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Careers to Consider – Mortuary Science

We publish a series in LINK for Counselors where we spot light unique careers that students should consider. Kristina Dooley of Estrela Consulting has recently posted videos that outline unique careers that students might want to check out. She recently posted one on Mortuary Science.

Do you have a student who has considered a career as a Funeral Director? A curious teen with an interest in Mortuary Science? Then this webinar is for them! Join Estrela Founder Kristina Dooley and Funeral Director, Kevin Barnett, as they discuss pathways to careers in Mortuary Science. Barnett has assisted with funeral services for President George H.W. Bush, Senator John McCain, and the former Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs, Togo Dennis West Jr. T

Here is a link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_k1c-i-gT8

Identity and College Options – Free Webinar

On SundayMarch 3, at 7:00 pm ET, Tim Fields (Emory) and Deb Johns (Notre Dame) will be joining host Brennan Barnard of Khan Schools Network to discuss the range of options for those looking for colleges that foster a sense of identity, community and empowerment. Do you have students that resonates with who they are? They will answer questions about HBCUs, men’s college, women’s college, religiously-affiliated schools and much more. It is free to attend and you can register using this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/4917079428505/WN_9ug40J5nQvSikhR4dGD69g#/registration

Making the Most of Spring Break: A Guide to Campus Visits for Families

This is a great time for families to huddle together and start planning which colleges they’d like to visit over spring break. I tell families that Spring break is the best time to visit if a school is in session — it’s important to check to see if your high school calendar overlaps with college calendars. Assuming colleges are in session, visiting a humming campus in springtime is a great way for students to determine if they feel a connection to the school. If families have already made other plans for spring break, it’s fine to make the visits over the summer, but oftentimes you’ll see more 10-year-olds in soccer uniforms than college students.

These visits can play a crucial role in the decision-making process, allowing prospective students to get a feel for the campus atmosphere, academic environment, and overall college experience. Let’s explore how families can make the most of their campus visits over spring break.

  1. Research and Plan Ahead: Before embarking on your campus visits, conduct thorough research on the universities you plan to explore. Familiarize yourself with the campus layout, academic programs, and any specific departments or facilities you’re interested in. Create an itinerary that includes campus tours, information sessions, and meetings with faculty members or admissions officers.
  2. Schedule Official Campus Tours: Many universities offer official campus tours led by knowledgeable guides. Schedule these tours in advance through the university’s admissions office. Official tours provide valuable insights into campus life, facilities, and the overall vibe of the institution.
  3. Attend Information Sessions: Most colleges offer information sessions where admissions representatives provide detailed overviews of the institution, including admission requirements, academic programs, and financial aid options. Attending these sessions can answer many of your questions and provide valuable information for decision-making.
  4. Explore Campus Facilities: Take the time to explore campus facilities such as libraries, dormitories, classrooms, and recreational areas. Pay attention to the condition and accessibility of these spaces, as they will contribute significantly to your overall college experience.
  5. Meet with Faculty Members: If possible, schedule meetings with professors or department heads in your field of interest. This can provide insights into the academic environment, research opportunities, and the faculty-student relationship at the university.
  6. Connect with Current Students: Talk to current students to gain firsthand perspectives on campus life. You can often find student ambassadors during tours or through scheduled meet-and-greet events. Ask them about their experiences, favorite aspects of the university, and any advice they may have for incoming students.
  7. Explore Surrounding Areas: Consider exploring the surrounding community and city/town. The environment outside the campus also plays a role in your overall college experience. Evaluate factors such as safety, available amenities, and recreational opportunities.
  8. Take Notes and Photos: Bring a notebook to jot down your thoughts and observations during each visit. Capture photos of important places and facilities. These notes and images will be valuable when reflecting on your options later.
  9. Consider Overnight Stays: Some colleges offer overnight programs where prospective students can stay in dorms and experience campus life firsthand. If available, take advantage of these opportunities to get a more immersive sense of the college environment.
  10. Reflect and Debrief: After each campus visit, take some time to reflect as a family. Discuss your impressions, compare notes, and consider the pros and cons of each university. This debriefing process will help you make informed decisions as you move forward in the college selection process.

Spring break campus visits are an exciting and crucial step in the college exploration journey. By planning ahead, scheduling official tours, and engaging with the campus community, families can gather the necessary information to make well-informed decisions. Remember that each university is unique, and finding the right fit involves considering various factors that contribute to a fulfilling college experience.

 Lee Bierer is an independent college adviser based in Charlotte. Send questions to: lee@bierercollegeconsulting.comwww.bierercollegeconsulting.com

Counselors Can Help Get Free Classroom Supplies for Teachers? It’s Not Too Good to Be True

There is a good chance that, as a school counselor, you’re aware that many teachers are paying for classroom supplies with their own money. In these days of shrinking school budgets, they have become an expert in doing more with less.

Probably, no one has told you that many of these same classroom supplies are available at no cost to your teachers through something called a gifts in kind organization. 

Gifts-in-kind organizations are not-for-profits that secure corporate donations of new merchandise and redistribute the items to not-for-profits members, which may include schools and individual teachers.

Donations include classroom essentials, office supplies, arts and craft materials, educational products, books, backpacks, party goods, cleaning supplies, sporting goods, software, and much more.

Donors include leading American companies. In return for their donations, they receive significant tax deductions. In addition, it’s a great way for them to clear older or overstocked merchandise out of their warehouses and doing a good thing for schools.

How It Works

Typically, joining is as simple as completing an online application. Teachers are free to join and have no yearly membership fee.  They only pay nominal handling charges. 

NAEIR’s basic membership (schools, churches and other nonprofits) is free to join the first year.  All orders have a minimum of $25 in handling charges and ground shipping is always free.

It sounds too good to be true, but it’s a simple, legitimate way to stretch your school’s classroom budget and reduce your teachers out-of-pocket costs.

The rules are straightforward. According to Internal Revenue Code section 170(e)(3), donated merchandise must be used for the care of the ill, needy or minors. It can’t be bartered, traded or sold, and must be given directly to qualifying individuals served by an organization or used in the administration of the organization.

Belonging to a gifts-in-kind organization costs teachers a fraction of what it would cost to purchase the same supplies in stores or online.

Many students do not have supplies and sometimes use the lack of supplies to disengage.  Gifts in kind allows your teachers to buy things they normally would not be able to afford for their classrooms.  The bottom line is that it allows the teacher to stretch his or her dollar as well as creativity.

If ‘free’ is a very important word to your school, too, as a counselor you owe it to your students and your school to inform them about gifts-in-kind programs.

Gary C. Smith is President and CEO of the National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources (NAEIR), the oldest largest gifts-in-kind organization in the U.S. NAEIR receives donations of excess inventory from American corporations and distributes the material to a membership base of more than 13,000 charities. It has collected and redistributed more than $3 billion worth of new, donated supplies and equipment since it was founded in 1977. For more information, visit NAEIR’s website at www.naeir.org. or call 1-800-562-0955.

Balancing Dreams and Reality: Setting Achievable Career Goals for Your Students

It’s not an easy time to be a teenager. On average, college tuition prices increase by about 5% each year. In a world where more than half of all high-paying jobs require at least an undergraduate degree. That can put a lot of pressure on kids who are preparing to graduate from high school and start making choices about their adult lives.

They have dreams and ambitions they want to accomplish, but they need to balance their goals with a sensible dose of reality. Do their skills and means align with their objectives? Do they need to tighten up their transcripts? Improve their skills?

Or is it possible that there are opportunities waiting for them that they haven’t even considered before? As their counselor, you can help them balance their dreams, and identify paths that will lead to a satisfying future.

In this post, we take a look at how you can help high school students set achievable career goals.

Do Seventeen-Year-Olds Really Need Career Goals?

That’s an interesting question— particularly when viewed in the context of the most recent generation to fully incorporate into the workforce. Millennials change jobs once every three years on average. If future generations maintain that rate of turnover, it could indicate that there isn’t much of a need for kids to have their careers mapped out as teenagers.

And yet, there are certainly strong benefits to having a good idea of what you’d like to do with your life at a young age. High school students with strong career goals are more likely to graduate from college. That alone will— in most cases— open the door to higher-paying careers.

There are also softer benefits to having career goals at a young age. High school students with well-defined ambitions tend to be more driven and confident than their peers.

How Can Counselors Balance Dreams and Reality?

Dreams and reality can often feel at odds. Kids are taught that they can grow up to be anything as long as they put in the effort. But is that advice actionable for kids who are about to graduate out of the public school system?

Counselors can help students navigate that balance by learning about their interests and explaining what steps they will need to take to achieve their goals.

Be Honest

Your job as a counselor is not necessarily to tell students that the world is their oyster. Nor is it to tell them that they are incapable of doing something. Instead, leverage honesty. If a D-student tells you that they want to get a job working at NASA, explain why their transcript currently indicates that that won’t be happening.

Help Them Understand What They Need to Make Their Dreams Come True

During meetings with students who are preparing to graduate, listen carefully to what their goals are and try to ground those ambitions in concrete facts. Tell them what type of education will be required for the job they are interested in. If it seems they are interested in a career path that their records don’t indicate they have the aptitude for, you don’t necessarily need to discourage them.

You may, however, find it worthwhile to point out jobs that more closely align with the skills they have already demonstrated.

At the same time, you should leave the door open for the possibility of improvement. High school transcripts are often a very inaccurate reflection of a child’s natural ability. However, if the student’s record does not align with their goals, they should be made aware of it.

Connect Your Students with the Resources They Need to Succeed

While some students will require little in way of guidance, others may need extra help to achieve their goals. Connect them with resources that align closely with what they are trying to achieve. Tutors, study materials—whatever resources you feel might help them reach their career goals.

Introduce Them to Career Paths They Might not Have Considered

It’s a little strange how we as a society expect seventeen-year-olds to know what they want to do with the rest of their lives. Sure, you always have the option to change career paths, but unless you zero in on something pretty quick, any change will often require postponing college graduation, or even going back to school.

Considering the overwhelming cost of receiving a college education, that won’t be a great option for most people.

You can help your students avoid that risk by introducing them to career paths they might not have considered. For example, everyone knows that there is the option to become a doctor or a nurse, but have your students given epidemiology any consideration?

Probably not. There are loads of relatively obscure, but highly rewarding career paths out there. Talk to your students about what they are interested in and see if you can recomend some interesting career paths that align with the things they like.

College Isn’t the Only Path Forward

Many high school students stress at the idea of spending four years at a university. They have heard about the crippling costs of getting that education and they just don’t have any interest in spending that much time and money on a degree.

You can help introduce your students to the wide range of options available to them. Many white-collar jobs are currently in limbo as companies downsize and AI changes the professional landscape forever.

The demand for trade positions, on the other hand, remains steady. Not only does skilled labor enjoy constant access to work, but they receive high-pay.

The word “ambition,” shouldn’t be limited just to kids who plan on getting a college degree. Counselors are responsible for recognizing the potential in all of their students. While there is nothing wrong with highlighting the merits of college education, be sure to also shine the spotlight on some of the rewarding opportunities that will be available to people who complete a trade school certification.

List of College Scholarships

Did you know that many Colleges’ offer specific scholarships to their incoming students? These are scholarships that are specifically offered to students who attend that school. Many students are unaware of these but there are a lot of great ones out there if they are willing to do the research. It can be as simple as checking with their school’s financial aid office and asking about possible scholarships that are available. Kristina Dooley of Estrela Consulting has published a large list of available scholarships at schools your students may want to check out. Here is a link to her Ultimate List of Hidden Scholarships on her website which is updated regularly.

Schools included so far are:

Arizona State University

Boston College

Boston University

Case Western Reserve University

Centre College

Colorado School of Mines

Colorado State University

Davidson College

Drexel University

Emory University

George Washington University

Georgia Institute of Technology

Indiana University 

Kansas State University

Montana State University

New York University

The Ohio State University

Pepperdine University

Purdue University

San Diego State University

Tulane University

University of Alabama at Birmingham

University of California Berkeley

University of California Irvine

University of Colorado – Boulder 

University of Illinois

University of Kansas

University of Maryland

University of Michigan

University of North Carolina

University of Oregon

University of Puget Sound

University of Richmond


University of Rochester

University of Southern California

University of Toronto

University of Virginia and UVA Alumni Association

University of Wisconsin

Vanderbilt University

Villanova University

Wake Forest University

Washington & Lee University

Washington State University

Washington University in St. Louis

Exclusion is Painful – Stop School Bullying – Video

Stop exclusion in your school. Take a step towards ending social exclusion by monitoring your students behavior. Exclusion is a big part of school bullying at the high school level. What can you do to stop exclusion and bullying from happening in your school? This short clip contains follow up questions and is perfect for the high school setting. Keith Deltano uses humor in his videos that resonates with high school students. Here is a link to his video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ze02usrbLq0

Test Optional and Test Free Colleges

FairTest continues to update their list of more than 2000 Colleges that are now SAT/ACT Test Optional or completely Test-Free institutions. The list of schools includes Accredited, Bachelor’s Degree Granting Colleges & Universities with ACT/SAT Optional or Test-Free Admission Policies for Students Seeking to Enroll in Fall 2024 or Beyond.

Here is a link to the complete list: https://fairtest.org/test-optional-list/

Resources for Supporting DACA/Dreamer Individuals in their Quest for Health, Education, and Independence

In 2012, the United States government announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, giving certain rights and protections to hundreds of thousands of people who entered the country as children and met specific criteria. As the years have passed, legislation has changed and altered the program. However, currently, there are still recipients of DACA who need support in healthcare, education, and legal protections as they work to enjoy the benefits of living in the only country they know.

As of December 2022, more than 580,000 recipients of DACA live in the United States. Most DACA recipients have graduated high school, and over half have attended postsecondary education. Many recipients of DACA say they have pursued further education and work opportunities than if they had remained undocumented. There are still 12 million undocumented individuals in the United States, and efforts to block or dismantle DACA have put their status into question.

Recipients of DACA are often called Dreamers because they ‘dream’ of a life with full rights in the United States. Dreamers’ advocacy resonates with social justice professionals since it integrates the well-being and fundamental rights of vulnerable and minority populations. Advocating for legislative solutions, better healthcare access, and more robust educational support are all ways to support Dreamers and their contributions to society. In particular, social workers, education professionals, healthcare workers, and people in business have the power to create the most change as their roles are consistent with supporting individual growth, worth, and development, and they all help to ensure these individuals are treated with dignity and respect.

Advanced Standing MSW has put together a comprehensive list of resources with link to help DACA students. Here is the link to the page with all of those resources: https://www.advancedstandingmsw.com/resources-daca-support/

Top 10 Career Categories for Remote Jobs in 2024

Do your students dream of finding a job where they can make $100,000+ and work from home? Believe it or not there are many careers where that is possible. Flex Jobs just posted the top 10 categories of remote jobs for 2024, most of which can earn six figure salaries. Here is the list:

1. Computer & IT

Recent remote job titles:

2. Accounting & Finance

Recent remote job titles: 

3. Marketing

Recent remote job titles: 

4. Medical & Health

Recent remote job titles: 

5. Project Management

Recent remote job titles: 

6. Customer Service

Recent remote job titles:

7. Sales

Recent remote job titles:

8. Administrative

Recent remote job titles:

9. HR & Recruiting

Recent remote job titles:

10. Operations

Recent remote job titles:

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