High School Counselor Week

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


May 19, 2022

Big Picture

ACT study finds grade inflation in high school GPAs over the past decade
Higher Ed Dive – May 16, 2022
A new report from ACT finds evidence of grade inflation in high school seniors’ grade point averages between 2010 and 2021, based on analyses of high school GPAs and ACT composite scores of more than 4.3 million students from 4,783 schools. Though GPAs increased, average ACT composite scores continued to decline, in 2021 reaching the lowest average score of the past decade, the report found.

ACT Says Grade Inflation Is a Serious Problem. It’s Probably Not.
EdSurge – May 16, 2022
The ACT has seen the writing on the wall—and it doesn’t look good. At a time when more colleges and universities are taking tentative steps away from standardized tests, ACT is not only recognizing the threat, but urging caution. Its reasoning? Grade inflation is growing, and grade point averages alone are not enough for colleges to make informed decisions about applicants without an objective measure of competence—like, say, a standardized test.

Districts Recommend Masks — But Don’t Require Them — as COVID Counts Rise
The 74 – May 17, 2022
Coronavirus cases are rising nationwide but, so far, upticks have spurred only a few school districts to reinstate mask mandates. Much more common, school and health officials are announcing guidance strongly recommending that residents wear masks indoors as case counts rise, but have fallen short of issuing mandates.

Columns and Blogs

The Checklist for College-bound Juniors
Post – May 18, 2022
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D.

Juniors – Now is the time to ask for letters of recommendation
Post – May 18, 2022
College Advice & Timely Tips with Lee Bierer


How Medicaid Can Help Schools Sustain Support for Students’ Mental Health
FutureEd – May 17, 2022
School districts across the country are using federal Covid-relief aid to bring mental health professionals into school buildings and to expand social-emotional learning programs. Public schools have received nearly $190 billion in three waves of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief that can be used for a range of priorities, including school-based mental health supports. But the unprecedented infusion of federal aid also creates a challenge: how to sustain new school staff positions when the funding expires at the end of 2024. Medicaid, the federal-state partnership that provides health care for millions of public-school students, could be part of the solution—as long as states take the necessary steps to use the tool and federal agencies back them up.

With High School Counselors Badly Outnumbered, Innovative Nonprofit Steps In to Offer Smart College Advising to Low-Income Students Across the Country
The 74 – May 2, 2022
In May 2004, Nicole Hurd walked out of a meeting in Charlottesville, Virginia, reached her car in the nearby Taco Bell parking lot, and turned to her University of Virginia colleagues, informing them that she had just had an epiphany. Hurd recalls her colleagues looking at her like she was crazy. The pilot program proved itself worthy, and in 2007, it went national with a new name, College Advising Corps. As of 2018, the corps had more than 700 advisers in 15 states, working in 670 schools. From 2005 to 2016, it served more than 848,000 students in high schools across America.

Why Louisiana counseling centers are seeing a rise in kids with grief
PBS News Hour – May 12, 2022
As the number of COVID deaths reach another grim milestone, mental health experts are concerned for the tens of thousands of young people struggling through a growing wave of grief, many of them without the services they need. Roughly one in 450 children in the U.S. have lost at least one of their caretakers to COVID, according to a December report from the collaborative titled ‘Hidden Pain.’ And 70 percent of caregiver loss – accounting for 151,982 children – was among those aged 13 and younger.


Top 6 resources to help pay for college
Warwick Beacon (RI) – May 16, 2022
If your child is college bound, you probably have questions — including how to pay for their higher education. What may surprise you is how many different sources you’ll draw from to cover tuition, room and board — plus expenses like books, fees, travel and more. A recent study revealed over a dozen funding sources parents used to help fund their kids’ education.


Tips for getting an edge on college admissions
PIX11 News (NJ) – May 16, 2022
Many students with strong GPAs, loads of extracurricular activities, high test scores, and other academic achievements did not get into top schools this year. We talk with Danny Ruderman, the author of Top 100 Answers To Your College Admission Questions, about the changes students face with admissions today, and some tips to give them an edge when applying for colleges in the fall.


Admissions Process & Strategy

4 Tips for Finding the Best College for You
Nasdaq – May 17, 2022
High school students beginning their college search should take a page out of the Boy Scouts’ manual: With the price of a bachelor’s degree topping six-figures, ‘being prepared’ can pay off — literally. Rankings alone will never be able to account for the variety of demands individual students will have. As you embark on your college search, keep these four tips in mind:

College Tasks for Each Summer of High School
U.S. News & World Report – May 16, 2022
Don’t wait until the start of the school year to check off your many to-dos that can help get you ready to apply to colleges. Follow these tips to make the most of the summer before each year of high school.

What’s Really Wrong With Our Flawed System of Elite College Admissions
Inside Higher Ed – May 16, 2022
How our fiercely competitive system of elite college admissions distorts student aspirations and damages their mental health—and what we can do about this.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

A Path to College Tuition Affordability: College Scholarships
edhat Santa Barbara (CA) – May 14, 2022
With college tuition prices escalating at an incredibly rapid rate, families are desperate to find ways to fund their children’s college education. Scholarships are now more than ever an integral aspect of funding today’s college education. Often families believe they cannot obtain any scholarships because of their income level, but there are plenty of awards based on merit and other variables such as leadership and community service.

A problem of fit: Tackling affordability and pricing in higher education
Brookings Institution – May 16, 2022
For most families and prospective college students, understanding which colleges are accessible and affordable is a real struggle. Recently, Center on Children and Families at Brookings hosted an event analyzing and discussing how much college really costs for students from families with different incomes and assets, and how to make college more affordable for students from lower-income backgrounds.

Financial aid administrators call for student loan system reforms
Higher Ed Dive – May 16, 2022
The federal government’s student financial aid system has long come under fire, drawing a range of accusations: the U.S. DOE is lax in monitoring loan servicers, loan forgiveness is difficult for borrowers to secure, students are shepherded into plans that make little sense for their financial circumstances. These criticisms took on new fervor as the Biden administration began to rework federal financial aid…In light of these discussions, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, along with a cadre of 21 higher education organizations, has developed recommendations to improve the federal loan system.

Career & Technical Education

Does College Make Sense For Your Career? The Answer Is A Big Maybe
Forbes – May 17, 2022
College is no longer the only way to level up your skills. Alternatives are emerging—so which one is right for you?

How to become a graphic designer
University of Nevada Reno – May 17, 2022
Graphic designers can work in pretty much any industry, creating visually appealing designs that help businesses succeed. Find out from one graphic designer about what it takes to succeed in the field.

That college degree is no longer the only path to achieving the American Dream
CNBC – May 12, 2022
As more employers recognize that the lack of a four-year college degree doesn’t mean a potential worker doesn’t have value, the return on investment for university graduates is dropping. Harris Poll found 51% of U.S. adults say costs have impacted their ability to pursue a post-high school education. An effort is underway at educational institutions like Dallas College, Miami Dade College and Western Governors University, to define and credential individual skills with a broad range of employers so that becoming qualified to work can be separate from or combined with earning a college degree.

Post-pandemic, four years of college steadily loses its appeal
CNBC – May 16, 2022
Between the strong labor market and the rising cost of college, teenagers are choosing shorter, more affordable, career-connected pathways, according to a report. The likelihood of attending a four-year school sank from 71% to 51% in the past two years, ECMC Group found.

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Summer Melt

5 Easy Steps for Helping Students Make It to College
Psychology Today – May 28, 2022
Of the half-million students each year who intend to go to college but don’t make it, many ‘melt’ because they get lost in the process. Effective goal setting involves five steps: aspirations, benefits, challenges, contingencies, and specifics. Applying this five-step process to preventing summer melt can help students complete the FAFSA, register for courses, and matriculate.

May 25th Webinar: Strategies to Avoid Summer Melt
Chalkbeat – May 15, 2022
Join the webinar to learn about the primary factors contributing to ‘melting’, steps that have been found effective in preventing it, and how coaching students can help. With summer just around the corner, it’s important for parents, teachers, and student advocates to understand the underlying causes of summer melt and develop the necessary tools to combat it. Can’t join live? No problem! Register now, and we’ll send you the webinar recording to watch at your convenience.

Teen Health

4 high school students talk mental health and how the pandemic changed them
NPR – May 14, 2022
At this point in the pandemic, American teens have spent a significant chunk of their formative years isolated from friends and in fractured learning environments. Many who were already struggling with trauma or mental health problems before the pandemic were deeply affected by the prolonged isolation. But young people have also shown grace and resilience as they dealt with the challenges of COVID-19. NPR spoke to four high school students who marked the pandemic’s two year anniversary with a newfound sense of self, and big dreams for the future.

How a National Program in Canada Is Turning Suspension From School Into a Positive Experience
Yahoo! Finance – May 16, 2022
Established by the YMCAs of Quebec in 1999, the YMCA Alternative Suspension program helps at-risk youth who are on suspension from school, or present indicators that they are heading in that direction, to develop resilience, autonomy, and the abilities needed to persevere at school with help from qualified youth workers. Alternative Suspension can act as an access point to other community services to help them address other difficulties, and also helps to bridge the gap between short- and long-term suspensions, running for three to five days


The Entrance Exam Debate
Insight Into Diversity – May 17, 2022
Citing equity concerns, more colleges are opting to permanently eliminate the ACT and SAT, but the future of college admissions remains far from clear.

No SAT, No Problem? How Test-Optional Policies Are Changing College Admissions
Money – May 17, 2022
Advocates who say standardized tests create an unfair barrier for disadvantaged students are happy with the change, and some students see it as an opportunity to apply to more competitive schools than they would otherwise consider. But a patchwork of rules, new jargon and questions about merit aid make navigating this new landscape daunting for families.