Counseling Corner        

                                                    Patti Knott

                                           pknott24@yahoo.com

________________________________________________________________________

 

            Guidance Resources                           X

 

Calendars

Visits/ College Open House

   Testing

Careers

Senior Information

College Information

Financial Aid

Scholarships

Options other than College

 

 

Numerous papers and interactive resources, including information on colleges, financial aid, careers, military experiences, test preparation, personal issues, and online resources are available to all the district students.

 

 

                              EVENT CALENDAR            back to top

September 14            PLAN test

September 23            Mid Terms sent home

September 29-30       Parent Teacher Conferences

October 12                PSAT Testing

October 21                Report cards go home

 

 

 

 

                                     STUDENTS CALENDAR             back to top

 

   Seniors

Ø            Attendance at Illinois College Exposition at Parkland

Ø            College and Military Recruiters available

Ø            College Applications

Ø            Scholarship application

Ø            Financial Aid Information

Ø          ASVAB test available but limited numbers

Ø          Retake ACT if needed

 

 

 

     Juniors

Ø            Attendance at Illinois College Exposition at Parkland

Ø            College and Military Recruiting available

Ø            ASVAB (Military entrance exam) given to any interested junior

Ø            PSAT (practice SAT) Test available

Ø            Attend ACT preparation workshop at Jamaica

Ø            ACT & SAT (college entrance exams) Registration Forms available

Ø            PSAE (Prairie State Achievement Exam) ACT (Day1)/ State (Day2)

Ø            This year’s academic record will do a long way towards either helping or hurting your chances to get into the school of your choice.

 

Sophomores

Ø          PLAN (practice ACT) Test Available

Ø          ASVAB test available but limited numbers

Ø            Attendance at Illinois College Exposition at Parkland

Ø            Get involved in extracurricular activities

Ø            Focus on your grades

 

Freshman

Ø            Start looking into scholarships (www.scholarship.com)

Ø            Start a portfolio of all your activities and awards

Ø            Volunteer in the community

 

 

TEN EASY STEPS TO GETTING GOOD GRADES

                                        1.    Believe in yourself

          2.    Be organized

          3.    Manage your time well

                                  4.    Be successful in the classroom

    5.    Take good notes

                6.    Know how to read a textbook

 7.   Study smart

       8.   Use test-taking strategies

       9.   Reduce test anxiety

       10. Get help when you need it

 

Being a good student does not happen by accident. Good students’ have similar patterns in their behavior that may come more naturally for some. The good news is learning and implementing new habits can turn any good student into a better student.

 

 

 

 

 

 

College Visits at Heritage

 X                                                    bback to top

Sept 14                 Manchester College

Sept 27                 McKendree Univ.

Oct 3                    Illinois College

Oct 26                  McMurray College

Nov 28                 Western Ill Univ.

         

 

 

                    College Campus visits                    back to top

 

                       

 

 

 

 

                

      Planning for College

 

  • College Is Possible is a site sponsored by The Coalition of America's Colleges and Universities. Its goal is to serve as a resource guide to students, parents, and education professionals. This site is an excellent first stop to guide you to the books, websites, and other resources that will assist in making college possible. Information is here for parents of young children just beginning to plan, parents of older students in elementary, middle, or high school, and for adults thinking about returning to college.
  • Think College, a U.S. Dept. of Education site, is another wonderful source of information. Full of tips for parents and links to other useful websites, it's great for those hoping to send a student to college in 18 years or in just a few months.
  • Year-by-Year Planning -- What should a freshman, a sophomore, a junior, and a senior in high school be doing to prepare for college? Check the calendars on the site of the National Association for College Admission Counseling for useful tips.
  • Steps to College is an online newsletter produced by NACAC. It has articles focused college selection issues, making the transition from high school to college, and a wide variety of related topics. These are very good articles for both students and parents who are involved in the college search, application, and transition process.

 

 

 

FINANCIAL AID X        b                     ack to back to top

 

                 Section 529 College Savings Plans

 

What's the difference between a prepaid tuition program and a savings program?

Prepaid Tuition: Essentially, parents, grandparents, and other interested parties may lock in today's tuition rates, and the program will pay out future college tuition at any of the state's eligible colleges or universities (or an equal payment to private and out-of-state institutions). Amounts of tuition (semesters) may be purchased through a one-time lump sum purchase or installment payments. The program pools the money and makes long-range investments so that the earnings meet or exceed college tuition increases in the state.

Savings Plans: Savings plans allow participants to save money in a special college savings account on behalf of a designated beneficiary's qualified higher education expenses. Contributions can vary, depending on the individual savings goals. Savings plans offer a variable rate of return and are not backed by the state or guaranteed in any way.

Both types of programs are "qualified state tuition programs" under the Internal Revenue Code Section 529 (26 U.S.C. 529). This allows earnings to be federally tax deferred until the beneficiary enters college, and earnings are then taxable at the beneficiary's typically lower tax rate rather than the contributor's. Earnings are exempt from state income tax. With the 2001 tax act, the savings offered by 529 plans became more significant. Beginning in 2002 and lasting through 2010, money taken out of a 529 plan and used for educational purposes will be tax-free.

  • Saving for College is a great spot for information on pre-paid tuition and college savings plans. Founded by a CPA who wanted to know more about 529 plans, this site is aimed at anyone who wants to know more about the details of and differences among the available plans. What to be aware of, loopholes, tax questions, etc. are all found here. Ratings and explanations of the various states' programs are here. Before you select a plan, spend some time reading here. Their "Links" section is also quite helpful.
  • Illinois and over 30 other states have Section 529 plans, and (of course) there is a web site available to link you to any of those state approved programs. The National Association of State Treasurers' College Savings Plans Network is the place to go if you want the "official" information on the various programs offered by the different states. Some states' programs are quite flexible, while others are more restrictive.
  • Have you seen the signs at retail stores letting you know that a percentage of your purchases could go into a fund for sending a child to college? These credit card rebate and loyalty programs are similar to frequent flyer miles with the airlines or any other program that rewards loyalty to a brand or store. A small percentage of what you spend can be put into a Section 529 plan. There are a number of these programs, with Promises being the most popular. Some are free, others have a yearly fee. A plus to these is that registration is easy and your friends and family can also register and have their spending help your account! (Editorial: View these as supplemental ways to fund the 529 plan, it's doubtful that Susie or Johnny will be going to the University for free based on your spending at Borders and McDonalds.)

 

State of Illinois Programs                       back to top

  • College Illinois!, a Section 529 Prepaid Tuition Program run by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, delivers like no other college funding option. The control you want... the protection you need... and the peace of mind you deserve. Benefits are good in state, out-of-state, at public and private colleges and universities. They're 100% state tax exempt, and will not affect student financial aid awarded by any Illinois state agency. The program is open to all Illinois residents, and to all non-residents buying for Illinoisans, regardless of income levels.
  • Bright Start is an Illinois Section 529 College Savings Program that gives parents, grandparents and friends of a child a better way to save for college. The program has been designed by the State of Illinois and State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka as a qualified state tuition program under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. Through Bright Start, you can choose from several investment options-each designed to help you meet the rising costs of college. Any earnings on your investment will grow faster because they are federally tax-deferred. When the child reaches college, your investment can be used to pay for a wide range of expenses at eligible schools nationwide. At that time, earnings are taxed at the student's federal income tax rate-typically about 15%.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                     TESTING                         back to top

 

 

                           to top                                                  2                          

           ACT

           SAT

          PSAT

         ASVAB

 

          PSAE_

           PLAN

    EXPLORER

Test Preparation

 

                              ACT Test Dates x                                       back to top                          

 

Test Dates                         Registration Dates                 

Sept 10, 2011                    Aug 12, 2011

Oct 22, 2011                     Sept 16, 2011                         

Dec. 10, 2011                    Nov. 4, 2011                          

Feb. 11, 2012                    Jan. 5, 2012                            

April 14, 2012                   March 9, 2012                        

June 9, 2012                      May 4, 2012                           

 

  • Register on their web site www.act.org. Be sure to sign up for the writing part of the test. ACT Online Prep, the real ACT Prep Guide, and sample test booklets are available at www.actstudent.org. Our school code is 142-665
  • ACT has a site with information here on testing dates, fees, tips, etc. You can register online. The ACT test is the college entrance exam preferred by most colleges and universities in the Midwest. Students normally take the ACT between April of the junior year and October of the senior year. If already took the ACT but you need your score sent to an school/agency you did not list when you originally took your ACT, you need to fill out an Additional Score Report form. Writing is now an optional component on the ACT. There is an added charge for taking the ACT Writing Assessment. Many colleges recommend the Writing test, and a few require it. Unsure about the school you're considering? Check with that particular college's admissions office for the most accurate info, or check the ACT Writing Assessment page for a list of colleges. Heritage High School's ACT code is 142-665.
  • Students who have received their ACT score report can get additional interpretive information by downloading the PDF document Using Your ACT Results by clicking here(not available as of yet).
  • Jamaica High School runs an ACT Prep Program for juniors prior to PSAE testing in April.
  • The College Board site is a great source of information on the PSAT, the SAT, and Advanced Placement (AP) exams, in addition to other services such as those related to financial aid that are offered by the College Board. Online SAT registration is an option. Many private colleges and universities and those outside the Midwest prefer the SAT. Students normally take the SAT in the between spring of the junior year and fall of the senior year. Heritage High School's code is 142-665.
  • This is a web site that you can go to that will give you practice questions. http://www.actexampracticetests.com.

 

                              SAT Test Dates X                           back to top              

Test Date                           Registration Date                    Late Registration

                                              Closes                                      Closes

Oct 11, 2011                     Sept 9, 2011                            Sept 21, 2011

Nov 5, 2011                      Oct 7, 2011                             Oct 11, 2011

Dec. 3, 2011                      Nov 8, 2011                            Nov 20, 2011

Jan. 28, 2012                     Dec. 30, 2012                          Jan 13, 2012

March 10, 2012                 Feb 10, 2012                           Feb 24, 2012

May 5, 2012                      April 6, 2012                           April 20, 2012

June 2, 2012                      May 8, 2012                            May 22, 2012

 

If you do not get your registration in on time and you want to try to take the test on a particular date, you can go on standby. To see the procedure for standby and to register online, go to www.collegeboard.com. You can visit the SAT Preparation Center at www.collegeboard.com/srp for practice. Our school code is 142-665.

 

There are preparation classes available. Parkland will offer one: Jamaica High School offers one in the spring. A private company is Better Test Scores: their web site is www.bettertestscores.net. ACT and ACT also offer online prep classes.

 

 

 

ACT TEST PREP- BETTER TEST SCORES

          www.bettertestscores.net

 

This is run by Jason Franklin, a well-known expert in the  field of ACT

test prep. Classes begin in August, September, October and November.

  • Compare ACT and SAT scores using the College Board (SAT) concordance table. Be aware that all colleges do not use this chart. Some (including our University of Illinois) have established their own conversion tables based on institutional research. However, this is the best widely used table available. When students have taken both ACT and SAT, colleges generally use whichever score is higher, giving the student the benefit.

         PSAT X                             back to top      

INFORMATION REGARDING THE PSAT

 

  • Each student who takes the PSAT will have access to My College Quick Start free of charge? My College Quick Start, new in 2006, is an easy-to-use, online, personalized college and career planning kit comprised of four main sections.

My Online Score Report: An enhanced score report that allows students to review

Each test question, the student's answer, and the correct answer with answer

explanations. My SAT Study Plan™: A customized SAT® study plan based on

student PSAT/NMSQT test performance, highlighting skills for review and

practice. My College Matches: A starter list of colleges based on the student's

state and indicated choice of major. My Major and Career Matches: Major and

career matches that are compatible with the student's general interests and

personality type. My College Quick Start will be available for 2009 test-takers in

mid-December. Student access codes will be found on their paper score report.

Students will have access to My College Quick Start throughout their high school

careers. To login:

Go to http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/psat/quickstart.html

On the left side of the page, under My Organizer, enter the username and

password with one of the following accounts:

 

- To view test questions and answers from 2010, enter the following

username and password where indicated:

 

User name: istudentpn Password: mcqs987

Near the top of the page, click on the My Tests tab

In the section My PSAT/NMSQT, under Status, click on the "My College Quick’

Start" link

Note: In early December, the demo accounts will reflect 2010 test questions,

Answer explanations and new features. More details will be sent soon.

 

 

  ASVAB x                                      back to top              

  • The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is given without monetary cost for students interested in exploring the military as a post high school option. This test will be given September18 at Heritage, while others take it at a site arranged by a military recruiter. This site provides a good deal of information about the test and a few sample questions. Once scores are back, you may want to explore the Military Career Guide for information on specific jobs within the military.

          Prairie State Achievement Exams (PSAE) x                  back to top      

  • Testing all juniors in April has become an Illinois tradition. The Prairie State Achievement Exams cover two days, with the first day being a full ACT. Much information and interactive sample questions are available from the state. Of course, preparation for the ACT is available a number of places (see below) and from ACT itself. 

PLAN                                              back to top

  • The PLAN is a "pre-ACT" for 10th grade students. The goal of the PLAN is to  help students plan and prepare for their future.                                  

- What is it: A test for college readiness for 10th graders only

            - When is it: September  or October

- How can it help students: First it is a great way to prepare for the ACT. It will 

   give students an estimated ACT score.

-It also lets you know if you are on track for college, points out students

              academic strengths and areas that need improvement, helps find careers that

  match your interest, and connects students with colleges that may be interested

  in them.

-What to bring: two sharpened soft-lead pencils with good erasers and a calculator

-What does it cover: test in English, math, reading, science-just like the ACT

 

Should a student guess? Just like the ACT, there is no penalty for guessing. We encourage students to answer every question. Check out some PLAN sample test and learn more about using the PLAN results at www.planstudent.org

 

 

 

 

 

                                                EXPLORER                                    back to top      

 

This test is given to 8th grade students which will help them prepare for the ACT their junior year.

 

 

                             Test Preparation Sites      X                         back to top      

  • ACT offers test taking strategies and sample test questions on their official site. If this is the only preparation you do before taking the ACT, at least read the tips here and be a little more familiar with the test!
  • Prepare for the SAT (SAT I and SAT II: Subject Tests) with free or low-cost study materials from The College Board's SAT Learning Center. Choose from an Online SAT Sampler, take a mini-SAT to analyze your strengths and weaknesses and get a predicted SAT score.
  • Number 2.com is "the Internet's first source for absolutely free test prep." Covering SAT I and ACT material and vocabulary, the site gives background on what the tests really test, what they're comprised of, and how to best prepare for the different question types. A "coaching system" allows a parent to link to the student's account to get updates on their progress. Everything on the site is FREE!

 

 

 

     CAREER EDUCATION LINKS X                      back to top

 

·         Monster.com have a career assessment tool that is very quick and easy but only

      points the user in a general direction. “Perfect Career” asks a few questions about

      your personality type, then matches that to various career areas

  • Princeton Review’s Career Quiz –is free and quick. Make 24 choices and you get a career interest summary and a style (personality) summary.
  • Career Zone is another interesting survey to help sort out your career interest.
  • The Self-Direct Search (SDS) ---An inventory, which believes that there is a definite link between your personality and your interest in a career.
  • Illinois Job Outlook in Brief (JOIB) has the latest news on the “BEST BET” occupations, which have fast growth, lots of openings and high pay for their required level of education.
  • A Guide to Health Careers in Illinois is a comprehensive site with lots of information on job characteristics, occupations, salaries/wages, education required, program sites, and other links.
  • The Career Center, at Parkland is dedicated to being a resource to assist community members in career development. Sections on career planning and the job search are worth a special look.
  • Art Schools www.artschoolsdigital.com

 

 

 

 

 

SALARY INFORMATION         

 

 

 

 

 

 

CAREER INTERERST TEST                         back to top      

 

These brief “test” are designed to help you narrow the focus of your career search by identifying and clarifying your interests, values, and aptitudes.

 

  • The Keirsey Temperament Sorter- Identifies your personality type based on a theory of “psychological types.” Provides information about yourself, indicating how you may interact with your world.

 

  • The Self-Directed Search (SDS)- An inventory, which believes that there is a definite link between your personality and your interest in a career.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Senior Heads Up   X             back to top

 

             x

    College Application

College Admissions

Counselors Responsibilities

Letter of Recommendation

     Personal Statement

         The Essay

X                                            

 

                          It’s college application time. X                         back to top

 

I know that you have been working on your essays in English- that’s great! Here are a few guidelines to go by.

 

  1. Download a printable form of every college app in which you are interested. Draft it in pencil and then complete online. After you submit online, let me know and we will send a transcript to that college.
  2. Obtain your letters of recommendation. Those will be sent in with your transcript.
  3. Let me know if a secondary school report form is required. It will be part of the application when you download. Give that to me and we will complete and send with your transcript.
  4. Some colleges require a mid-year report. That will also be part of the application that you download (if that college requires it.) Give that to me, too, and we will complete and send after first semester grades are recorded.

 

 

 

 

 

  College Admissions Process   

X                                                                                                  

                                                                                                   back to top

q       Download applications for all schools in which you are interested. Complete them in pencil and proofread them. Then give them to a parent or teacher for another proofreading

q       Give the Secondary School Report to me AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. This can be completed while you are completing your part. HIGHLIGHT the postmark date, please.

q       Let me know where you want your transcripts sent for each and every college you are applying to

q       Included in the application, submit the “midterm year report” to me (with the postmark date highlighted) along with your “Secondary School Report.” I will file this in your personal file and send it when I have the necessary data (usually mid to late July.)

q       Ask for your Letters of Recommendations from your source. If you want a letter written in two minutes, I have your transcript. If you want a well-developed and thoughtful letter, ask for the letter four weeks in advance.

q       Compile a list of activities, both school and extra-curricular.

q       Let me know if the school to which you are applying REQUIRES the ALL forms be sent in one envelope. If so, I will hold all pieces until complete. You will need to request your letters of recommendation writers to send them to us for submission.

 

 

Counselors Checklist and Responsibilities X          back to top

 

ü      PROCESS COLLEGE APPLICATIONS

 

o       Produce and include a student transcript

o       Complete the “Secondary School Report”

o       Complete the “Mid Year Report”

 

ü      Act as a liaison between the student/family and the college admissions office when necessary.

 

 

    CLICK “SUBMIT”

 

 

 

Download a copy from the school’s web site, compete it in pencil, and then proofread.

 

-Complete it ONLINE- colleges highly encourage this!

            -Some colleges will waive the app fee if you apply online

            -I recommend that you proofread it first!!!

            -Use the “Common Application” if your chosen school participates in this

 program.

                        www.commonapp.org

 

    1. Plan on application turn around time being five school days. It is most likely to be shorter, but use five days when looking at deadlines.
    2. Your list of colleges should be well -developed, refined and defined.

a.       Create a file for each college

b.      In each file, clearly label:

Complete and Correct name of college

Address (street/city/state/zip) of Admissions Office

Phone number, including a fax

E-mail of the Admissions Office

Contact person (secretary/ receptionist and an Admissions Counselor

Catalog and other mailing material

Copy of your final app

Notes from phone calls made to the school (write down who you spoke to/about/when)

Scholarship and financial aid information

    1. Check and re-check your college’s deadlines.
    2. Give your counselor the Secondary School Report and Mid Year Report forms as soon as possible
    3. Teacher recommendation forms should be given to your chosen teachers as soon as possible, too. Make sure they have at least one month’s time frame in which to write their letters. Be sure to write a thank you note to those teachers.
    4. Write the essay and fine tune it.
    5. Fine tune you application and complete it either on line or with blue or black ink. You can combine ink with word processing; tape your essay that was word processed onto your application.

 

 

 

    LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION                 

                                                          back to top

                     This is another tool for a college to learn more about you.

 

                      Make a list of those who know you.

Example: someone who has seen you struggle and overcome an obstacle. Or maybe you didn’t overcome it, but learned how to effectively deal/live with it.

A teacher who saw you struggling with a class but then eventually mastered the material

A club advisor who knows your leadership and/or organizational abilities and saw how you helped bring and keep the group together.

Priest/ ministers who worked with you and have seen you faithfully attend church.

Someone who has observed your abilities to articulate your thoughts and opinions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Personal Statement       x

                    X     

                                                                                                      back to top

What is it exactly?

It is what it says it is- a personal statement.

College Admissions Counselors will read MANY personal statements- so snag their attention quickly!

 

You are basically introducing yourself to the college. They have read your application- now talk about “you” the person. It is appropriate to include information about yourself that is personal in nature, but don’t reveal something you’ll regret later. It should explain how a student knows themselves and how they won’t need their hand held for four years.

 

Who are you? What makes you tick? What makes you different from the next applicant?

 

What was a key experience in your life? What is important to you? What could you not live without in your life? Why?

 

Why have you wanted to go to Fabulous U? Talk about something that you know about the campus because of a first hand visit.

 

 

            Are there any gaps in your educational history or a poor semester  (grade-wise) because of, let’s say, a personal injury that had you in rehab for three months? Now is your chance to talk about it and relate it to your personal growth. How has your rehab furthered not just your physical growth but also your emotional growth? Help colleges to understand why you have the grades that you do. Why have you limited yourself to extra curricular like you did?

 

                        FORMAT: it does not have to be a narrative story.

 

A well-written poem about a personal experience (or how badly you want in that specific college) can be a personal statement.

 

BOTTOM LINE: Remember that you are sending in an application, transcripts, so stay away from that information. Also, don’t try to write this without help. Use expert advice from those around you that can simple, grammatical (not content) errors that you cannot see.

 

 

 

 

 

                                    THE               ESSAY

                                                                        x

                                                                                                                                    back to top

      WHY DO COLLEGES REQUEST AN ESSAY?

 

Simply, the college wants to know you better. All you have submitted so far is an application.

 

This is a chance to reveal your personality, insight, commitment and freshness

 

If the topic is broad, be focused and discuss one or two things. Sometimes a college will want to evaluate you through your creativity such as: “Do you believe there’s a generation gap? Describe the difference between your generation and others.” (Denison University)

 

SUGGESTIONS:

1.      Start early

2.      Be focused and discuss one or two things. (outline)

3.      Work on your opening paragraph. You want to catch their attention, but not in a wacky, odd way.

4.      Consider your audience

5.      Take your time and think the topic through-ROUGH DRAFT!

6.      Revise it yourself and then give to someone else to edit

7.      PROOFREAD!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   WHAT ARE SOME QUESTIONS THAT    

                           COLLEGES COULD ASK?

                                                                    back to top

  • Describe your most significant personal experience. Why was it significant and how has it influenced you?
  • Identify and discuss a significant problem facing your generation.
  • What have you read that has had a special significance for you? Explain why.
  • Describe a person or experience of particular importance to you.
  • Please describe the reason that influenced you in selecting your intended major field of study.
  • If you could travel through time and interview a prominent figure in the arts, politics, religion, or science, for example, whom would you choose and why?
  • Make up a question, state it clearly, and answer it. Feel free to use your imagination, recognizing that those reading it will not be entertained.
  • Please use the space provided to indicate what you consider your best qualities to be, and describe how your college education will be of assistance to you in sharing these qualities and your accomplishments with others.

 

Admission Counselors are not always looking for “well-rounded students,” rather a “well-rounded freshman class.” Don’t worry if you are not “well-rounded.” Take one of your passions, Tae Kwon Doe, competitive dance/ice skating/horse showing for five years, and explain your interest.

 

You want the Admissions Counselor, after reading your personal statement, to say, “I like this kid. I want her/him in our next freshman class. What is it going to take to get her/him here?”

 

Once completed, read it backwards to catch errors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                College and University Information          X

                                                                                     Back to top

Listed here are several sites. Some are similar to one another, but each has its own unique features. All colleges and universities are not at every site. Browse around. Have fun!            x                                                  X

 

Choosing a College -- The Selection Process U.S. Department of Education-This page offers information at the national level, including the most requested links by educators, policy makers, parents, students, researchers, and other citizens with a stake in education.

  • College NET- Check out this searchable database of more than 2,000 colleges and universities.
  • College View- Search for colleges, universities, scholarships, financial aid, and more with College View@ college search. College View is a free online college search service with profiles of all accredited colleges & universities in the US and Canada, virtual tours of hundreds of schools, electronic college applications, scholarships and financial aid info, career information and career planning tools, a free college chat service and message board, book experts, Ask the Experts, and much more.
  • College Link- Prepare great looking college applications quickly and easily with College Link, the program sanctioned by top colleges and universities nationwide. It’s America’s largest and most successful computer based college application program. Since 1991, tens-of- thousand of successful college applicants have used College Link to simplify the application process.        
  • You know you want to go to college, but where do you start with the search? The U.S. Dept. of Education has a resource book for parents with a short section on the selection process called "How Can My Child go about Choosing a College?"
  • Getting yourself thinking about a few priorities will be a great help in this complex process.
  • To get an idea of what student on a campus are thinking and doing and what the "issues" are, check the student newspaper. College News has a very long list of student-run campus newspapers from across the U.S. and some from other countries. Student newspapers offer a look not shown in the glossy view books, virtual tours, or student-led campus tours.    

 

                                         

      Planning for College

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  • College Is Possible is a site sponsored by The Coalition of America's Colleges and Universities. Its goal is to serve as a resource guide to students, parents, and education professionals. This site is an excellent first stop to guide you to the books, websites, and other resources that will assist in making college possible. Information is here for parents of young children just beginning to plan, parents of older students in elementary, middle, or high school, and for adults thinking about returning to college.
  • Think College, a U.S. Dept. of Education site, is another wonderful source of information. Full of tips for parents and links to other useful websites, it's great for those hoping to send a student to college in 18 years or in just a few months.
  • Year-by-Year Planning -- What should a freshman, a sophomore, a junior, and a senior in high school be doing to prepare for college? Check the calendars on the site of the National Association for College Admission Counseling for useful tips.
  • Steps to College is an online newsletter produced by NACAC. It has articles focused college selection issues, making the transition from high school to college, and a wide variety of related topics. These are very good articles for both students and parents who are involved in the college search, application, and transition process.
  • Saving for College is a great spot for information on pre-paid tuition and college savings plans. Founded by a CPA who wanted to know more about 529 plans, this site is aimed at anyone who wants to know more about the details of and differences among the available plans. What to be aware of, loopholes, tax questions, etc. are all found here. Ratings and explanations of the various states' programs are here. Before you select a plan, spend some time reading here. Their "Links" section is also quite helpful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

      Local, Illinois, and Big 10 Schools X     Back to top

                                               

  • Two great reasons to be students in Urbana-Champaign are The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, our very own world-class university, and Parkland College, our quality community college. Here, they are just a click away!
  • Apply to UI quickly by using their online process. The Parkland online application takes only minutes to complete and submit electronically. (Just be sure to complete a transcript request form in the guidance office.)
  • There are 12 reasons to attend a state school. Illinois State, Eastern, Southern, and all the other State Universities in Illinois are accessible along with addresses, phone numbers, links to home pages and e-mail to admissions offices, and electronic (web-based) applications. For a nice PDF document giving brief information on the 12 state schools, download the "12 Reasons" booklet from the IACAC (Illinois Association for College Admissions Counseling) site. If you want a nice chart of majors and admission requirements, check "At a Glance" on the same page.
  • Interested in one or more of the Big Ten Universities in addition to the U of I? Check out our Other Big Ten Universities link for those other quality rival schools.
  • IllinoisMentor™, is a service of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. It allows users to explore career options, compare colleges, complete and submit applications on line, and ask questions. There is a huge amount of information here! 

VIII. Misc. Links

§         Illinois Virtual High School

§         www.collegeparents.org-Great resource for parents

§         www.library.uiuc.edu/edx/ranking.htm- site which ranks colleges

§         www.highschoolhub.org-lots of good links to various college options

§         www.securityoncampus.org/- crime stats on campus

§         www.campustours.com -virtual tours for many colleges

§         www.cyberguidance.net -high school guidance for colleges and careers in the best section

§         www.ncaaclearinghouse.net -clearinghouse for NCAA sports

§         www.savingforcolllege.com - a thorough guide that explains and compared 529 plans

§         www.niu.edu/crc/major/weblink.htm - links college majors to careers, courtesy of NIU

§         www.ed.gov -links to online material useful to parents and students for college planning

 

                          Searching for Colleges                        Back to top               

  • If you are not sure what colleges might be of interest, IPEDS COOL has the tools to help you search for a college. You can search for a college based on its location, program, or degree offerings. If you click "More Options" at the bottom of the page, you will have the option to use more criteria in your search. The more you specify, the smaller the number of colleges that will fit your criteria. With either search option, once you've found some colleges of interest, you can compare information on all of them. (HINT: To clear data between searches, click on "COOL" at the top of the page. This takes you to the first page. Then click "Clear" at the bottom of that page and continue your searches.)
  • American Universities is maintained by University of Florida and provides a direct link to over 1500 American colleges and universities. (It also includes a link to a database of Canadian Universities, other international schools, and community colleges.)
  • Another site by the same name "American Universities" has a nice little map of the United States which allows a user to click on a state and get a listing of the 4-year schools in that state and links to those schools. It's a good approach if you're looking for schools in a certain state. The site also allows users to search for schools by alphabetical listings.

Two-Year Community and Junior Colleges

§         Lake Land College

§         Olney College

§         Parkland College

§         Richland Community College

§         Heart Land Community College

 Four-Year Colleges and Universities

§         Bradley University

§         Chicago State University

§         Eastern Illinois University

§         Governors State University http://www.govst.edu/

§         Illinois College

§         Illinois State University

§         Millikin University

§         Northeastern Illinois University

§         Northern Illinois University

§         http://www.siu.edu/siuc/

§         http://www,siue.edu/

§         University of Illinois-Chicago

§         University of Illinois-Springfield

§         http://www.uiuc.edu/

§         Western Illinois University

 

 

 

       Schools Around the World XX                  Back to top

  • Looking for web links to World Wide Colleges and Universities? The University of Southern California's Center for Global Education has established a wonderful database of schools around the world, and it is arranged by continent. Along with a link to the home language home page, the site also provides direct links to an English Language Home Page and a link to the school's International Relations Office. The site also provides background on the system of higher education for each country around the world.
  • Ever thought about attending college in Canada? It may be worth exploring. The monetary exchange rate makes a Canadian education a good buy, and it may be closer to home than many U.S. schools. Also, most Canadian schools are accredited for qualifying for HOPE, Lifetime Learning, and Stafford Loans, all U.S. aid programs. To check on attending a Canadian school, check out Study in Canada. For specifics on being a foreign student in Canada, check out the fact sheet published by the Canadian government. If you want to read about education and educational issues in Canada, check out Maclean's Magazine's online publication.
  • College and University Home Pages, a data base started by C. DeMello at MIT lists over 3000 schools from around the world. This takes you to the university's actual web site. This list has recently been enhanced by colleges.com and breaks the college lists down into focus area such as undergraduate education, business school, etc. It also lists many foreign schools.

 

  Schools Not Emphasizing Test Scores for Admission X

  • Do all schools put a lot of emphasis on test scores? No. An organization called FairTest has compiled a list of schools that either do not use test scores or use them minimally in making admissions decisions regarding some or all of their incoming freshmen. Check them out for the list of these SAT/ACT Optional Schools.

 

Specialized Schools, Religious, and HBCUs X      Back to top

  • Education.org is a great site if you are looking for schools with programs of study in Art, Business, Computers, Cooking/Culinary, Environmental Education, or Fashion,. They also list Medical Schools. These sites list program offerings in these various areas regardless of whether it is a public or private school or a certificate, associate, bachelors, or graduate degree program. The site offers direct links to the schools offering the programs, so the content is fresh and accurate. A couple more valuable components of these sites are the financial aid and career information links they offer. which are focused on the particular career areas. Check it out!
  • Students looking for a more religious education might want to check the site of the The National Catholic College Admission Association, the Christian College Mentor. These sites have a great deal of information specifically for those looking at this more focused type of educational setting.

 

Two-Year, Vocational, and Technical Schools   XBack to top

  • Looking for a 2-Year School? Maricopa Community College maintains a searchable index of links to community colleges in the U.S. A site still under development but coming along nicely and now quite usable is U.S. Two-Year Colleges. Choose schools by state. It lists community colleges, technical colleges, junior colleges, branches of 4-yr colleges, which focus on associate degree education, and accredited 2-yr proprietary schools.
  • Is a vocational or technical school what you have in mind? If you're looking for an educational program to become a jeweler, plumber, cosmetologist, legal secretary, mechanic, etc., there are many private post secondary vocational schools offering programs. This site has a database, which is organized, first by state, then by programs offered.

 

The Common Application X                     Back to top

  • The Common Application is the recommended form of many (around 300) selective independent schools and a few public universities. Students simply complete one form, then copy it and send it to each school to which they wish to apply, thus eliminating a great deal of duplication of efforts by students and teachers. The Common Application may be downloaded to either Mac or PC from this site.

 

Rankings, Comparing Schools               XBack to top

  • There are all sorts of rankings of colleges/universities and their programs. The University of Illinois (Urbana) Library has done a nice job collecting some College and University Rankings sites and trying to put them into some perspective for users. This is an excellent site, and the first link read should be the "Caution and Controversy" link. This site goes on to list national rankings of schools based on student reports, services for the disabled, minorities, activism, research, and even the health of the campus squirrels! If you're into rankings, this is your site.
  • Each year, U.S. News & World Report does a special issue ranking colleges according to a number of criteria and publishes their book entitled America's Best Colleges. Save your money on the book by checking their site.
  • Ordo Ludus, Latin for "School Rankings" is a site where "lists provide a more well-rounded view. They rank 126 colleges and universities in approximately 30 different areas that are organized into 4 separate categories (Academics, Athletics, Quality of Life and Tuition and Costs), which are then averaged together to produce overall rankings.
  • Squirrels. They're on every campus (or are they?) and some people think that's a good way to judge a college or university. You may think they're out of their tree and completely nuts, but the Campus Squirrel Listing is our most unique resource for you to use in the quest to find that "perfect" school. Enjoy.
  • Wonder which residence hall to choose? Check out Dorm Advisor for student comments and ratings of residence halls on a number of college campuses.
  • More rankings and critiques regarding their usefulness and place in college selection, guide for parents.com offers a nice collection.

 

Campus Security and Safety X                 Back to top

  • Campus safety and crime have become focal points in college circles. There is a site devoted to this topic, and it is worth a look. Security On Campus provides tips for campus safety, links to recent legislation, news reports, and studies, among other topics. To get stats on crime at a particular campus, click on "Crime Stats" on their home page.
  • The Office of Postsecondary Education Campus Security Statistics Website is your link to reported criminal offenses for over 6,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. This site is a result of acts of Congress aimed at helping potential college students and their parent’s research criminal offenses on college campuses. Any school that is Title IV eligible (those that participate in awarding Pell Grants and other federal financial aid) is required to publish and distribute an annual campus security report. Stats on this site come from those rep

 

 

Financial Aid/Scholarships X                         back to top

                               

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

 

 

 

                                             SCHOLARSHIPS X

 

                        HHS Scholarship Information                     back to top

  • Heritage High School Guidance Office publishes a listing of available scholarships. This listing is produced using the various scholarship opportunities for which we receive information. Listings include criteria, award amount, application deadline, and how to obtain the actual application materials. This information is presented to student through the daily bulletin and the listing is posted in several places throughout the high school, including the bulletin board outside the guidance office.

 

ü      Cocoa –Cola Scholars Foundation Inc.-Students must register on line Scholarships up to $20,000. Students must carry a 3.0 GPA and pursing a degree in a U.S. postsecondary school. Apply at www.coca-colascholars.org.

 

ü      Lincolnland Legends Illinois Dollars for Scholars

                  www.illinoisdollarsfor scholars.org

                  Essays must be in by Dec. 3 via mail: Illinois Dollars for Scholars

                 1010 Runyan Dr.-Lockport, IL 60441

 

ü      The Ronald Reagan Leadership Program: Four year full tuition at Eureka     College, exciting on-site mentoring experiences with prominent leaders worldwide. Exclusive, paid travel opportunities to destinations such as New York City, London, Rome, and Paris. www.eureka.edu.

 

ü      Toyota Community Scholars: Scholarships awarded to an outstanding senior

                  who demonstrates school leadership and commitment to community service  and plan to attended an accredited four year college or university. Must be nominated. Up to 10,000 to 20,000 awarded. Apply January 4

 

 

ü      Eastern Illinois University Presidential Scholars and Honors Program: Must have a Act of 26 or higher, GPA of 3.5 or higher. Please go to their web site to apply. www.eiu.edu/~honors, look under prospective student. Apply by Feb. 1st

 

ü      Parkland College Board of Trustees Scholarship: Two years full tuition and fees. Call Parkland Financial Aid office for more details at 217-351-2222.

 

ü      Eastern Michigan University Presidential Scholarship Competition: Must have a 3.0 GPA and at least a 20 ACT score. Will pay out of state tuition differential. Apply on-line at http://www.emich.edu/admissions/apply/idex.html.

 

ü      Burger King Scholars Program-Awards are $1,000.To qualify you must be a high school senior, a U.S. resident and meet other requirements. Visit the web site at www.bk.com/scholars. Applications are avaliable on line last day to submit will be Feb. 15.

 

ü      AXA Achievement Community Scholarship: Students must show ambition, drive, determination, respect, and an ability to succeed in college. Applications are available at www.axa-achievement.com. Apply Feb. 15

 

ü      Kathryn G. Hansen Scholarship: Any student pursing higher education in the office professional, secretarial, or business-related fields should apply. You will need to fill out an application, submit two letter of recommendation, and send your transcript. $500. Due Feb 15

 

ü      Champaign County Farm Bureau Foundation Scholarship: Awarded to a high school senior. Main criteria is that the student must be pursuing a degree

      related to agriculture. Many other qualifying criteria listed. Applications can be found at www.ccfarmbureau.com and are due by Feb. 15.

 

ü      The American Legion-Need a Lift- a web site that list available scholarships, grants and loans for which many students may qualify.www.needalift.org

 

ü      U.S. Bank’s Internet Scholarship Program: scholarship award recipients are selected through a random drawing process. Students can apply online by visiting the U.S. Bank web site or even place a link directly to our site if you prefer. usbank.com/studentbanking.

 

ü      Independent Order of Odd Fellows: apply at http://www.ioof-il.org.Due March 1

 

ü      Michael Fredichs, State Senator, 52nd District: He is once again  offering the General Assembly Scholarships to students in his district.

                  These are eight, one-year full-tuition scholarships available for students who will be attending any of the Illinois four-year public universities. They are accepting applications on January 15th and all applications and other required materials must be postmarked by March 17. Students may download the application from his website at: www.mikefrerichs.com

 

ü      ILLINOIS AMVETS SERVICE FOUNDATION

                 Many scholarships available. All applications should be postmarked by the following address no later than March 1. Go to: www.ilamvets.org or call 800.638.8387.

 

ü      CHILDREN OF VETERANS TUITION WAIVER AT THE U OF I

   Refer to www.osfa.uiuc.edu for more detailed information. This is a four year in-stat tuition waiver at the U of I. The recipient may use his/her waiver at any of the UI campuses. Up to six tuition waivers are awarded per county - one for each of the following wars/conflicts: WWII, Korean Conflict, Vietnam Conflict, SW Asia Conflict, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Deadline is March 1.

 

ü      THE SECRETARIAT - KATHRYN G. HANSEN AWARD: Open to students planning to   pursue higher education in the office professional, secretarial, or business-related fields. One scholarship of $500 will be awarded. Contact Judy Harris at:jaharrs2@uiuc.edu

 

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         FINANCIAL AID  X 

 

                       Section 529 College Savings Plans

 

What's the difference between a prepaid tuition program and a savings program?

Prepaid Tuition: Essentially, parents, grandparents, and other interested parties may lock in today's tuition rates, and the program will pay out future college tuition at any of the state's eligible colleges or universities (or an equal payment to private and out-of-state institutions). Amounts of tuition (semesters) may be purchased through a one-time lump sum purchase or installment payments. The program pools the money and makes long-range investments so that the earnings meet or exceed college tuition increases in the state.

Savings Plans: Savings plans allow participants to save money in a special college savings account on behalf of a designated beneficiary's qualified higher education expenses. Contributions can vary, depending on the individual savings goals. Savings plans offer a variable rate of return and are not backed by the state or guaranteed in any way.

Both types of programs are "qualified state tuition programs" under the Internal Revenue Code Section 529 (26 U.S.C. 529). This allows earnings to be federally tax deferred until the beneficiary enters college, and earnings are then taxable at the beneficiary's typically lower tax rate rather than the contributor's. Earnings are exempt from state income tax. With the 2001 tax act, the savings offered by 529 plans became more significant. Beginning in 2002 and lasting through 2010, money taken out of a 529 plan and used for educational purposes will be tax-free.

  • Illinois and over 30 other states have Section 529 plans, and (of course) there is a web site available to link you to any of those state approved programs. The National Association of State Treasurers' College Savings Plans Network is the place to go if you want the "official" information on the various programs offered by the different states. Some states' programs are quite flexible, while others are more restrictive.
  • Have you seen the signs at retail stores letting you know that a percentage of your purchases could go into a fund for sending a child to college? These credit card rebate and loyalty programs are similar to frequent flyer miles with the airlines or any other program that rewards loyalty to a brand or store. A small percentage of what you spend can be put into a Section 529 plan. There are a number of these programs, with Promises being the most popular. Some are free, others have a yearly fee. A plus to these is that registration is easy and your friends and family can also register and have their spending help your account! (Editorial: View these as supplemental ways to fund the 529 plan, it's doubtful that Susie or Johnny will be going to the University for free based on your spending at Borders and McDonalds.)

 

State of Illinois Programs                      Back to top

  • College Illinois!, a Section 529 Prepaid Tuition Program run by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, delivers like no other college funding option. The control you want... the protection you need... and the peace of mind you deserve. Benefits are good in state, out-of-state, at public and private colleges and universities. They're 100% state tax exempt, and will not affect student financial aid awarded by any Illinois state agency. The program is open to all Illinois residents, and to all non-residents buying for Illinoisans, regardless of income levels.
  • Bright Start is an Illinois Section 529 College Savings Program that gives parents, grandparents and friends of a child a better way to save for college. The program has been designed by the State of Illinois and State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka as a qualified state tuition program under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. Through Bright Start, you can choose from several investment options-each designed to help you meet the rising costs of college. Any earnings on your investment will grow faster because they are federally tax-deferred. When the child reaches college, your investment can be used to pay for a wide range of expenses at eligible schools nationwide. At that time, earnings are taxed at the student's federal income tax rate-typically about 15%. Illinois Student Assistance Commission-The ISAC INFO Café, ISAC Info Net, and Mapping Your Future are among the links found at this site. From applying for financial aid, to establishing college costs and financial aid eligibility, linking to specific Illinois colleges, learning about admissions procedures, picking up tips on career planning, or checking the status of your ISAC grant or loan can all be done here! ISAC is a one-stop financial aid center for all your college planning needs. ISAC helps make higher education accessible for students and their families

                                   

      FREE Scholarship Searches                  

 

NOTE: These sites are all free, though they do have sponsors/advertisers who may get user information for marketing purposes. Sites usually state what their policy on this is and may give the user a choice of releasing their information or keeping it private. While each site offers similar information, they are each unique and results will vary. A student who is serious about finding as many scholarship sources as possible would be wise to register with several of these. Why pay private companies to do this searching for you when you can do it here for free? Results are emailed to the student. If the student has no email account, one can be easily established through such sites as Excite (www.excite.com), Hotmail (www.hotmail.com), Yahoo! (www.yahoo.com), and others. Students should also be sure to check for scholarship information in the school guidance office.

 

At no cost, these sites do searches similar to those done by private search companies' offerings that cost from $10 to hundreds of dollars.

  • nelnet, a recent addition to the financial aid and scholarship search sites, is packed with information aimed at planning for college. This is a good site for answering questions and helping users sort through different options, as well as linking to a good scholarship search.
  • College Answer, is a great site with a useful scholarship search service to help students pay for their education. College Answer is part of the Sallie Mae financial services group and they do not share your info with third parties.
  • fastWEB should be a sure stop on your search for financial aid. You enter information about yourself, along with your e-mail address (if you have one), and Fastweb will locate scholarships that fit your profile. Even after you get your first list of matches, it will e-mail you when other matches are found.
  • SRN Express is another search engine and database of over 8,000 private scholarships that will help you locate money for college study. Students do need an email address to receive results. Student information is not sold to mailing lists. Students who do not have an email account may obtain one at no cost through such companies as Yahoo! and Hotmail.
  • FreSch! is another free scholarship search service. FreSch! has a database of over 2,000 sources of scholarships, representing approximately 169,000 awards. After you have searched for scholarships, it would be a good idea to browse the database, and look for additional scholarships that you might be eligible for but didn't necessarily match your exact search specifications.
  • FastAID Free Scholarship Search bills itself as "the largest private sector scholarship database in the world." This site is from the authors of "The Scholarship Book" from Prentice Hall, and they have been researching scholarships for many years! Some users report finding scholarships here that were not matched on any other search.

·         www.weeklyscholarshipsalert.org Free scholarship information.

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Parkland / U of I Financial Aid Offices X

                State and Federal Student Aid Programs    back to topX

  • FAFSA on the Web is the U.S. Dept. of Education's site for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. A PIN (Personal Identification Number) is needed to complete the online version, and this should be acquired before you actually sit down to do the FAFSA on the Web. Options for completing the FAFSA are to complete and submit the online version or to pick up and complete the paper form and mail it for processing. If you are filing a federal income tax return, you should complete it before filing the FAFSA. The paper version of this form is available in the HHS Guidance and Counseling Office or from any college financial aid STUDENTS PLANNING TO ENTER COLLEGE IN THE FALL OF 2009 NEED THE 2008-2009 FAFSA!
  • The US Dept. of Education has several helpful sites for information targeted to parents of pre-schoolers through adult students. The site also has a section regarding International Students. When you apply for aid, you'll need Title IV Schools Codes for the college code numbers. Another government site which gives information on monetary awards in return for volunteer service is AmeriCorps.
  • College Zone, the site of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), will hook you into their programs and an abundance of resources. This site is focused on Illinois students and as such it is the only site with a financial aid calculator that estimates eligibility for the State of Illinois' MAP Grant.
  • Have you heard about the Tax Breaks for Higher Education, such as the HOPE Scholarship and Lifetime Learning Credits? The University of Illinois Extension service has a good site, which is a guide to the variety of tax breaks available to make higher education more affordable. It is written in very understandable terms. This is a good resource, particularly for those middle-income taxpayer families who may have some college savings and/or find that the only breaks they'll get on tuition are those coming from a reduction in taxes.

§         FAFSA on the Web- You may use this on-line form to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) over the internet.

§         Illinois Student Assistance Commission- The ISAC INFO Café, ISAC Info NET, and Higher EdNet are among the links found at this site. From applying for financial aid, to estimating college cost and financial eligibility, links to specific Illinois colleges, learning about admissions procedures, picking up tips on career planning, or checking the status of your ISAC grant or loan can all be done here! ISAC is a one-stop financial aid center for all your college planning needs. ISAC helps make higher education accessible for students and their families.

 

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CSS Profile Online X

  • CSS Profile Online is the online completion site for the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE®. This form is sometimes requested by private colleges and universities in order to get a more complete view of a student's financial need situation. A product of the College Board, there is a fee for completing this form. A credit card and a secure browser are needed for online completion.

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Financial Aid/College Cost Estimators and Calculators X

  • Several organizations offer parents and students the tools to estimate their college costs, the expected family contribution (EFC) and capacity for debt. We provide links to a few of these, and all are free and anonymous.

ISAC's College Zone has a state and federal aid estimator, which calculates what you might be eligible for from both sources. This is an excellent place to start if you are an Illinois resident and plan to attend an Illinois school.

 

Sallie Mae, a financial services company specializing in lending money for educational expenses (and sponsor of College Answer site), has a series of college planning calculators on the web. They work you through the steps from forecasting college costs to saving for college, borrowing, and on to repayment. This is a nice sequential approach!

 

 

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               College Illinois! and Bright Star

              State of Illinois College Programs X

  • The State of Illinois has two programs for helping families plan for college expenses. These and other Section 529 plans are explained and linked on our "Planning for College" page. Even if a student is almost ready for or already in college, it's worth a visit to this page.

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Information, Guides, Scam Alerts, etc. X

  • "Is this a scam?" We get frequent calls from parents wondering if the scholarship search service that sent them mailings is "for real." Consumers should be very skeptical of these services, as they are usually not worth the money. (This is especially true with all the free Internet searches available and the resources such as those listed on this page.) The Federal Trade Commission's Scholarship Scam site targets the fee-based scholarship search services. Not only does it give the typical things to look for as signs of a rip-off, but it also lists companies which have engaged in these practices in the past and frequently change names or addresses. It's a very user-friendly site.
  • Paying for School is a guided tour that takes you through steps you need to consider or complete when planning to pay for your education. Topics included are very similar to what would be covered in a financial aid presentation. This is a good step-by-step site, but does not include state programs.

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For the Student Athlete X

  • Student athletes hoping to compete as Division I or II college athletes must register with the NCAA Clearinghouse. This form should be submitted after the completion of the junior year. This allows interested NCAA member schools to obtain accurate student records from a central source. Registration is very easy and may be done in a few minutes on the web. There is a $50 fee which is payable by credit card. To register via the web, click on "Domestic Student Release Form." This NCAA site also allows users to find the List of Approved Core Courses offered by a high school. Click on "List of Approved Core Courses" and enter the 6-digit CEEB code for the high school or the school's name, then scroll down and click "submit query." The school name and address then come up with course categories listed. Select those desired and "submit" to get a complete list of all courses approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse. Heritage High Schools' CEEB code is 142-665.
  • For extensive information on the National Collegiate Athletic Association rules and regulations, the NCAA Online site is full of useful information for the College-Bound Student-Athlete. Academic eligibility, financial aid, recruiting, drug testing, and graduation rates for colleges are just some of the topics found here. Though it's not real optimistic, check out the NCAA's chart entitled "Estimated Probability of Competing in Athletics Beyond the High School Interscholastic Level"
  • The National Junior College Athletic Association is similar to the NCAA, but the organization for community (junior) colleges, Search for school by name or for sports (which community colleges in Illinois offer football?). Links to the schools are provided, making for easy contact.
  • Many small private colleges and universities are member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). This site lists school, sports, etc. for the NAIA.
  • The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) is the organization of member schools, which coordinates many interscholastic activities, particularly sporting/athletic activities in Illinois. Information on member schools, activity schedules, regulations, records, and more may be obtained from their web site.

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                         Options Other than College  X

 

 

 

Volunteerism X

  • Local Volunteer Opportunities abound on C UVolunteer.org. A partnership with the United Way, U of I, and others, this site will help those looking for volunteer opportunities. Remember that more and more employers, colleges, and scholarship agencies are asking what volunteer service an applicant has done. This is a factor with growing importance, and this site will help you locate service opportunities.

 

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Gap Year, Taking Time Off, Study Abroad, Travel X

  • Phillips Andover Academy (one of those East Coast boarding schools boasting of alums who are U.S. Presidents and such) has a very lengthy list of links to Interim (Gap) Year Programs.
  • Interested in giving some time in order to pay for education? AmeriCorps is for people at least 17 years of age who wish to learn new skills, acquire leadership, and gain a sense of satisfaction from taking on responsibilities that directly affect peoples' lives. Members receive a modest living allowance and health coverage while in the program. After a year of service, they may receive education awards of nearly $5,000 to finance their education.
  • City Year is one of over 1,000 local and national AmeriCorps programs across the country. City Year brings together young adults, ages 17 to 24, from diverse ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds for a demanding year of full-time community service, leadership development, and civic engagement to meet the nation's critical need in areas of education, public safety, the environment, and other human services in cities throughout the United States.
  • Looking to participate in a study abroad program? There are many, and the Rotary Youth Exchange program is open to students ages 15 - 19. It's an active program in Urbana, with UHS students being regular participants.
  • Another exchange program, AFS Intercultural Programs offers student exchange programs and community service programs in foreign countries.
  • Spend a summer, a semester, or a year with a family abroad with Youth for Understanding. Programs are available in 35 countries.
  • StudyAbroad.com is a commercial site (paid advertising and such), but it has a lot of value as a resource for the high school student looking for a summer, semester, or year-long educational program in another country. The site allows students to select a country (and even a few major foreign cities) for study programs. Programs listed are connected with non-profit organizations, businesses, and colleges/universities. There's a lot of information here, but one to be sure to peruse is the Study Abroad Guide, an online handbook which gives information on what can be gained from study abroad, selecting a program that fits your needs, planning, making adjustments in a new /different culture, and so on.
  • Volunteer to spend your summer providing public health services to our neighbors in Latin America with Amigos de las Americas. Young people from the US develop leadership skills and an understanding of other cultures while participating in this unique program.
  • Habitat for Humanity has a goal to build simple, decent, affordable, houses in partnership with those in need of adequate shelter. Various opportunities for service exist. There is a local chapter of Habitat for Champaign county (217) 355-6460 and another for U of I (217) 244-5370.
  • Earthwatch Institute offers a wide variety of opportunities for people to become involved in scientific/environmental expeditions. Participants must be at least 16 years old, and most expeditions last one to three weeks. Opportunities exist both in the U.S. and in more than 40 foreign countries.
  • Lasting from one to a few weeks, Outward Bound offers a variety of physically challenging outdoor experiences. Challenge and adventure, character development, experiential learning, compassion and service, and social and environmental responsibility are the organization's core values.

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Military Service X

  • Some people choose the Illinois National Guard (either the Army Guard or the Air Guard) as a way to develop themselves, serve others, and/or pay for furthering their education. This page offers some information on these options. This area is served by the Peoria Air National Guard.
  • If you are considering a commitment to the U.S. military as a possible career move, you may link to the home pages of all of the armed services through DefenseLINK. The Military Career Guide Online is a compendium of military occupational, training, and career information and is designed for use by students desiring to explore the military world of work. Some basic information on each branch of service, including its enlistment, training, advancement, and education programs is also provided here.

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GED, Job Corps X

  • Students who are age 17 or older and have withdrawn from high school are eligible to enroll in the Lincoln's Challenge Program in Rantoul. This is a 5-month residential program, which leads to a GED, followed by a 12-month post-residential phase, which is community, based, and provides money for further education. The local contact person for our area is Ms. Tanya Johnson at 217 892-1328.
  • The Job Corps is the nation's largest residential education and training program. It is primarily for low income youth 16 to 25 years of age. The program offers occupation exploration and vocational education at its 30 civilian conservation centers. Occupational trades offered include construction, auto mechanics and repair, business and clerical, retail trades, health occupations, computer occupations, and culinary arts. The program's goal is to guide young people toward brighter futures filled with self-confidence, independence, and productive employment.

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Jobs for Grads 

  • Author Richard Bolles' What Color is Your Parachute?, the world's best-selling book on job hunting, has a very helpful site to check out. He offers both expertise and links related to finding jobs, creating resumes, career counseling, networking, and job/career researching resources.
  • The Career Center, at Parkland College is dedicated to being a resource to assist community members in career development. Sections on Career Planning and the Job Search are worth a special look. Browse the local and area classified employment ads, get tips on resume preparation, interviewing, and much more!
  • If you're out of school and looking for employment, the United States Department of Labor has a listing of job links to employers at America's Job Bank.
  • careerbuilder.com will connect you to the classified ads of major city newspapers. Search for a job by choosing a city and entering a few key words.

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