High School Counselor Week

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


October 26, 2023

Big Picture

ACLU report shows Black students referred to police at higher rate than white counterparts
WCNC Charlotte (NC) – October 19, 2023
Black students are four times more likely to be referred to police for disorderly conduct in school than their white classmates, ACLU analysis shows

Most Americans say schools should do active shooter drills, but disagree on approach
Texas Public Radio – October 23, 2023
An overwhelming majority of Americans say children should have active shooter drills in schools, but a new NPR Ipsos poll finds that how to conduct those drills and what safety measures schools should invest in is divisive. NPR’s Sequoia Carrillo reports.

States sue Meta, claiming Instagram, Facebook fueled youth mental health crisis
NPR – October 24, 2023
A group of more than 40 states sued Meta on Tuesday, accusing the social media giant of designing products that are deliberately addictive and fuel the youth mental health crisis. The legal actions allege that Meta has deceived the public about the harms of Facebook and Instagram, which the attorneys general say ‘exploit and manipulate’ children. Some observers are likening the litigation to the lawsuits of the 1990s against Big Tobacco that imposed new limits on tobacco industry marketing.

Columns and Blogs

Helping Teachers Talk College Counseling
Post – October 25, 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


Hope Squads’ empower students to tackle suicide prevention
South Dakota News Watch – October 24, 2023
Hope Squad, which operates in 41 states and Canada, uses a simple but powerful premise. Students are asked to name three peers they would turn to if they were struggling emotionally. Those lists help educators choose team members, who are trained how to recognize signs of suicide contemplation and abuse, and when to get trusted adults involved. Coordinated with mental health agencies and supported by recent state funding, the student-focused trend comes at a time of heightened concern about teen suicide on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic. The national program was created by a former high school principal after a string of student tragedies in his district. ‘The program focuses on the protective factors of suicide prevention while creating more school connectedness,’ said Flandreau school counselor Kari Lena-Helling, who supervises Hope Squads for grades 7-8 and grades 9-12.

The FAFSA Process Is Changing. Here’s What You Need to Know
Education Week – October 20, 2023
Typically, ambitious families have already filled out the form by now, as it usually becomes available in early October. But this year’s different. The FAFSA is being overhauled as a result of the FAFSA Simplification Act, part of a federal appropriations measure passed in 2020. Despite the act’s name, the overhauling process appears not to have been very simple: The new form for the 2024-2025 school year is still not available to the public. We spoke to Jill Desjean, senior policy analyst at NASFAA, to learn more about the FAFSA, its evolution, what the new changes will mean for applicants, and how college counselors can advise families accordingly.


Helicopter Parenting Hurts Your Kids’ Mental Health
Yahoo! News – October 18, 2023
That young people are suffering an explosion of mental health issues is no secret. Anxiety and depression are through the roof, and social scientists are scrambling to find a cause so that whatever is driving kids over the edge can be undone. Extensive use of social media and electronic devices—exacerbated by the isolation of pandemic-era lockdowns—has taken much of the blame. But what if compulsive use of smartphones and TikTok is more of a symptom than a cause? Recent research says that psychological distress more likely results from depriving kids of unsupervised freedom. That’s a larger problem that could take longer to fix.

School Makes Some Students Anxious. Is Physically Showing Up Necessary?
EdSurge – October 19, 2023
For some students like Bradley — who spent much of his middle and high school career avoidant, a nonclinical term that denotes a visceral refusal to attend school — remote learning can be a way of extending their evasion of the classroom, according to several clinical psychologists who spoke with EdSurge. Virtual schooling, in those instances, allows students to keep away from physical school spaces. While that may offer students relief in the short term, the coping mechanism can have negative consequences, some experts say.

Admissions Process & Strategy

Complex applications create barriers to college—some are trying to change that
Brookings Institution – October 23, 2023
Students enter the college application process on unequal footing – with various levels of financial, social, and cultural capital they can rely on to navigate it. At least 10 states and hundreds of colleges and universities have begun ‘direct admissions’ programs, which proactively admit students using data like their GPA and ACT/SAT scores rather than asking them to apply. Simplifying the college application process is one necessary but still insufficient way to broaden access to higher education.

Top 10 Pro Tips For Getting Into Your Dream College
Forbes – October 18, 2023
Although only in her second year at Harvard University, Elise Pham already is a full-time content creator, author, certified college admissions counselor, and entrepreneur. She founded an furnishes free and reduced-cost college application materials to students from underprivileged communities. Here are her top 10 tips for getting into your dream college.

What are colleges really looking for?
The Register (Burlington HS, VT) – October 23, 2023
Vague college requirements leave students frustrated

Financial Aid/Scholarships

Colleges Work to Make Financial Aid Award Letters Clearer
U.S. News & World Report – October 18, 2023
More than 400 colleges have committed to following standards of clarity in financial aid offer letters.

Understanding Financial Aid for College: A Guide
U.S. News & World Report – October 18, 2023
Financial aid is any form of funding that helps a student pay for college, such as a Pell Grant, loan or merit-based scholarship.

Career & Technical Education

Colleges Must Respond to America’s Skill-Based Economy
EdSurge – October 23, 2023
Earlier this year, I wrote and article outlining the nearly 400-year history of higher education in America, how that past shapes the way the country views colleges today, and why microcredentials, while critical to the future of the U.S. economy, are causing a dilemma for the academy. Several critical themes have emerged from these conversations that create burdens for workforce partners and higher education institutions.

Nondegree upskilling still hampered by lack of awareness
Higher Ed Dive – October 24, 2023
Of those not pursuing alternative paths, most said they would have considered them if they knew about them in the first place.

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Student Voices

Turning rejection into opportunity
The Temple News (Temple University) – October 22, 2023
A student reflects on a disappointing college admissions process and learning to find joy beyond attending her dream school.

What a Popular TikTok Channel Reveals About the Stress of College Admissions
EdSurge – October 24, 2023
Lim, who has more than 200,000 followers, says that nearly 2,000 high school students have sent him their college applications — along with the list of institutions they applied to and the results of their attempts — for him to share and riff on in his videos. He’s part of a genre of social media trying to make sense of who gets into which selective college — and why — at a time when landing a ‘Yes’ from a selective college is harder than ever. (Podcast and article)

Teen Health

Mental Health Issues in Latinx Youth May Lead to Increased Risk of Physical Ill Health
GW Today (George Washington University) – October 18, 2023
Milken Institute SPH’s Kathleen M. Roche is working with a team of undergraduate researchers from the Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute on the years-long study.

Suicide-Prevention Program Helps Alaska Students Identify Their Own Strength
The 74 – October 13, 2023
How one school district pits cultural, personal strengths against adversity.

The 5 Instagram Features That US States Say Ruin Teens’ Mental Health
Wired – October 24, 2023
In 2019, Instagram’s top executive, Adam Mosseri, went on TV to describe how the Meta-owned social media app was ‘rethinking the whole experience’ to prioritize the ‘well-being’ of users above all else. Today, a bipartisan group of attorneys general representing 42 US states alleged in a series of lawsuits that Mosseri’s remarks were part of a decade-long pattern of deceit by Meta that claimed Instagram and Facebook were safe, while they in fact did young people harm. The complaint lays out five features claimed to be ‘harmful and psychologically manipulative’ because they ‘induce young users’ compulsive and extended’ use of Instagram.