High School Counselor Week

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


September 2, 2021

Big Picture

For remote learners returning to classrooms, back-to-school brings a host of challenges
NBC News – August 31, 2021
From small support groups to a red carpet rollout, schools are taking extra care to reduce anxiety in those coming back to in-person learning for the first time since the pandemic began.

Parent Poll Reveals Support for School Covid-Safety Measures Despite Vaccine Hesitancy, Partisan Polarization
Education Next – Summer 2021
The 15th annual Education Next survey, conducted in June 2021, yields a host of specific results that reveal one large fact about the current state of public opinion on American education: The public is cautious—extremely cautious.

Changes to come should be ‘music to your ears,’ higher education innovators say
The Hechinger Report – August 29, 2021
Pandemic accelerates glacial pace of change — along with fears of ‘two worlds’

Columns and Blogs

What College Admissions Did During Our Summer Vacation
Post – September 1, 2021
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor Ph.D.
What are colleges looking for in your essays?
Tribune News Service – September 1, 2021
College Admissions Strategies with Lee Bierer 
How colleges assess home equity for financial aid
Post – Summer 2021
The College Solution with Lynn O’Shaughnessy  


Back to School in 2021: The School Counselor’s role
UVAToday (University of Virginia) – August 23, 2021
The upcoming school year holds many uncertainties. As for how to address those challenges, for Joseph Williams, one thing is clear: Ensuring students’ success, both academic and otherwise, depends on attention to social-emotional learning – a student’s ability to do things like manage stress and interpersonal conflict — with equity in mind

I almost didn’t apply to college. My school counselor changed my mind.
Chalkbeat – August 11, 2021
Here’s what he told me when the application process — and my family’s hardships — felt insurmountable.

Opinion: As a school counselor, my new normal is awkward to say the least
San Diego Union-Tribune – August 6, 2021
For me, the return to 100 percent, full-time school was bittersweet. As a school counselor, I was excited to get back into the groove of things: college planning, academic interventions, mental health supports and more. Yet the return to school has me worried.

Giving Guidance Virtually — School Counselors Take an Online Approach
EdTech – August 19, 2021
Applying to college online isn’t new, but last year counselors were forced to help high schoolers virtually with the application process. Here’s how it went.

Schools try to ease anxiety for kids returning for first time since pandemic started
Yahoo! News – August 30, 2021
For nearly a year and a half, the student, along with about 80 percent of his peers, had been learning remotely. Now back inside the building he felt overwhelmed. Gym, once a class this young soccer player had enjoyed, seemed noisy — a stark change from the quiet of his home where he had logged onto online classes while grieving the loss of a grandmother and uncle to the coronavirus.


High school seniors reflect on year of remote learning
WCAX 3 (VT) – August 30, 2021

College students in our region start school Monday and that has some rising high school seniors thinking about applying to college. School Counselors say high schools send colleges a school profile, explaining the learning models they used during the pandemic. And some students say they thrived in online learning.


Kid Friendly: College Expectations
The Highland Current (NY) – August 31, 2021
There may be young people today who are the first person in their families not to go to college. And that conversation may not be going so well. Parents: If a vision is declared and is not the norm, allow exploration. See where it goes.

RELAX – Sound Advice For Parents Of College Student
Goldsboro Daily News (NC) – August 29, 2021
It is important for parents to recognize their own fears and sadness as they drop off their college freshman for the first time. When dealing with the anxiety of bringing your freshman or transfer student to school for the first weekend, the acronym RELAX may be helpful.

Admissions Process & Strategy

How COVID-19 Changed College Admissions
Inside Higher Ed – September 1, 2021
Common App finds colleges delayed deadlines and students were later with applications.

How do I fill out a university application form? Common app tips for the COVID era
Texas News Today – August 2, 2021
For many high school students, the college application season is imminent. Students are preparing to submit transcripts, testimonials, essays and more. However, the 2022 application class looks different from that of other graduation classes.

These are the top public and private colleges with the most generous financial aid packages
CNBC – August 31, 2021
With more students struggling to afford college, some schools are increasing their financial aid offerings. Here are the top public and top private colleges doling out the most free money to offset the cost…

Financial Aid/Scholarships

Here’s how to make sure you have the funds you need to start college
Apache Junction/Gold Canyon Independent (AZ) – August 31, 2021
Make a plan to pay for college, so you’re ready when school begins…That means knowing what’s available through scholarships and grants, work-study programs, federal student loans, and private student loans.

Biden administration ends waiver limiting audits of students applying for financial aid
The Washington Post – August 31, 2021
The decision could result in more students from low-income households being asked to provide further proof that the information on their 2022-2023 FAFSA, is accurate. The audit, known as verification, is widely criticized as being an invasive, time-consuming and unnecessary hurdle for some of higher education’s most vulnerable populations.

Insider Q&A: What’s next for student loans in the COVID era
ABC News – August 30, 2021
Q: What’s your latest concern in the student loan market? A: We’ve seen a new crop of predatory education finance companies pop up in the last few years…I have deep concerns about a new form of finance called income share agreements, which require you to turn over a portion of your future income

You Can Get Free Money for College — and Help Finding It
Yahoo! Finance – August 31, 2021
Completing the FAFSA makes you eligible for federal, state and some school-based aid, including loans, scholarships and grants. But for many students and families, it can be challenging and time-consuming to fill out the application, and the pandemic only added to that burden.


Just How ‘Optional’ Are the SAT/ACT for College Admissions
YR Media (CA) – August 4, 2021
For Jasmine Jusino, a guidance counselor in New York City, helping students find the right path is complicated — especially when it comes to standardized testing. As the new school year approaches, she sat down with YR Media to discuss how the pandemic is changing the already difficult process of college apps.

3 Things to Know About IB Economics Changes
U.S. News & World Report – August 30, 2021
The revised end-of-year exam will launch in May 2022, but students should begin preparing now. To prepare for success, here are three key points that IB Economics students should know:

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Inside The Admissions Office

Womp womp’ moments in college admissions
Tufts Admissions Blog – August 3, 2021
We are always looking for reasons to accept an applicant, not reject them. We are all human, errors are bound to happen. However, there are some faux pas that are worse than others. We often call these ‘womp womp’ moments (think *palm-on-face emoji*). Here are a list of them. Read them and avoid them.

How the Olympics Explain College Admission– Part I
Georgia Tech Admission Blog – August 11, 2021
As we have established in prior blogs, there are nearly 4,000 colleges in America. While they vary as widely as Olympic sports, they essentially make determinations in one of these two ways: formulaic/quantifiable or holistic/ less quantifiable.

The Zanzibar Effect
University of Georgia Undergraduate Admissions – August 6, 2021
When you are trying to set a gauge for determining information, you need to make sure your facts are accurate and not just a spiraling feedback loop that starts off wrong and just keeps getting more off course. In admissions, we actually see a fair amount of bad feedback loops dealing with what a college looks at in an admissions review. It all starts with one well-meaning but inadvertently wrong piece of advice.


Disabled Student Hopes New Normal Means More Compassion As School Resumes In Person (LISTEN)
KUER 90.1 Utah – August 31, 2021
Anna Stephens fully leaned into the online schooling life, creating an at-home learning environment to meet her physical and mental health needs. Policies that promote going back to the way things used to be before the pandemic ignore how excluding it was for many people.

Hearing Set In Disabled Students Mask Case Involving Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
CBS 4 Miami (FL) – August 31, 2021
A federal judge will hear arguments next week in a lawsuit alleging that Gov. Ron DeSantis’ effort to block school mask mandates has violated laws designed to protect the rights of students with disabilities.

College Visits

College Visits: Tips for Making the Most of Your Trips
Student Loan Hero – August 31, 2021
College visits can be the most exciting part of the college application process…But campus trips do cost money, and even planning the logistics can get tricky — especially if pandemic restrictions are in place. From how to schedule college visits to how to save money in the process, these college visit tips will help you navigate the process.

Expert: high school juniors should start planning college tours now
WYFF-4 Greenville (SC) – August 30, 2021
Even though many schools are offering virtual tours right now, Arneson said it’s very important to visit a school in person before you commit to it. She recommends reaching out to the school’s Admissions Office.

Coronavirus-Related Resources

Emergency Broadband Benefit
An FCC program to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. Provides a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households.

ASCA Toolkit: Virtual High School Counseling
American School Counselor Association

College Board Coronavirus Updates
College Board

AP Online Classes and Review Sessions
College Board on YouTube

U.S. DOE: COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel
U.S. Department of Education