFSA has different rules concerning which parent(s) are responsible for completing a dependent student’s FAFSA and who is considered a dependent of the parent on the FAFSA. These rules are changing, starting with the 2023-2024 FAFSA.

How colleges deceive students by ‘discounting’ the cost
The Free Lance Star (VA) – January 11, 2021
Simply put, discounting is unfunded, fake scholarship money that is offered to prospective students. Unbelievably, this practice, with a very few exceptions, is used by most private colleges and universities across the country. Here is how it works:

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Inside The Admissions Office

How to Stay Admitted
Tulane University Admission Blog – January 12, 2021
If you have recently been admitted to a school under their Early Action or Early Decision plan… congrats! Now, prepare yourself for the most dad blog I’ve written: How to stay admitted to that college or university. I present you, six ways to have your admission rescinded:

Light in the Darkness
Georgia Tech Admission Blog – January 12, 2021
For some reason people tend to think of the actual college experience and the college admission experience as separate entities. The truth is the two are closely linked.


‘It’s So Draining’: AP Students and Teachers Face Distance Learning Struggles
Berkeley High Jacket (CA) – January 9, 2021
Advanced Placement courses have gotten even harder during the pandemic due to a lack of support, limited class time, and a breakneck pace.

What to Know About IB Theory of Knowledge
U.S. News & World Report – January 11, 2021
The International Baccalaureate program released new guidelines in 2020 for its Theory of Knowledge, or TOK, component. For students who are currently or soon to be enrolled in the IB’s Diploma Program, it is important to know exactly what these changes consist of:

Coronavirus-Related Resources

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

COVID-29 Data Dashboard
C2i (College Crisis Initiative)

School Counseling During COVID-19
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)