High School Counselor Week

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


September 23, 2021

Big Picture

Admissions Survey in a Wild Year
Inside Higher Ed – September 20, 2021
The 2020-21 year was a shock to the entire system of higher education. Admissions was hurt throughout, and even as some campuses started to reopen and vaccines started to become available, many campuses were operating on anything but a normal schedule. With all of these challenges, how did admissions fare? And how di the challenges of the last year reshape the landscape for admissions?

Getting More Students Through — Not Just To — College
EdSurge – September 22, 2021
What will it take to help more students graduate from college? Federal leaders are considering that question and a proposed College Completion Fund designed to provide services for people who may benefit from extra support as they pursue a degree. The measure aims to fix a longstanding problem in American higher education: Many more people start college than finish on time, within six years—or ever.

What mandate? Across U.S., teacher vaccine rules slow to reach classrooms
Chalkbeat – September 20, 2021
When Clark County, Nevada’s school board began to consider requiring its teachers and staff to get the COVID vaccine earlier this month, resistance was fierce. Clark County’s experience illustrates a broader reality: Despite a rise in schools and states declaring vaccines mandatory, America’s schools have been slow to actually impose such requirements on staff.

Columns and Blogs

Friends Don’t Let Friends US News
Post – September 22, 2021
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor Ph.D.
Topics you should seriously consider avoiding in your essays…
Tribune News Service – September 22, 2021
College Admissions Strategies with Lee Bierer 

Counselor  Survey

from RNL and HSCM

Survey: Counselor Preferences for College Information
Ruffalo Noel Levitz and HSCM are surveying high school counselors to understand your preferences for college information. The survey will take 10 minutes to complete. Data will be reported in aggregate, and no respondent will be identified. Aggregate results will be summarized and may be shared with counselors and institutions. This information will not be used for sales purposes, and you will not be contacted about your responses to this survey.

RNL works with hundreds of colleges and universities across the country. We help them understand how to better reach and communicate with high school students and their families. Counselors are a crucial part of college planning for many students and families. You are the experts. Participate by September 30 and make your voices heard!


What If? Asking The Right Question Can Help High School Seniors Apply To College
Forbes – September 17, 2021
The ‘What If’ question is a starting point — it allows high school counselors, college advisors, parents, relatives, and friends to explain how bringing aspirations to life requires education, training, and experience.

New social-emotional learning coaches helping to address Albemarle students’ needs
The Daily Progress (VA) – September 19, 2021
Schools have become the unintended mental health systems for a lot of students. To bolster that system, the Albemarle school division used more than $2 million in federal stimulus funds to create a new team. Because it’s a new role, the schools and counselors have flexibility to define it.

COVID-19 made student mental health a priority. Here’s what that should look like in school.
Mashable – September 20, 2021
When children walk through a school’s doors, counselor Tinisha Parker understands that they’re not just carrying backpacks and lunchboxes. She knows they are shouldering invisible burdens like anxious thoughts, homelessness, food insecurity, bullying, traumatic grief, parental pressure to excel, or the emotional absence of parents who are overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Resilience, Faith, and Support: How Twin Brothers Forged Diverging Paths to College
EducationWeek – September 21, 2021

John and Jonathan Easter, twin brothers from Bradley, Ark., reflect on the impact the pandemic had on their college plans, and the challenges they’ve overcome as the first in their immediate families to pursue higher education. Throughout their journeys, they received support from their families as well as the Rural Community Alliance


Cyber Safe Parent: Cyberbullying impacts on students
8 News Now (Las Vegas) – September 21, 2021
When many of us were kids, bullying might happen at school. However, now bullying can take place 24/7 because the ability to reach out on social media never stops. There are a few examples of what parents can be on the lookout for when it comes to dealing with cyberbullying.

We Know Students Are Struggling With Their Mental Health. Here’s How You Can Help
NPR – September 17, 2021
Christian-Brathwaite and other mental health experts gave NPR some tips that parents, teachers and all adults can use to help kids cope better in these uncertain times.

Nearly 1 in 3 Parents Have Never Talked to Their Child About the FAFSA
The Daily News (TX) – September 22, 2021
Beyond a lack of discussion about the FAFSA among family members, Discover’s survey revealed myths and misconceptions that may be creating barriers to families filling out the FAFSA application, including…

Admissions Process & Strategy

Getting into college: Sort out the myths and learn the facts
Royal Oak Tribune (MI) – September 20, 2021
Unfortunately, some students circulate incorrect information about college admissions, creating confusion and stress. Here are four myths some students believe, and the facts that you should know about applying to college now.

How to Build Resilience for High School, College
U.S. News & World Report – September 20, 2021
One personality trait that has been emphasized during the COVID-19 pandemic is resilience. But resilience is critical at many trying stages of life, especially during the college admissions process and throughout your college career.

The pandemic and college admissions: Private school counselors share tips
Buffalo Business First (NY) – September 17, 2021
As students have been able to take the SAT and ACT exams again, many institutions are remaining test-optional, which has pros and cons, according to some school counselors. The pandemic also seems to have accelerated the trend of viewing students more holistically…


The Will to Test in a Test-Optional Era
The Chronicle of Higher Education – September 20, 2021
Though many admissions officials have embraced the suspension of ACT and SAT requirements at their institutions, others have accepted it only grudgingly. Some college counselors say that several prominent institutions that recently suspended their testing requirements continue to tell them informally that they strongly prefer applicants to send scores. Colleges have been sending mixed messages publicly, too…[requires free account signup]

700,000 Fewer Took the SAT
Inside Higher Ed – September 20, 2021
A big question about the results is whether they represent a cross-section of students. Despite the College Board’s statement that ‘proportional representation across student subgroups was roughly similar to previous classes,’ much speculation exists that those who took the exam may have been wealthier or better students than average.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

FAFSA: There’s more to the story
The Daily Collegian (University of Massachusetts) – September 21, 2021
Is FAFSA the best way to determine the financial needs of a student? The quick and simple answer is no. How can an application that is based on you and your family’s tax returns fully explain your current financial situation? It doesn’t. There needs to be a change in the application process…

These websites help students find college scholarships and get free college application advice
CNBC – September 19, 2021
Applying to college and figuring out how to pay for it can be tough. These websites provide a plethora of free resources for high school students.

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What Students Need for the FAFSA

sponsored by Fastweb

What You Need to Complete the FAFSA
Help students prepare to fill out the FAFSA with this up to date guide. Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think!

Inside The Admissions Office

How to Manage College Admission Email
UVA Admission Blog – September 17, 2021
Many suggest that students create a separate email account for college mail, but that doesn’t really solve the problem. Students still have to wade through a lot of messages to find the important ones in a second email account. I have a different suggestion.

Teen Health

‘I want to know that I’m making an impact’ — Students help shine a light on social media’s impact on mental health, body image
WUSA9 (DC) – September 21, 2021
Harmful hashtags are appearing on social media which could be in your child’s hands right now. We spoke with teens and experts about how they handle negativity.

Facebook knows Instagram harms teens. Now, its plan to open the app to kids looks worse than ever
Tech Crunch – September 16, 2021
One of the biggest revelations from the WSJ’s report: The company knows that Instagram poses serious dangers to mental health in teenage girls. As recently as May, Instagram dismissed concerns around the app’s negative impact on teens as ‘quite small.’ But internally, the picture told a different story.

Tackling a Stigma: Students take an active role in advocating for mental health awareness
Greenfield Daily Reporter (IN) – September 21, 2021
Braedon Baker will never forget the loss. It happened during his sophomore year when one of his classmates — unbeknownst to Braedon or anyone else at New Palestine High School — was struggling with mental health issues.

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