High School Counselor Week

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


March 18, 2021

Big Picture

Review of 130 studies favors reopening schools with safety measures
Education Dive – March 12, 2021
State and local leaders should prioritize in-person learning for students and make adjustments based on community risk factors, according to the 92-page report, which examines the collective findings of more than 130 studies

Schooling has changed forever. Here’s what will stay when things go back to normal
The Hechinger Report – March 16, 2021
A public school district in Arizona is looking to become a service provider for parents who have pulled their children out to home-school them. In Oklahoma, students are having a say in where and when they learn. And educators everywhere are paying closer attention to students’ mental well-being.

The American Rescue Plan Includes $122 Billion for Education: How Can it Be Used?
Tech & Learning – March 12, 2021
The American Rescue Plan provides more dollars for education than in the prior two rounds of funding, but there are also more requirements

Columns and Blogs

WPI, UC Merced, and (sigh) Varsity Blues
Post – March 17, 2021
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor Ph.D.

Varsity Blues scandal – two years later
Tribune News Service – March 17, 2021
College Admissions Strategies with Lee Bierer 

Taking advantage of today’s college admission landscape
Post – March 10, 2021

The College Solution with Lynn O’Shaughnessy


Conversation With Our 2021 Excellence In College Counseling Winners
Forbes – March 16, 2021
We know the crucial and irreplaceable role that school counselors play in getting students to college. We also know that the pandemic has hit the counseling profession hard. That’s why…

In spat with Conejo Valley Unified, school counselors union asks state board to intervene
VC Star (CA) – March 16, 2021
The union representing school counselors in Conejo Valley Unified School District filed an unfair practice charge with the state over the district’s handling of their responsibilities. The charge stems from the district shifting counselors’ duties to include work previously done by a separate group of workers.

No one is sure what to expect’: Schools, colleges add more counseling services to address student mental health
EdSource – March 16, 2021
As students begin returning to the classroom as the pandemic eases, schools are bracing for an onslaught of serious mental health conditions that, for some students, may take years to overcome.


How students are fighting Zoom fatigue
PBS News Hour – March 16, 2021

Is there anything we can do? Yes! In this video, high school student John Barnes, a 2021 Health Video Fellow with PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs, explores the science of Zoom fatigue and challenges some fellow students to try out these tips.



More Parents Opt For Private Learning Options
Forbes – March 15, 2021
My neighbor has had enough of Zoom schooling and halting district reopening plans. She is removing her child from public school to homeschool this spring and will enroll her in a private school in the fall. This mom is not alone.

The Best Savings Plans for College
SavingAdvice.com – March 15, 2021
As parents prepare to send their kids to college and fill out their FAFSA, many find themselves wishing they had begun savings plans for college sooner. Here is what you need to know about…

Admissions Process & Strategy

Benefits of community colleges are overlooked, high school counselors say
La Voz News (De Anza College, CA) – March 16, 2021
Because four-year universities are often advertised as the only viable option after high school, Bay Area guidance counselors find that students overlook the benefits of community college.

5 steps for creating an outstanding activity résumé
The Oakland Press (MI) – March 15, 2021
When deciding whether to admit you, colleges consider your extracurricular activities. The best way to showcase your activities is with an activity résumé that highlights your talents and strengths.

Which Colleges Offer the Best Virtual Campus Visits?
College Confidential – March 15, 2021
Spring is on the way; the season when flowers bloom, the days get longer and warmer, and high school juniors and seniors traditionally flock to visit college campuses as they decide where to apply or attend. But for the last two years…

College Essays

‘When Normal Life Stopped’: College Essays Reflect a Turbulent Year
The New York Times – March 17, 2021
In response to a request from The New York Times, more than 900 seniors submitted the personal essays they wrote for their college applications. Reading them is like a trip through two of the biggest news events of recent decades: the devastation wrought by the coronavirus, and the rise of a new civil rights movement.

COVID increased the importance of diversity essays on college applications: Four questions to help you brainstorm
LamorindaWeekly (CA) – March 17, 2021
Diversity statements are an increasingly common requirement on college applications. These questions are going to become even more common in upcoming cycles because of the ways the COVID pandemic has changed college admissions. With more colleges offering test optional admission, a far greater number of historically underrepresented individuals are…

How to write an effective college application essay
Augusta Free Press (VA) – March 15, 2021
When writing a successful college essay applicants should ensure that their narrative showcases their personality, goals, and ambitions effectively as possible within the given word limit. These are…

Financial Aid/Scholarships

Counting cost of college loans should be as easy as counting hamburger calories
Tri-Cities Journal of Business (WA) – March 15, 2021
This quantifiable and useful information is noticeably absent though from the realm of higher education.

Lessons in Finance Could Reduce Student Debt
Voice of America News – March 16, 2021
Millions of student loan borrowers owe a collective $1.7 trillion in debt, but many commit to loans without knowing what they are signing up for, research shows.


When and How to Cancel Your SAT, ACT Scores
U.S. News & World Report – March 15, 2021
Weigh this decision carefully, because in general it’s better to not cancel your test scores.

How your name is sold to colleges for marketing
Concord Monitor (NH) – March 15, 2021
Here is how it works: You register and pay a testing agency, like the College Board, to take the PSAT, SAT, ACT, TOEFL, AP/IB exams, or another standardized test. Now they have your name and contact information. They then turn around and…

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Inside The Admissions Office

Where to Find Private Scholarships for College
Azusa Pacific University – March 16, 2021
Millions of private scholarships are offered nationwide, from businesses and organizations of every size. In fact, Savingforcollege.com reported that ‘more than 1.7 million private scholarships and fellowships are awarded, with a total value of more than $7.4 billion.’ Where do you start?

You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers
Tulane University Admission Blog – March 11, 2021
During this wacky time of virtual everything, you might be signing up for virtual info sessions or interviews with various colleges. Got a school you’re super interested in? You’ve got nothing to lose by reaching out to your admission rep to see if you can set up an informal Zoom session with them. I’ll give you six examples of good types of questions to ask when…

Teen Health

How the pandemic has impacted teen mental health
Mott Poll (Mott Children’s Hospital, MI) – March 15, 2021
Restrictions put in place to contain COVID-19 may be particularly difficult for teens, who rely heavily on their peer and social connections for emotional support. 2021, the Mott Poll asked a national sample of parents about the emotional impact pandemic restrictions have had on their teens age 13-18.

Pandemic Has Harmed Mental Health of Teens
WebMD – March 15, 2021
If your teenagers have been struggling to cope during the coronavirus pandemic, a new survey suggests they are far from alone. Researchers found…

Coronavirus-Related Resources

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

ASCA Toolkit: Virtual High School Counseling
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)