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Counseling Office News

Tips for Managing the Corona Virus Health Crisis

posted April 13, 2020

From the American School Counseling Association here are some tips for managing distance learning:

Online Student Success.pptx (PPTX)

posted March 19, 2020

As students, families and teachers try to adjust to this rapidly changing situation here are some tips from AHS counselors to help families and students find normalcy in these uncertain times.


  • Permit students to have a break for a few days: 

For some students these changes and developments are very overwhelming. They need downtime to digest all of this information overload and to find some grounding. It's okay if they sleep in and choose not to do school work for this first week. Encourage them to learn new skills like cooking or ironing. Let them pursue their hobbies like building a computer or song writing. Some video game playing is fine as well but make sure that it isn’t ‘all’ that they are doing day and night. 

For other students the lack of academic structure can be anxiety provoking. For those students, encourage them to start reading a book that the class was going to read or go online to take free practice tests on PSAT, SAT or ACT. This is also the perfect time to explore Naviance (an online tool for college and career exploration; link under College & Career)

  • Create a schedule:

It's important to start creating structure in your student’s day. Based on the parents' work schedules and the ages of other children at home, the schedule may vary from family to family. Even teenagers will need some assistance in keeping their phones away and getting to work. For example, after breakfast, a parent can sit at the dining table with the students for 2 hours, say from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. This would be a good time for parents to help students with any assignments that may have been assigned to them and to catch up on their own work. Even if there is no school work assigned please have your student use this time for quiet reading or to solve crossword puzzles (any non-media related quiet activity).

  • Rewards:

After lunch may be a good time for students to have individual free time. Rewards may include TV time, video game time, facetime with friends or family game time.

Some younger students might require more extrinsic forms of motivators such as stickers, etc. which can then be accumulated for larger awards.

  • Other learning opportunities:

With families stuck at home, this would be the perfect time to involve your teen in household chores. Cooking, laundry, vacuuming are all within your child’s scope.

Have your teen help out with younger siblings. They can read to them, take them on bike rides (while ensuring that they are abiding by the social distancing requirements). 

  • Importance of sleep and exercise:

Please make the time to take at least a brief walk in your neighborhood or encourage your teen to go on a bike ride. Exercise plays a vital role in mood regulation and positive temperament.  While it may be tempting to stay up late, please know that this will just create an erratic sleep cycle in students which often leads to napping in the middle of the day. This results in teens not getting adequate continuous sleep at night. Teens need at least 9 hours of sleep. Sleep and exercise increase immunity; we all need that right now. 

For additional tips please review the ‘Wellness’ section under Counseling.



 College Admissions Testing Updates

SAT and AP Tests
The College Board, which administers the SAT and AP tests, is continually updating its list of test center closings and location changes for both US and international sites.

  • SAT — The SAT for May 2 has been canceled. Makeup exams scheduled for March 28 are also canceled. Registered students will receive refunds.
  • AP — No changes regarding the AP exams have been announced. The College Board will have additional information by March 20.


ACT Tests
ACT has rescheduled its April 4 national test date to June 13 across the US. All students registered for the April 4 test date will receive an email from ACT informing them of the postponement and instructions for free rescheduling to June 13 or a future national test date. Please check the ACT website for updates.

College Admission Process

As a service to students and families, NACAC has created an online tool that is a central resource on changes to the college admission process due to the coronavirus outbreak. The tool includes information from colleges and universities nationwide on campus closures, deposit deadlines, and other admission-related changes. The tool updates automatically in realtime as we receive input from postsecondary institutions. Please share the link widely:




UC System Makes Changes to the Personal Statement Effective Fall 2016

After almost 10 years, UC is changing the personal statement section of its undergraduate admissions application, replacing the current two personal statement prompts with short-answer questions that students can choose from.  The new questions, now called personal insight questions, aim to give applicants a greater say in the kind of information they share with the University. Students can express who they are and what matters to them not only in how they respond to the questions, but also through the questions they choose to answer.
The new questions also provide students with better direction and focus on topics that are important to campuses. Each new question aligns to one or more of the14 comprehensive review criteria (nine criteria for transfer students) that campuses consider in their admissions decisions. “We hope this new format will not only provide us with additional insight into applicants, but also allow students to better choose the questions that speak to them most directly,” stated a UC admissions director.


For more information, including frequently asked questions and the new Personal Insight Questions :  UC Personal Statement Changes effective Fall 2016

For the Personal Insight Questions Worksheet:  UC Personal Insight Questions Worksheet


All seniors must complete a Senior Clearance Form in ordered to be cleared for graduation in terms of credits and material submission.  The "Blue" Clearance Form is available for pick up in the Counseling Office or print your own copy here (Senior Clearance Form 2021 (PDF)).  Most years the blue form will be distributed in Economics classes.  Please note that Clearance Forms must be submitted to the Counseling Office prior to graduation rehearsal.