High School Counselor Week

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


May 4, 2023

Big Picture

Digital Accessibility Is a Bigger Education Issue Than We Think. Here’s What We Can Do About It.
EdSurge – May 3, 2023
The CDC estimates that 1 in 4 Americans have a disability; this includes visual, hearing, ambulatory, cognitive, self-care and independent living disabilities. They impact people of any age, race or income level. But the good news is accessibility helps everyone. Literally everyone. I’m a sighted person, but I still don’t want to have to click through two different platforms and open up a PDF just to find out what my child is eating for lunch tomorrow! In my work with school districts, I’ve learned key practices that can make almost any communication more accessible, regardless of your role or the software or platform you’re using. Whether you’re a classroom teacher, an edtech professional or a district leader, taking these five steps can make a huge difference.

Ed Dept revives systemic racial discrimination reviews of school districts
K-12 Dive – May 1, 2023
The U.S. Department of Education has brought back systemic reviews of school districts accused of racial discrimination in their practices and policies, including in student discipline. The shift revives an Obama-era practice of investigating the disproportionate impact of district policies on historically marginalized student subgroups. The practice had been reversed under the Trump administration.

Columns and Blogs

A Schoolwide Conversation About College
Post – May 3, 2023
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D.

Graduation gifts ideas with a bit/bite of humor
Post – May 4, 2023
College Advice & Timely Tips with Lee Bierer


Almost 300 colleges still have open seats for fall 2023
Higher Ed Dive – May 3, 2023
Nearly 300 U.S. and foreign colleges have told the National Association for College Admission Counseling that they have open seats for fall 2023. The figure comes from the admission organization’s annual Colleges Openings Update, published Tuesday, which also documents the availability of housing and financial aid for first-year and transfer students. NACAC has released the listing for 36 years. It includes colleges that maintain rolling admissions throughout the year. And often, colleges inform NACAC about open spots after it publishes the database, so it may still change for 2023.
The admissions group said it will update the listing daily. As of Tuesday evening, it listed 293 colleges.

The FAFSA Gets an Overhaul
Wealth Management.com – May 2, 2023
Traditionally, the FAFSA, which millions of families complete each year, is released Oct. 1. The U.S. Department of Education, however, recently announced that the FAFSA for the 2024–2025 school year won’t be available until sometime in December. The delay is being blamed on the significant overhaul of the FAFSA, characterized as the ‘most ambitious and significant redesign of the federal student aid application in decades.’ Before the new FAFSA is available, the DoE has promised it will release information to all interested parties, which would include financial aid administrators, families, high school counselors, college consultants and financial advisors. The department made that announcement in a document that it published in March, entitled 2024–2025 FAFSA Roadmap. Here are some highlights of the new FAFSA, which will generally be favorable for lower-income students and bad news for families with multiple children in college, small businesses and households with divorce:

Admissions Process & Strategy

Community college or a four-year school? What to know about the advantages – and differences.
USA Today – May 1, 2023
Spring marks the moment when high school students across the country are making choices about their future, whether that’s enrolling in a four-year college or university, entering the workforce or some combination of pathways. Many students will choose to enroll in community colleges. So, what is a community college? What are the benefits – and limitations – of attending the institutions? Here’s what you need to know.

Why is it so hard to transfer community college credits?
Christian Science Monitor – May 1, 2023
Every year, hundreds of thousands of students start at community colleges hoping to transfer to a university later. It’s advertised as a cheaper path to a bachelor’s degree, an education hack in a world of ever-rising tuition costs. Yet the reality is rarely that simple. For some students, the transfer process becomes a maze so confusing it derails their college plans. One of the biggest obstacles is known as credit loss: when students take classes that never end up counting toward a degree. Sometimes it’s a result of poor advising. Without clear guidance from community colleges, students take courses they don’t need. Blame can also lie with four-year colleges, which have varying rules

For Direct Admissions Pioneers, It’s a Good Year
Inside Higher Ed – May 1, 2023
While there have been experiments previously, this was the first big year for direct admissions, in which students don’t apply to colleges; instead, students create a portfolio of their grades, standardized test scores (if they have them), what they want to study and where they want to study (it may be a state or region, or a type of environment, like urban or rural). Colleges then offer students a spot.


Applying to colleges can lead to emotional burnout. As a psychologist, I suggest parents do 8 things to support their kids.
Insider.com – May 2, 2023
As parents, we can (hopefully) see that college is just one part of our kids’ lives. Yet it’s tricky for teenagers to have that perspective during a time that can feel like a referendum on their worth. Here’s how to support your child through the admissions process and help yourself along the way.

Most parents would be supportive if their Gen Z children didn’t want to go to college, study says
Fast Company – May 1, 2023
According to a new survey from Multiverse, millennial-age parents tend to express more support for alternative education pathways.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

4 strategies for avoiding taking on too much student debt in college
CNBC – May 1, 2023
Here are four strategies high school seniors, and their families, can consider to avoid ending up deep in debt.

Financial Aid Is Changing. How Will It Affect Your Family?
Forbes – May 1, 2023
The FAFSA Simplification Act is the biggest shakeup to federal financial aid in decades. For some students and their families, it will mean more aid; for a smaller but not insignificant number, it will mean less. So how will you and your family fare?


The SATs are: a) dying; b) already dead; c) alive and well; d) here forever
Vox – May 2, 2023
On March 1, Columbia became the first Ivy League university to permanently suspend its longstanding requirement that applicants submit their scores on the SAT. It was the latest in a series of setbacks for the college testing industry. Between 2000 and 2018, some 200 colleges and universities adopted similar policies. The number of test-takers plummeted during the pandemic and has only partially rebounded. Moreover, a sizable number of those who do take the exams aren’t submitting their scores. Despite these developments, it’s too early to declare the death of college testing. Even as the SAT and its chief rival, the ACT, have become less important in admissions, they are becoming more universal for a different purpose: as a measure of high school achievement. More and more high schools have turned to the SATs and ACTs as their standard assessment tool for their students’ progress, entirely separate from the college admissions process. The result is a standardized testing landscape that has been shaken up, and whose future looks murky, at best.

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College Prep Checklist

sponsored by Fastweb

May College Prep Checklist for High School Seniors
Helpful guide for college bound students.

Student Mental Health Webinar

sponsored by JED High School

Comprehensive Approach to Student Mental Health Webinar, May 11 at 3pm ET, The Jed Foundation
JED High School, a flagship program of The Jed Foundation, partners with high schools nationwide to measurably strengthen student mental health supports and prevent suicide. Click here to register for the info session.

Teen Health

Eating Disorders in Teenagers on the Rise
WebMD – May 1, 2023
From 2018 to 2022, health care visits for eating disorders in people younger than 17 went up 107.4%, according to a report released by Trilliant Health, a data company. There were about 50,000 health care visits in 2018, compared to more than 100,000 in 2022. Visits for anorexia nervosa went up 129.26%. Previous studies have found the pandemic caused more people to have eating disorders.

How Teachers Can Help Identify and Support Grieving Students
We Are Teachers – May 3, 2023
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and as of October 2021, children’s mental health has been declared a National State of Emergency. One particular Adverse Childhood Experience that has skyrocketed in the last several years is loss and grief. According to the Children’s Grief Awareness Day organization, ‘more than 72,000 children lost a parent to COVID-19 and over 67,000 lost a grandparent caregiver in the home’ (2022). Furthermore, children are losing their classmates and teachers, as gun violence is now the leading cause of death for American children.