High School Counselor Week

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


September 7, 2023

Big Picture

Facing mounting challenges, schools embrace the 4-day week
The Hill – September 3, 2023
Hundreds of U.S. school districts have sought to combat the teacher shortage and raise the quality of life for their students and faculty by making a big change: a four-day week. There are, however, lingering concerns nationally about shedding a day in class, including parents struggling to find child care and getting meals to hungry students.

Schools are cutting advisers and tutors as COVID aid money dries up. Students are still struggling
AP News – September 6, 2023
Davion Williams wants to go to college. A counselor at his Detroit charter school last year helped him visualize that goal, but he knows he’ll need more help to navigate the application process. So he was discouraged to learn the high school where he just began his sophomore year had laid off its college transition adviser – a staff member who provided extra help coordinating financial aid applications, transcript requests, campus visits and more. The advisers had been hired at 19 schools with federal pandemic relief money. In June, when Detroit’s budget was finalized, their jobs were among nearly 300 that were eliminated.

What the Public Really Thinks About Higher Education
The Chronicle of Higher Education – September 6, 2023
Americans today believe in the value of a college credential, but they aren’t convinced higher education is fulfilling its promise to society. That ambivalence toward colleges — general support with some real caveats — infused responses to a national poll by The Chronicle to gauge public perceptions of higher education.

Columns and Blogs

Schedule Changes? Puh-lease!
Post – September 6, 2023
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D.


In a crisis, schools are 100,000 mental health staff short
The Washington Post – August 31, 2023
In a moment that seems to plead for creativity, educators are finding new ways to bring support into schools. Some universities are expanding counseling programs, hoping to produce more graduates. Schools are hiring interns and trainees. Some states are offering scholarships to lure students into mental health professions, while researchers are going back to the basics, rethinking what it means to be a mental-health-care provider. But the need is immediate and widespread, and services often are not. It would take 77,000 more school counselors, 63,000 more school psychologists and probably tens of thousands of school social workers to reach levels recommended by professional groups before the pandemic hit, those organizations say. Typically, the jobs require a master’s degree, meaning six or seven years of higher education. The pipeline does not flow rapidly.

Students must lead the charge when it comes to teen mental health
Seattle Times – September 6, 2023
This summer, students, teachers and counselors gathered at the University of Washington to discuss the mental health crisis facing today’s high school students. Currently, many schools in our area have not adopted any type of suicide prevention training, and many students are unaware of the resources that their schools offer, such as a school counselor. As two student leaders attending this conference, we heard other students share our sentiment that the current approach to mental health education in Washington schools is too passive. Students must lead the charge in expanding access to these services.


A moment that changed me: I stopped posting funny stories about my daughter – and she began to trust me again
The Guardian – August 30, 2023
For seven years I was a compulsive ‘sharent’, chronicling my daughter’s life on social media. Then she told me how much she hated it …

A ‘Mecca’ of opportunity: What I learned during my son’s college admissions process
Yahoo! News – September 5, 2023
For writer Miles Marshall Lewis, the college admissions process resulted in sending his son to excel at an HBCU. It also meant letting him forge his own path.


School counselors discuss the importance of youth mental health, provide tips for parents
CBS News – August 30, 2023
Meredith Draughn, 2023 School Counselor of the Year, and Brian Coleman, 2019 School Counselor of the Year and Board Chair, Illinois School Counselors Association, join “CBS Mornings” School Matters series to discuss students’ mental health as they transition into the 2023 academic year.


Admissions Process & Strategy

College Admission Gets Personal
Inside Higher Ed – September 5, 2023
Between advancements in AI and the end of affirmative action, the traditional application process is more fraught than ever. Some colleges are trying a radical strategy: meeting students face-to-face.

Why You Should Not Be Using ChatGPT For Your College Essays
Forbes – September 6, 2023
Even if it hasn’t been banned at the schools you’re applying to, it still isn’t a good idea to use ChatGPT to write your essays. The AI application lacks the ability to convey empathy, growth, and introspection personal to you and will miss out on the key details that make your story yours. Additionally, AI writing trends toward cliché and vague, which could be red flags to college admission committees. Ultimately, it won’t produce high-quality essays to help you get into top universities.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

Good news for the college class of 2027: It’s not too late to get more financial aid
News 7 Miami – September 4, 2023
This weekend, the Class of 2027 checks into their college dorms at US institutions across the country. Many of the incoming students will find college more expensive than they expected, and may realize the financial aid package they received in May will not be enough. The good news? It’s not too late to apply for financial aid or appeal the financial aid amount that was given.

Why colleges are using algorithms to determine financial aid levels
Higher Ed Dive – September 5, 2023
The practice can help colleges optimally distribute their limited resources, but it could also cause issues for students and even create legal risk.

Career & Technical Education

‘Very enlightening,’ Virtual reality headsets allow Massachusetts students to learn new trades
CBS News Boston – September 5, 2023
Due to the skyrocketing cost of a college degree, more and more students are looking for vocational education. With that in mind, some students in Massachusetts are using virtual reality to try out different careers, thanks to a program run by Mass Hire North Shore Career Center in Salem. The software by Transfer-VR runs on the popular Oculus virtual reality gaming headset and controls, allows students to explore careers in aviation maintenance, automotive repair, hospitality and (coming for the first time this fall) health care.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signs executive order for a master plan for career education
EdSource – August 31, 2023
In recent years, the state has poured billions of dollars into a dizzying array of programs under the banner of career education. The only problem, said Gov. Gavin Newsom, is that there is no cohesion between these programs. Newsom took aim at that disconnection by signing an executive order calling for the state to create a master plan for career education in the next 13 months. It promises to knock down the barriers that students in California face on their journey from the K-12 system to college and ultimately a fulfilling, well-paying career.

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Teen Health

You don’t need to surveil your kids to protect them on social media
CNN – September 2, 2023
Parents and other caregivers hear that social media wreaks havoc on a teen’s self-esteem. But kids often tell us that it helps them find like-minded friends and boosts their emotional well-being. So, which is it? I’m a school counselor, and I often see it’s a mix of the above. And I promise you that adults can help kids make smart choices online that keep them safe and preserve their self-esteem.

New York City is embracing teletherapy for teens. It may not be the best approach
NPR – September 1, 2023
Two years ago, I wrote about my own struggles with remote learning after the high school I attended on Manhattan’s Upper East Side paused in-person learning during the pandemic. So I had mixed feelings this January when New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced a plan to establish what he said would be the ‘biggest student mental health program in the country.’ All NYC high school students would have access to mental health support through telehealth programs, Adams said. On one hand, I think expanding telehealth, and giving more young people access to therapeutic spaces, is a net positive. But I’m also concerned that the city is rushing to expand mental telehealth without clear evidence that it will actually meet the needs of the city’s young people.


The Silent Revolution In College Admissions
Forbes – September 5, 2023
Perhaps the opening salvo of colleges taking back control of the admissions testing process was in 1969, when Bowdoin College announced it would become test-optional, one of the very first highly selective colleges to do so. In 1984, Bates College similarly announced it was also going to become test-optional. Not long afterward, a new organization FairTest began tracking this trend as literally hundreds of colleges became test-optional in the coming years. Higher education leaders seemed to agree on one thing: the process is not best for students.

What’s Next for AP? 4 Takeaways From a College Board Official
Education Week – September 5, 2023
Trevor Packer, the head of the College Board’s Advanced Placement program, has a lot on his plate. There’s diversifying who takes AP classes that offer high school students a chance at money-saving college credit to assisting schools in navigating state legislation that limits instruction on race and gender. To get a sense of where the AP program stands now, and where it’s headed, Education Week spoke with Packer in an extended interview.