High School Counselor Week

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


November 12, 2020

Big Picture

College applications slide, especially for low-income students
CBS News – November 10, 2020
Fewer students are applying to U.S. colleges this year, with experts saying some schools could struggle to fill their incoming freshman class during the coronavirus pandemic.

Families jump to private schools as coronavirus drags on
CNBC – November 8, 2020
As the pandemic drags on, more families are seeking out schools that are fully in-person rather than remote. As a result, families may be able to send their children to school in person, alleviating the burden on parents and, in many cases, allowing them to go to work or pursue employment opportunities from home.

Reinventing Admissions to Enhance Racial and Ethnic Equity? That’s the Big Idea
The Chronicle of Higher Education – November 9, 2020
The admissions process is cumbersome, inequitable, and screwed up beyond belief. Enrollment officials often say such things at their national conferences…Two associations plan to offer recommendations for simplifying the college-entrance process, including its technology, to help more underrepresented students get to college.

Columns and Blogs

Why Johnny Can’t Remotely Learn
Post – November 10, 2020
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor Ph.D.

What If They’re Not Happy?
Tribune News Service – November 10, 2020
College Admissions Strategies with Lee Bierer 


A Conversation With Counseling Center Director David Walden
Hamilton College (NY) – November 9, 2020
During the course of the pandemic, Hamilton’s Counseling Center has had to quickly adapt to better meet the needs of students navigating social restrictions and a high-stress environment. We asked the director of counseling and psychological services some questions related to all that.

College and Career Readiness in a Pandemic
Confident Counselors – November 8, 2020
November is National Career Development Month, which is the perfect time to offer school counseling resources that address future planning. Here are three components that give students what they need to be college and career ready during a pandemic.

GESD working to curb chronic absenteeism
The Leader-Herald (NY) – November 10, 2020
The effort at the secondary level has seen teams of two to three staff members, school counselors and administrators visiting the homes of students who are chronically absent seeking to reengage students in their education.

School Counselors Address Student Mental Health During Pandemic
Spectrum News 1 (WI) – November 10, 2020
The uncertainty surrounding the pandemic can take a toll on children’s mental and emotional health. People who work with kids are concerned about long-term impacts.


Princeton Review releases book for navigating college admissions during COVID-19
Today Show – November 10, 2020
Rob Franek, editor-in-chief of The Princeton Review, joins Hoda and Jenna to talk about the new book College Admissions During COVID, which gives tips for navigating testing, financial aid and other challenges of attending college during the pandemic. (Closed Captioning available)

Admissions Process & Strategy

11 Colleges With the Lowest Acceptance Rates
U.S. News & World Report – November 10, 2020
High school students with impressive GPAs and standardized test scores should be aware that those academic credentials may not be sufficient to get them into every college where they apply.

Making Virtual Visits (Almost) as Good as the Real Thing
CollegiateParent – November 9, 2020
Visiting colleges has been a rite of passage for high school students. Campus tours give students and their families a way to see if schools really reflect those glossy brochures that landed in their mailboxes.

UCAS vs. Common App: What Prospective International Students Should Know
U.S. News & World Report – November 10, 2020
As an American high school student in Colorado, Zachary Fornelius says his school held projects to help students prepare for applying to college; however, those did not help when it came to applying to universities in the United Kingdom, he says.

Waiting for the Seniors to Apply
Inside Higher Ed – November 9, 2020
Forty-seven percent of all students, and 56 percent of low-income students, have not started applying to colleges yet, says survey of high school seniors.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

Everything You Need to Know About the CSS Profile
Road2College – November 8, 2020
The CSS Profile is an application you fill out online to determine whether you qualify for non-federal aid. Although CSS is often compared to FAFSA, here are the key differences between the two…

Mind on Money: FAFSA is cumbersome, but necessary
NWI.com (IN) – November 8, 2020
While the excitement of the college acceptance letter still hangs in the house, comes the secondary realization that someone is going to have to pay for this exciting new educational opportunity. Which starts the family down a new and sometimes confusing path called the FAFSA.

State Financial Aid for College: What to Know
U.S. News & World Report – November 9, 2020
State financial aid programs can play a role in increasing college accessibility for students with financial need, supporting student groups such as adult learners and providing merit aid for students with strong academic backgrounds.

Drop in FAFSA Completion Is a Slow-Motion Train Wreck for College Enrollment & Students’ Futures. It’s Not Too Late to Stop It
The 74 – November 10, 2020
Leading up to Oct. 1, I told colleagues, partners and the media not to put too much stock in the results of the first week of completion data from the FAFSA. Now, six weeks into this nascent FAFSA cycle, I’m worried. Really worried.


Prepare for Your College Student’s Return for the Holidays
The New York Times – November 9, 2020
Plan out the trip home and set ground rules for safe socializing. And remember that they’ve had a tough year, too, so give them the space to talk about it.

Thanksgiving Will Soon Empty Campuses. Will Students Bring Coronavirus Home?
The New York Times – November 9, 2020
Experts worry that some of the hundreds of thousands of departing students will be “little ticking time bombs.”

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Inside The Admissions Office

Does a College Application Essay have to be Unique?
University of Virginia Admission Blog – November 10, 2020
Keep in mind that what makes an essay good is what the student shares and how they do it, not the topic. This evening, I read a really lovely essay about…


Applications Tank in State That Requires SAT or ACT
Inside Higher Ed – November 9, 2020
Florida, which has resisted calls to go test optional, sees major decline in applicants.

Do I Need to Send Official SAT and AP Score Reports?
College Confidential – November 11, 2020
Can you explain self-reporting test scores to me? I am putting all my SAT and AP scores into Common App but now I am not sure if I also need to send official scores for both or either of those tests to the colleges. When I went…

Test Optional? Should I Still Take the SAT? Still Take the ACT?
Get Schooled – November 8, 2020
We’ve answered some of your questions on these recent changes to admissions testing to help you decide if you should (or should not) take the SAT or ACT to prepare for the college applications process.

Student Voices

COVID-19 introduces changes to the guidance department
Inklings News (Staples High School, Westport, CT) – November 8, 2020
Like many things in and outside of Staples, the guidance department looks different this fall due to COVID-19. The counselors have made accommodations to help students in a safe and organized fashion.

How Are Optional SATs Affecting College Applications?
The Oarsman (Venice High CA) – November 10, 2020
Many students felt dependent on a high SAT score to set them ahead of the pack, while other students felt like their scores would bring them down. Although students can still submit their scores to many schools, the optionality creates further uncertainty for students.

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)