High School Counselor Week

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


January 28, 2021

Big Picture

Schools Are Not Key Drivers Of Covid-19 Transmission – If Safety Measures Are In Place
Forbes – January 27, 2021
But there is an important caveat to the research: the schools taking part had extensive safety measures in place, including adults and children wearing masks, regular hand-washing and maintaining physical distancing.

As reopenings move forward, so do plans to maintain online learning options
Education Dive – January 26, 2021
The virtual learning infrastructure put in place to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis also creates a built-in ‘school choice’ option many districts previously didn’t have the funds to offer. Now that…

The Digital Divide Has Narrowed, But 12 Million Students Are Still Disconnected
EdSurge – January 27, 2021
When schools closed last March, roughly 16 million U.S. K-12 students lacked access to a working device, reliable high-speed internet or both. In the months that followed, many states and school districts mobilized, using federal CARES Act funding, broadband discounts and…

‘Alarm Bells’ on First-Generation, Low-Income Applicants
Inside Higher Ed – January 26, 2021
Newly released data about the Common App show that the larger and more competitive colleges and universities are having a good year and getting lots of applications. But smaller and less competitive colleges are not. And first-generation students and those who lack the money to pay for an application…

Columns and Blogs

Education Is Getting National Attention Again!
Post – January 27, 2021
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor Ph.D.

Advantages of taking a Gap Year
Tribune News Service – January 27, 2021
College Admissions Strategies with Lee Bierer 

New FAFSA Changes – Winners and Losers
Tribune News Service – January 19, 2021
The College Solution with Lynn O’Shaughnessy 


National School Counseling Week
American School Counseling Association – January 25, 2021
National School Counseling Week 2021, ‘School Counselors: All In for All Students,’ will be celebrated from Feb. 1-5, 2021. Sponsored by ASCA, it focuses public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors within U.S. school systems. Find activities and events as well as promotional materials here.

5 ways schools are addressing pandemic-induced mental health issues
Education Dive – January 22, 2021
Schools are strengthening student-parent-school relationships and improving mental health response coordination in reaction to COVID-19’s toll on students and staff.

More than a nudge: To get more students to and through college, intensive advising may be key
Chalkbeat – January 26, 2021
Michelle Snyder’s job is to help more than 600 high school juniors and seniors through the college application process each year. It’s a daunting task in normal times, now made even tougher by the pandemic.


Counselors Advise Parents to Talk to Their Kids About Politics
Spectrum News 1 (TX) – January 23, 2021
Talking to your kids about what’s going on in the world looks different for each family. Counselors, psychologists, and even some teachers say it’s better to come up with a strategy than to avoid a conversation altogether, especially in the political climate we’re in.

Parents With Disabilities Face Extra Hurdles With Kids’ Remote Schooling
KQED CA – January 25, 2021
The Americans with Disabilities Act says schools have to help not just students but parents with disabilities, too, like making sure deaf or blind parents can communicate during parent-teacher conferences. But what happens when kids are learning at home? That’s uncharted territory.

Admissions Process & Strategy

College application process shifts with pandemic
Gilette News Record (WY) – January 24, 2021
For most students, applying for college includes researching financial aid opportunities, writing college admissions essays, taking standardized tests and, in a non-pandemic, visiting college campuses.

Four ways to tour colleges at home
The Philadelphia Tribune – January 26, 2021
While students are at home and not able to tour colleges physically, there are different ways to get to know a college through their online resources and social media presences.

These colleges went to remote learning but hiked tuition anyway
CNBC – January 22, 2021
Students argue remote learning should cost less, not more, than an in-person education.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

Expected family contributions for college loans might be going away, thanks to COVID-19
Boing Boing – January 24, 2021
Nestled somewhere in the 5000-page COVID relief bill signed earlier this month, there was also a significant change to the FAFSA form: the deceptively-named Expected Family Contribution is being replaced by a ‘Student Aid Index.’

How to pay less for college: Merit aid
Marketplace – January 26, 2021
Parents may want to impress outsiders by getting their child into a prestigious college. ‘But what other people don’t understand,’ says New York Times columnist Ron Lieber, ‘is whatever financial constraints you may be operating under.’

Attending college without incurring debt
Aiken Standard (SC) – January 24, 2021
I was astounded recently when I discovered that the total of all outstanding student loan debt is now in excess of $1 trillion. To make matters worse, I see an advertisement on local television touting ways that a person can defer repayment or even default on the debt. There has to be a better way.


High School Teachers: Good ACT, SAT Prep Resources
U.S. News & World Report – January 25, 2021
These sometimes-forgotten sources of support are invaluable for three reasons.

Hastened by COVID, A Test Optional Experiment Is Underway in College Admission
Pleasanton Weekly – January 27, 2021
The movement toward optional use of standardized tests date back to 1969 when Bowdoin College in Maine ended testing requirements. Since then, hundreds of colleges have moved in the same direction. This year, as the coronavirus interrupted SAT and ACT exam schedules, a new trend emerged—many prominent schools…

The College Board’s (Smaller?) Future
Inside Higher Ed – January 25, 2021
Many observers — some of them long-standing critics and others sometime fans — say the College Board will be smaller and less influential in the future. And they expect most colleges that went test optional this year to stay that way, further eroding the board’s influence.

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Federal Probes into Lack of School Services for Special Needs Students Reflect Nearly a Year of Parental Anguish, Advocates Say
The 74 – January 26, 2021
The inquiries reflect the anguish of those forced to watch their children regress at home, losing skills it took them years to build. Parents from coast to coast say their local school districts should either open their doors to these students or play a greater role in providing at-home care.

Coronavirus-Related Resources

•NEW• 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

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)