High School Counselor Week

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


October 15, 2020

Big Picture

Keeping Students Safe in the Digital World
Tech & Learning – October 13, 2020
Five key challenges that all districts are facing in keeping students safe, and how to work through these issues

More Than a Million Students Disengaged from School at End of Academic Year, Analysis Suggests
EdWeek – October 13, 2020
The company last week released estimates showing a precipitous drop in school-student communication at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, right after the coronavirus prompted schools to switch from in-person to remote classes.

Report: Enrollment Continues to Trend Downward
Inside Higher Ed – October 15, 2020
Several concerning enrollment trends are holding strong as the latest, and more comprehensive, data show. Experts and advocates are particularly worried about community colleges.

Columns and Blogs

Freaking Out About College? Don’t Do That
Post – October 14, 2020
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor Ph.D.

Why is college admission getting more and more competitive?
Tribune News Service – October 14, 2020
College Admissions Strategies with Lee Bierer 

Researching whether a college will close
Post – October 12, 2020
The College Solution Blog with Lynn O’Shaughnessy 


Counselors Need Real Support
Inside Higher Ed – October 12, 2020
School counselors have the skills to help students navigate their postsecondary choices. However, counselors have long struggled to dedicate sufficient time to college counseling. The pandemic has created a real crisis that higher education can help solve, write four scholars.

Virtual appointments and drive-through sessions: How college counselors are helping students complete the FAFSA
The Washington Post – October 13, 2020
Around this time last year, Aliaha Austin was gearing up for FAFSA night at East Bladen High School. But this year, instead of going over the federal financial aid application with parents in a classroom, she was preparing to do the same in a parking lot, complete with WiFi and masks.

Nearly 130 New York Area Counselors Attend SEC College Tour
SECU News (Southeastern Conference Universities) – October 13, 2020
Nearly 130 school counselors logged in for the first ever virtual SEC College Tour…The event gave participants the opportunity to engage with admissions representatives from all 14 SEC universities — from the comfort of their homes and offices.

Local school counselors face increased challenges
Moscow-Pullman Daily News (ID) – October 12, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has affected virtually every aspect of daily life in K-12 schools around the country, and local school counselors say their job has become more necessary than ever but also more difficult as they try to deliver social and emotional support while having less in-person time with students.

Admissions Process & Strategy

Experts offer four reasons why kids need to own their college essays — and one way parents can help
The Washington Post – October 13, 2020
College admissions experts offer four reasons why parents should take a step back — and one way we can lean into the moment.

College Admissions in the Pandemic: An Expert’s View
The New York Times – October 14, 2020
Does test-optional really mean optional? Should you apply for early decision? Will your college survive?

How juniors and seniors can prepare for college in the midst of a pandemic
UAB News (University of Alabama) – October 12, 2020
With some schools’ having only virtual classes and standardized testing not available to some students, how are juniors and seniors to prepare for college? The project director for GEAR UP Alabama offers advice on how upper-level high schoolers can utilize this time…

COVID-19 has rewritten the rules for crafting a competitive college application
Santa Monica Daily Press (CA) – October 12, 2020
The college application process has long been a source of stress, anxiety, and even exhaustion for high school seniors. This year it’s also a source of confusion as students confront test-optional applications, pandemic related prompts, and unpredictable admittance rates.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

7 Ways To Successfully Land College Scholarships
Forbes – October 13, 2020
At the end of the day, you’re applying for the same scholarships as everyone else, and not everyone can win. With that in mind, there are plenty of tips and tricks that can help you pay for college with scholarships and similar awards.

Can you influence your financial aid award?
The Gazette, Woodmen (CO) – October 13, 2020
Most colleges do offer financial aid packages that can greatly help with these expenses. But it pays to know, well in advance, how financial aid works.

Career & Technical Education

College vs. Trade School: Which Choice Is Right for You?
The College Post – October 13, 2020
Real life starts after high school — or at least, professional life does. But while college may seem like the inevitable next step after your high school diploma, you shouldn’t be blinded to the alternatives.

Vocational schools need a lot more support
Commonwealth Magazine (MA) – October 11, 2020
Past economic recessions have taught us that workers lacking postsecondary education have been more likely to suffer job losses during a downturn and take longer to recover. The financial implications of not obtaining a college degree have also been apparent long before the pandemic hit…


ACT and SAT Scores Drop
Inside Higher Ed – October 15, 2020
Declines come in a year in which it has become difficult to take either test. Gaps grow for minority groups except Asians.

Diversifying AP
Inside Higher Ed – October 12, 2020
The College Board has made real progress, but more work needs to be done, writes Mark Carl Rom.

How to Prepare to Retake IB Exams in November
U.S. News & World Report – October 12, 2020
While only a percentage of high school students retest for IB credit in a typical year, 2020 has been anything but typical. So why might students consider retesting this year?

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Early Decision

The Pumpkin Spice Of College Admission
Forbes – October 12, 2020
Early Decision (ED) is like the pumpkin spice of college admission—every year it returns and seems to spread uncontrollably. This year, with the pandemic and an increased level of uncertainty, ED is poised to add a zing to admission that, while attractive to some, is not welcomed by all.

Should you apply early-decision for college? Here’s how one NJ family made the call
Democrat & Chronicle (NJ) – October 13, 2020
For the class of 2021, that choice is likely to get even trickier: With COVID-19 wreaking havoc on college finances, schools are expected to offer more early-decision slots this spring — but with less certainty about financial aid.

Teen Health

A Generation Defined by the Pandemic
Inside Higher Ed – October 15, 2020
A new survey about student experiences during the fall semester and the coronavirus pandemic found that stress, anxiety and loneliness were their overriding concern. The data are representative of the real-life challenges and uncertainty that students say they face.

Even In COVID-19 Hot Spots, Many Colleges Aren’t Aggressively Testing Students
NPR – October 6, 2020
With only weeks remaining before many of those schools plan to send students home for the end of the semester, the findings raise concerns that communities around the U.S. could be exposed to new outbreaks.

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)