High School Counselor Week

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


September 21, 2023

Big Picture

What’s needed to help older students recover from the pandemic?
K-12 Dive – September 19, 2023
A recent report by the Center on Reinventing Public Education sounded the alarm on COVID-19’s particular impact on older students — particularly those who are nearing graduation or have already graduated from high school. Research has shown that more supports are still needed to help students across all grade levels return to pre-pandemic achievement levels. Another barrier to student recovery progress is the increasing difficulty to get students to show up for class in the first place. The National Center for Education Statistics found that 72% of public schools reported an increase in chronic absenteeism compared to an average year before the pandemic. Innovative approaches will be necessary to adjust to this new reality for older students, who are currently the most at risk to lag behind in college and career success.

After Affirmative Action, My Black Daughter Wonders, ‘Do I Belong at a Top College?’
EdSurge – September 15, 2023
On the heels of the ruling, multiple voices, from legal experts to the Biden administration, explained how colleges and universities can still consider how race affects an applicant’s life, but all my Black daughter heard was: ‘You don’t belong here.’ It’s time for families, teachers, guidance counselors, and colleges and universities that still believe in creating an equitable education system to send loud, clear, and repetitive messages to our beloved Black, Hispanic and Indigenous students: Yes! You belong.

Their Post-Grads Got Off Track. Then a Brooklyn High School Launched ’13th Grade’
The 74 – August 28, 2023
Thousands of young adults are not working or going to college. How high schools like NYC’s MESA Charter can bolster support well after graduation.

Columns and Blogs

AI and Counselor Letters of Recommendation
Post – September 20, 2023
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D.

Making the best use of teacher workdays
Post – September 20, 2023
College Advice & Timely Tips with Lee Bierer


How College Counselors Help Students Meet Their Matches
Baltimore Fishbowl – September 19, 2023
College admissions policies are changing fast. College counselors at local independent schools are adjusting to these changes the way they always do: by helping students choose a range of suitable college options, and working with them to build application packages that give them the best possible chance of getting in.

How Do Kids View Themselves? This Survey Shares the Answers
EdSurge – September 7, 2023
Last month the Boys & Girls Clubs of America released its annual survey of kids and teens ages 9 to 18. While there are generally some limitations when it comes to asking people to rate their own strengths and weaknesses — i.e. the temptation to pick the ‘right’ answer — the survey reveals how kids view themselves and their desires for the future. They were asked to agree or disagree with statements about college and career plans, how they’re faring in school and with their mental health, among other topics.

In Georgia, we need proactive—not reactive—mental health support in schools
Scalawag Magazine – September 14, 2023
A student’s perspective on how the state is failing to meet young people’s needs. ‘It takes collaboration and open communication.’


Learning to let go: Experts warn helicopter parenting is behind kids’ anxiety epidemic
Fox News – September 10, 2023
With the rise of the electronic world – social media, cable TV, 24-hour news – parents have adopted ways to protect children from unsafe spaces or disturbing content that makes kids more afraid or grow up too fast. But parents may have overcompensated, some argue. Perhaps parents led kids to their gradual decline in independence in recent decades, leading experts to ask, ‘what if the problem was simply that kids are growing up so overprotected that they’re scared of the world?’ The science is well-supported by mental health professionals and academia.

I asked my 9th-grade students what they wished their parents understood about being in high school. Here are their answers.
Insider.com – September 11, 2023
My students responded with earnestness, appreciation, and humor. Of course, their answers were wide-ranging — though most students either wanted more involvement from their caregivers or way more space. But as I organized the feedback, I found a few clear themes.

Admissions Process & Strategy

College applications are complicated — take a breath
Seattle Times – September 17, 2023
The college admissions process has always been complicated — generations of applicants have struggled with long essays and confusing forms. However, today’s students face unique challenges that prior generations didn’t, and those challenges are ratcheting up stress for millions of families. Students need support as application deadlines approach this fall. Here’s what you need to know and how you can help.

How to Apply to College for Free
U.S. News & World Report – September 18, 2023
Free college applications can save qualifying students hundreds of dollars in fees.

The Common App: Everything You Need to Know
U.S. News & World Report – September 18, 2023
Through the platform, first-time and transfer applicants can apply to multiple colleges at once. So students only have to fill out details that most schools require – such as name, address and extracurricular activities – one time. But despite its popularity, the Common App may be confusing for some families who are new to the college application process. The guide below can help ease students and parents through the application.

How To Answer 5 Common Supplemental College Essay Prompts
Forbes – September 14, 2023
Beyond the personal statement, many top schools require applicants to submit supplemental essays answering various questions, like why they chose their intended major or why they are applying to a particular school. Below are five different types of supplemental essay prompts along with instructions on how to craft compelling responses that will leave a lasting impression on admissions committees.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

At least 3 more states mull FAFSA mandates for high school students
K-12 Dive – September 14, 2023
During the 2017-18 academic year, Louisiana became the first state to make completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, a high school graduation requirement. Since then, a handful of other states have followed suit in the hopes of making more students aware of what financial aid is available to them.

Should You Buy Education In Installments? Beware of Risks, Watchdog Says
Investopedia – September 14, 2023
Many colleges now offer ‘tuition payment plans’ as an interest-free alternative to student loans, but they come with many risks for students, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says.Some colleges will withhold transcripts, cut off meal plans, or kick people out of classes if they fall behind on payments. Like similar buy-now-pay-later plans, tuition repayment plans can carry heavy fees for late and missed payments.

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GPA & Scholarship Eligibility

sponsored by Fastweb

What GPA Do Students Need to Get a Full Scholarship?
What students should know about GPA and scholarship eligibility criteria.

Inside The Admissions Office

Extracurriculars: What Counts?
Tufts University Admissions – September 19, 2023
The college application can be intimidating. To help minimize this, a useful way to approach the application is by viewing it in separate sections. This blog will focus on the extracurricular section. This is where you can share the activities, club, sports, jobs, volunteerism, and personal responsibilities you have outside of the classroom. Any activity done outside of the classroom can be described as extracurricular, but there are some limits on what you should list in this section. Read below to see if it counts!

Teen Health

Educators Can Play a Role in Preventing Student Suicide
NEA Today – September 7, 2023
September marks National Suicide Prevention Month, a month to remember the lives lost to suicide, which is a leading cause of death among high school students. A welcoming school environment plus a conduit for support can help prevent future tragedies.

When Student Anxiety Gets in the Way of Attending School
EdSurge – September 13, 2023
Pandemic closures provided some students with a chance to notice how stressed they are at school, says Jayne Demsky, founder of School Avoidance Alliance, an advocacy group that provides professional training to schools. The time away from physical classrooms gave children and teens an experience with which to contrast the regular anxiety of being at school. Now that in-person school is back in session, schools have to coax these students back into the building.

Industry Voices—Want to improve access to teen mental health care? Prioritize these 3 changes
Fierce Healthcare – September 14, 2023
To break the mold and unleash the multiplier of personalized, preemptive mental health care, we need to take a fresh look at why we remain stuck in the past and how we can move forward in lockstep to bring value to payers, providers, innovators, other stakeholder groups and—most importantly—the tens of millions of teens necessitating mental health support.


What’s a Good SAT Score?
U.S. News & World Report – September 19, 2023
The best SAT score for college applicants depends on their target schools and other factors, experts say. A strong score is subjective, as expectations vary by institution and sometimes by major.