High School Counselor Week

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


October 12, 2023

Big Picture

‘We’re In a New World’: American Teenagers on Mental Health and How to Cope
TIME Magazine – October 10, 2023
To be a U.S. teenager in 2023 is both the same as it ever was, and astoundingly different from even a generation ago. Along with all the classic challenges of growing up—grades, parents, first loves—looms a crop of newer ones: TikTok, gun violence, political division, the whipsaw of COVID-19, the not-so-slow creep of climate change. The main domains are the same: school, home, family, and peers. But the stressors that emerge within those domains have changed tremendously in a world where the internet and real life have largely blurred into one, with everything from school to social interaction now happening at least partially online and a fire hose of bad news always only a swipe away. This new world has taken a toll on U.S. teenagers, if the staggering data on adolescent mental health are any indication.

Students Are Missing School Because They’re Too Anxious to Show Up
Education Week – October 6, 2023
Aside from physical illness and bad weather, anxiety is the top reason high school students missed school in the past year, according to the results of a student survey from the EdWeek Research Center. Sixteen percent of students who were absent for at least a day in the past year and missed school for reasons other than physical illness said they didn’t attend because of anxiety, and 12 percent said they felt too sad or depressed to attend.

Harvard’s big dumb bet on legacy admissions
Business Insider – October 9, 2023
These institutions say legacy admissions help foster relationships with alumni and promote an intergenerational community. But experts told me there is an underlying justification: money. Schools might believe that giving preference to children of alumni would prompt donations down the road. That rationale, however, is coming under scrutiny. By clinging to legacy admissions, colleges are not only undermining claims of advancing equality but may be shooting themselves in the financial foot.

Columns and Blogs

Working with Your School Counselor
Post – October 4, 2023
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D.

What does “Fit” really mean?
Post – October 4, 2023
College Advice & Timely Tips with Lee Bierer


Schools Are 100K Counselors Short. Here’s a New Approach to Student Mental Health
The 74 – October 4, 2023
As the new school year gets under way, many children are struggling, and their mental health is suffering. Help, the CDC says, should come from schools, because while their primary role is academic, schools, ‘play a critical role in shaping mental, physical, and social growth.’ The challenge is how. There is no realistic way for schools to hire or spend their way out of this crisis if they keep doing more of the same. It’s time to look for new ways to address students’ mental health and well-being. One approach that is working well is known as integrated student support — organized efforts to understand and meet students’ strengths and needs. When implemented well, they ensure that students are better off socially, emotionally and academically. Research shows that their teachers, schools and communities benefit too.

Why the mental health crisis in schools could get worse after shutdown averted
USA Today – October 5, 2023
Shortages of school psychologists, school counselors and school social workers have been a problem for decades. Any additional cuts to the Department of Education as Congress negotiates spending would be devastating, experts say. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are proposing answers for how to address the problem. But after Congress punted a deadline for government spending to November and negotiations continue while the House is without a permanent speaker, it remains up in the air whether America’s schools will receive what they need for adequate mental health resources. Some House Republicans have floated cutting billions from the Department of Education during the appropriations process. The White House estimates proposed cuts could result in up to 40,000 fewer teachers, aides and other key staff at schools nationwide. Other lawmakers and advocates are pushing to fund additional mental health resources for school districts and pass legislation that would create permanent funding streams for these services.


10 questions to ask a teenager to start an important conversation
The Guardian – October 7, 2023
Communication is one of the biggest issues when you’ve got a teenager. Your teen seems to be a closed book – they don’t want to talk and you don’t seem to be able to coax them out of their shell. And yet there are effective ways to open up a conversation with your teenager – though you need to be very sensitive, and self-aware, and genuinely interested in creating a dialogue rather than just a chance to ram home what you think about an issue. We enlisted the help of two experts to find out how to converse better.

Should you still push kids to get a degree? Yes, experts say: ‘There’s not a better substitute for college’
CNBC – October 7, 2023
The data in support of a college education is strong. College graduates tend to have better career and financial outcomes. In 2022, they earned 75% more on average than their high school-alone educated peers, and had an unemployment rate of 2%, compared with 7% among high school graduates. But there are drawbacks: Most notably, a student debt crisis that has left millions of Americans collectively owing over a trillion dollars for their education. So it can be increasingly difficult to determine if a college education is worth it.


LGBTQ+ youth are at high risk of depression, anxiety, suicide: How you can help
ABC 7 Los Angeles – October 10, 2023
October is LGBTQ+ History Month. This Monday, we focused on the mental health of LGBTQ+ youth. Young LGBTQ+ people are at high risk of depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. We spoke to Terra Russell-Slavin, Chief Impact Officer at the LA LGBT Center.


Admissions Process & Strategy

Admissions Offices Deploy AI
Inside Higher Ed – October 9, 2023
Even as fears of robot-generated admissions essays abound, colleges are increasingly using AI in application reviews, raising new possibilities and ethical concerns.

As more colleges are promising high schoolers guaranteed admission, ‘everybody wins,’ expert says
CNBC – October 10, 2023
To make college more accessible, Sonoma State University is offering ‘guaranteed admission’ to high school students who have completed the requisite coursework and have a minimum 2.5 high school GPA. Other schools have tried similar moves to get more students enrolled. But not only are fewer students interested in pursuing a degree after high school, the population of college-age students is also shrinking.

The cost of applying to college: ‘Bare minimum,’ expect $1,200 on application fees, says expert
CNBC – October 4, 2023
To boost their chances of getting in somewhere, high school seniors apply to as many as 20 schools. But that comes at a cost: Each application can be $60 to $100 to submit. It’s understandable that college hopefuls want to hedge their bets, said Robert Franek, editor in chief of The Princeton Review. However, ‘20 is far too many.’ Rather than apply to a greater number of schools, find schools that are a better fit, experts say.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

How to Complete the FAFSA When Parent Didn’t File Tax Return
Fastweb – September 25, 2023
Explore the options for students whose parents can’t file the FAFSA for financial reasons.

No-Loan’ Colleges: What to Know
U.S. News & World Report – October 4, 2023
To ease the financial burden on families and students, a small number of U.S. colleges have instituted ‘no-loan’ policies, eliminating federal loans from financial aid packages in lieu of scholarships, grants and work-study. The idea is that students will graduate without owing money. But the details on eligibility vary from school to school, so it’s important prospective students look at the fine print.

Almost no one really pays inflated college sticker prices–they just make education seem expensive. Now more colleges are getting real about tuition
Fortune – October 6, 2023
Tuition discounting is so embedded in our business model that we build our budgets not on the tuition price, but on the expected net revenue after the discount has been written off. This creates a real financial challenge for individual colleges, but the worst consequence is the unintended consequence of appearing financially out of reach for so many prospective students. The very students and families who stand to benefit the most from the kind of relational, supportive education offered at smaller private colleges are not even considering us.

Career & Technical Education

Students with career role models more satisfied later in life, poll shows
K-12 Dive – October 9, 2023
Young adults raised in lower-income families are more likely to say they didn’t have a role model growing up, a gap that could be filled by more CTE. Young adults who looked up to a career-oriented role model when they were in middle or high school are more likely to say that they are satisfied with their career and finances, according to a study published jointly by Gallup and Amazon last week. They were also more likely than those without role models to say their career is fulfilling and that they are established as a professional.

Top Schools for Internship, Co-Op Programs
U.S. News & World Report – October 4, 2023
Getting work experience in college can help students land a job after graduation. One option for students to gain that experience is cooperative education programs, which can include paid full-time jobs that typically last three to 12 months, internships or other service-based experiential learning programs.

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Teen Health

Making Mental Health a Universal Human Right Starts with Being Proactive for Student Mental Health
Cision PR Newswire – October 10, 2023
Symptoms of poor mental health—including emotions like anxiety, depression and stress—are far more widespread than reported by high school students at the height of the pandemic, according to a recent survey conducted and shared by RethinkFirst. I’m Dr. Roberta Scott, and this World Mental Health Day I’m sharing my thoughts and experiences about why it’s critical to be proactive for student mental health.

October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month
StopBullying.gov – October 5, 2023
This month, across the world, from New York to New Zealand, thousands of schools, communities, organizations, and individuals will come together to release new resources, campaigns, and efforts aimed at raising awareness for bullying prevention. Nearly a decade old, Bullying Prevention Awareness month was initiated by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center in October 2006. This year Bullying Prevention Awareness month features many new initiatives:


ACT test scores for US students drop to new 30-year low
Seattle Times – October 10, 2023
High school students’ scores on the ACT college admissions test have dropped to their lowest in more than three decades, showing a lack of student preparedness for college-level coursework, according to the nonprofit organization that administers the test. The average scores in reading, science and math all were below benchmarks the ACT says students must reach to have a high probability of success in first-year college courses. The average score in English was just above the benchmark but still declined compared to last year.

Top Colleges That Still Require Test Scores
U.S. News & World Report – October 9, 2023
Most colleges are test-optional or test-blind now, but not these top schools.