High School Counselor Week

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


October 19, 2023

Big Picture

California students can no longer be suspended for ‘willful defiance’. Could nationwide change be next?
The Guardian – US Edition – October 14, 2023
California became the first state in the US to ban such suspensions for all students, expanding a pre-existing ban on the disciplinary practice for students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade. The new law, signed by the governor, Gavin Newsom, last Sunday, could represent a model for how other states approach reforming disciplinary practices, which disproportionately affect Black and Latino students, as well as those with disabilities and those from low-income backgrounds.

SEL Can Help Prevent Bullying
NEA Today – October 17, 2023
As the rates for bullying increase across the country, kids are taking cues from social media to be more offensive to one another. They are continuing to find new ways to bully both inside and outside of the classroom. Most often, kids are not defending one another in instances of bullying. With a focus on ways to prevent bullying, educators look to social-emotional learning to build kids’ social awareness and emotional intelligence.

Teachers’ Stress Trickles Down to Students. Here’s What Schools Are Doing About It
Education Week – October 16, 2023
The adults who work in school buildings are overwhelmed and stressed out. And the effects are trickling down to their students, who are contending with a mental health crisis of their own. Teachers say the past few years in the classroom have been grueling. They’re more likely to experience burnout and report a lack of resilience, meaning they bounce back less quickly after stressful or otherwise hard times.
This is a major problem for school districts.

Columns and Blogs

Building a College List
Post – October 18, 2023
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D.

5 common mistakes in college application essays and how to avoid them
Post – October 18, 2023
College Advice & Timely Tips with Lee Bierer


Students’ mental health needs are growing. Here’s how one district is asking taxpayers to help.
Chalkbeat – October 17, 2023
After nine guns were found at Fort Wayne schools during the 2022-23 school year, a group of community members approached district leadership with an urgent request: Make schools safer. Together with the district, a new safety committee made up of law enforcement, mental health professionals, and teachers compiled a list of recommendations to do so. Campuses needed technology updates and more school resource officers. But the group also recommended hiring additional staff to support students’ well-being. Now, they’re asking voters to support the efforts by approving a property tax increase earmarked for school safety in the November election. If passed, the referendum would create dozens of new positions to address two major safety concerns schools are facing nationwide.

High schoolers and counselors discuss applying to college in the age of race-blind admissions
Yale Daily News – October 12, 2023
Since the Supreme Court’s decision to axe race-conscious college admissions in June, many colleges — including all eight Ivy League schools — have added application essays asking students to reflect on their backgrounds and lived experiences. The News spoke to two high school seniors and three high school counselors to gauge how they are approaching college admissions in a post-affirmative action era and how they plan to tackle new essay prompts. While many elite colleges have added new essay prompts this year inviting students to discuss their backgrounds and lived experiences they said that their approaches to applications have not changed significantly.


How to Talk With Your Child About the Israel-Gaza War
HealthyChildren.org – October 14, 2023
The Israel-Gaza war is distressing, and children and teens may be wondering why this violence is occurring and what else will happen in the future. Like adults, they are better able to cope with upsetting news and images when they understand more about the situation. Here are some suggestions to help parents and caregivers support children in a constructive and helpful way.

Kids are tuning into the violence of the Israel-Hamas war. What parents should do
USA Today – October 14, 2023
Graphic images from the war in Gaza are racking up hundreds of millions of views across social media channels, prompting warnings from parent groups to monitor − and even remove − social media from kids’ devices.

Admissions Process & Strategy

3 Types Of College Interview Questions Students Should Prepare For
Forbes – October 17, 2023
While students cannot know exactly what questions their interviewers will ask, they can prepare to answer common questions and discuss topics that will likely come up. Questions students should prepare for generally fall into one of the three following categories…

Here are the top 10 highest-paying college degrees — and they’re not all STEM
CNBC – October 17, 2023
Increasingly, it’s the choice of college major and type of degree that most affects your earnings potential. Here are the areas of study that pay the most, according to a new analysis by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Preparing For Senior Year Of High School: Do’s And Don’ts For College Hopefuls
Forbes – October 13, 2023
You shouldn’t feel stressed by the demands of your future. You can better enjoy your senior year by staying organized with deadlines and working through the daunting college application process one step at a time. In this article, we’ll help you decide what to do your senior year of high school to ensure you have fun, make progress toward your goals and end this chapter on a good note.

Colleges are filling more spots with students applying early. Who benefits? The rich.
WGBH Boston – October 17, 2023
Many selective institutions admit nearly half of their incoming classes through early decision — a binding application that all but guarantees the applicants will attend. It’s a benefit to students who can commit to a college early and pay the tuition and fees before seeing a financial aid package. ‘It’s definitely functioning as affirmative action for the rich,’ said Elizabeth Heaton, a former admissions official at the University of Pennsylvania.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

A dozen education groups press Education Department for FAFSA release date
K-12 Dive – October 17, 2023
The organizations — which include prominent higher education groups like the American Council on Education and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities — argue that the lack of a release date could hinder a smooth rollout of the new form.

I did 4 things to pay for college as a first-generation, low-income student
Business Insider – October 13, 2023
It cannot be overstated how difficult it is to apply to, pay for, attend, and graduate from college as a first-generation, low-income student, especially without ending up with huge student loans. I knew that college was the right choice — and the way out — for me, but, at first, I was at a loss about how I was going to make it happen. Here are some strategies that I took advantage of to help me apply to and pay for a four-year degree.

Understanding Federal Student Loan Types
U.S. News & World Report – October 17, 2023
Students who need to borrow should first do their research on the types of loans available, including federal and private. Information on federal student loans is available on the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid website. The most common sources of private student loans, on the other hand, are banks and credit unions. Experts advise students to only take out private loans as a last resort, as they’re generally less flexible than federal loans.

Career & Technical Education

Let’s Broaden Our Focus From ‘Go To College’ To ‘Get On A Pathway’
Forbes – October 11, 2023
The term ‘career pathways’ used to evoke very narrow and specific imagery: shop class, vocational education and job training options for kids who weren’t going to college. But there’s a movement happening in education to transform and modernize what that term means.
‘Pathways’ are no longer for the non-college bound; they are for everyone. All students need to be on a pathway to and through college or a postsecondary training program.

US companies increasingly eliminate college degrees as a requirement amid ‘out-of-control’ school costs
Fox News – October 16, 2023
One report projected that 1.4 million jobs could be opened to those without degrees in the next 5 years

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Inside The Admissions Office

College Admission: 3 Messages You Need to Hear
Georgia Tech Admission Blog – October 13, 2023
Hhere are three messages students need to hear about college admission, to help you understand the reality.

How to Use the Additional Information and Community Disruption Questions
Tufts University Admissions – October 11, 2023
Admissions Counselors get different versions of this question all the time: I couldn’t _____ (join a club, take a class, do a summer internship, etc) because of _____ (the pandemic, course conflicts, family responsibilities, finances, etc), how will that effect my application? Situations like this are exactly what you might enter into the additional information or the community disruption section when you apply.

Teen Health

Banning Smartphones at Schools: Research Points to Higher Test Scores, Less Anxiety, More Exercise
The 74 – October 11, 2023
Teachers in the U.K. will soon be prohibiting mobile phone use during the school day. Experts suggest the U.S. should consider doing the same.

Teens Spend Average of 4.8 Hours on Social Media Per Day
Gallup – October 13, 2023
Across age groups, the average time spent on social media ranges from as low as 4.1 hours per day for 13-year-olds to as high as 5.8 hours per day for 17-year-olds. Girls spend nearly an hour more on social media than boys. The results show that YouTube and TikTok are by far the most popular social media apps among teens. Further analysis of the findings shows that the personality traits and parenting experiences of adolescents are associated with their level of social media use.