High School Counselor Week

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


January 7, 2021

Big Picture

COVID Forces Number of Rural Students Attending College to Plummet
The College Post – January 5, 2021
The number of rural students expected to enroll in college in the near future has plummeted due to COVID-19. A major indicator of this trend is that the number of rural students completing federal application forms for financial aid has dropped by 16 percent compared to last year. This is…

Biden’s Choice for Education Secretary
Inside Higher Ed – January 4, 2021
Miguel Cardona, education commissioner in Connecticut, is a strong defender of public schools. Biden reiterates support for free community college and all public colleges for families earning less than $125,000.

Secretary DeVos Quickly Makes Available an Additional $54 Billion in COVID Relief Aid for K-12 Students, Teachers, and Schools
U.S. Department of Education – January 5, 2021
Urges educators to safely re-open schools and take immediate action to address the unprecedented learning loss of disadvantaged children

Their Stories Helped Lift a 26-Year Ban on Pell Grants for Prisoners
The Chronicle of Higher Education – December 30, 2020
Expanding such opportunities has enjoyed growing bipartisan support as a way to reduce recidivism, save taxpayers money, and mitigate the discriminatory effects of mass incarceration and unequal schooling. But some fear

Columns and Blogs

Remembering Six Students
Post – January 6, 2021
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor Ph.D.

Say goodbye to 2020 in the best way possible
Tribune News Service – January 6, 2021
College Admissions Strategies with Lee Bierer 


How one school counselor is trying to tackle a pandemic mental health crisis
Chicago Tribune – January 5, 2021
School counselor Bonnie Hayman is charged with taking care of 1,100 middle-school kids and almost 100 staff during a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic…’The school is not just an educational entity. It is a social and safety construct for our children and that has been stripped away from them.’

The Importance of Social Emotional Wellness & How Various Camden Schools Are Tackling it
TAP into Camden (NJ) – January 3, 2021
Tracy Foedisch, one of the founders of Hope Community Charter School, was always aware of the large undocumented population in Camden. But she says the pandemic helped put the topic in a new light.

Concord School Board puts forth suicide prevention plan
Concord Monitor (NH) – January 5, 2021
Concord School District is developing a plan for youth suicide prevention and response, and is piloting a new technology to monitor student web activity for potential warning signs.


How the pandemic is shaking up college admissions, testing
PBS News Hour – December 29, 2020
With many college admissions testing sites closing down during the pandemic, as many as 50 percent of early applications arrived without any test scores this year. That’s resulted in some top-ranked schools seeing a surge in applications, but elsewhere, application numbers are flat or even down. William Brangham spoke with Jeffrey Selingo, author of “Who Gets In and Why,” to learn more.


Helping Your Student Make the Most of Remote Learning (LISTEN)
College Parent Central – January 6, 2021
Vicki shared 20 suggestions based on her experiences with her students during this past semester. Some may seem obvious, but others may prove helpful to students who struggled in this new environment. (Podcast, partial transcript, and links to resources mentioned)

We Love Virtual Learning: Students, Parents Explain Why
EdWeek – January 6, 2021
Until recently, Aiden had a rocky K-12 career. He got into fights. He was suspended multiple times. He sat alone in the cafeteria. Though he is gifted, his string of Bs and Cs didn’t reflect that, partly because his ADHD made it tough to focus. Now, Aiden, who is also on the autism spectrum, is having his best school year yet.

Admissions Process & Strategy

Common App Turns to Artificial Intelligence Chatbot to Guide Low-Income and First-Generation Students
Diverse Issues in Higher Education – December 30, 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, college applications dropped, especially among first-generation and low-income students. Common App is launching a new initiative aimed at addressing the problem – an artificial intelligence chatbot named Ollie, designed to guide students through the admissions process.

How to Find Free College Admissions Resources
U.S. News & World Report – January 5, 2021
No-cost resources for college admissions assistance extend to advising, test prep, finding scholarships and more.

Expert discusses best practices for picking a college during the pandemic
WMBF News (SC) – January 4, 2021
A college or university website can say a lot about the school, like the campus lifestyle, academics and cost. Dr. Elaine Maimon, advisor at American Council on Education, said when beginning the college search, look for…

In a high school senior year like no other, the college search goes virtual
The Buffalo News (NY) – January 6, 2021
It’s a tough year to be a senior,’ said Angel B. Perez, CEO of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. ‘The most obvious change has been the process of getting to know a school.’

Financial Aid/Scholarships

8 Ways You Could Lose Your Federal Financial Aid
KAKE-ABC (KS) – December 30, 2020
Earning financial aid when you start college doesn’t guarantee you’ll get it all four years, and some students find themselves facing financial aid suspension. While you can go through an appeal process, the best scenario is to avoid losing aid in the first place.

FAFSA’s Expected Family Contribution Is Going Away. Good Riddance.
The New York Times – December 30, 2020
The dollar figure that the federal financial aid form spits out has long left families confused and despondent. And then there are those great expectations.

Students Affected By The Pandemic May Face Extra Hurdles For Financial Aid. Here’s What They Should Know
LAist – January 5, 2021
As college-bound students await news of acceptance to schools for this Fall, most will get financial aid offers based largely on their family’s pre-pandemic income. For many, that’s a relic from a more financially stable past that could cost students millions in aid.

Career & Technical Education

Alternatives to four-year degrees
The Buffalo News (NY) – January 5, 2021
If anyone still thinks a four-year degree is the only route to a fulfilling, lucrative career, it’s probably a good idea to think again. In fact, alternatives to college are getting a lot more notice, especially in light of what’s happened since the pandemic hit.

Voc-tech schools thriving despite pandemic strictures
Commonwealth Magazine (MA) – January 5, 2021
Schools finding innovative ways to continue hands-on learning

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Confronting The Stigma Against Persons With Disabilities In College
Study Breaks – January 2, 2021
College campuses are just one among many places where people with disabilities face systematic discrimination and exclusion.


Will Getting Rid Of Admissions Tests Make Selective Schools More Equitable?
Forbes – January 3, 2021
The combination of Covid-19 and the push for racial justice has led some school districts to abandon admissions tests for selective schools. Will those moves lead to greater equity or just paper over more fundamental problems?

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)