Preparing for College
Getting ready to go to college starts long before you make your first campus visit. You must prepare yourself academically now, so you meet the coursework and grade point average requirements to be accepted to the right school for you. Also, don't wait until the end of high school to figure out what you're looking for in a college. Start comparing colleges now so you'll be under less pressure as a senior.
Throughout High School
Plan your courses wisely. Most colleges, including Illinois State, require more courses for admission than you need to graduate from high school. We require four years of English, three years of math, two years of science, two years of social studies, and two years of the same foreign language or two years of fine arts.
Talk with your family about how you'll pay for college. Whether or not your family has been saving since the day you were born to send you to college, there's a way to finance your education. Start planning with information from Illinois State's Financial Aid Office.
Challenge yourself in school. Select a strong, college-bound curriculum. Remember, while grades are important, colleges also consider the difficulty of courses you take.
Keep a list of your achievements for scholarship applications.You probably don't need a formal resume yet, but you should be keeping track of:
- the clubs, sports, and activities in which you participate;
- your volunteer work;
- part-time jobs; and
- any awards and honors you receive.
Decide what you're looking for in a college. Do you want to stay in-state or go far away? Do you prefer a large, public university or a small, private college? What academic programs are you interested in? Which schools have the extra-curricular activities that are important to you?
Prepare for and take college entrance exams. Illinois State will accept your ACT or SAT scores to make an admission decision. If you are enrolled in an Illinois public school, you will take the ACT exam as part of the Prairie State Assessment Examination (PSAE) during April of your junior year.
Visit colleges that interest you. It's nearly impossible to choose a college or university without visiting the campus. You need to get a feel for the place before you can decide if it's the right fit. At Illinois State, we offer many opportunities for you to visit campus with your family. You can attend an Open House, which is a large program that shows all our campus has to offer, or a smaller group tour called a Daily Campus Visit.
Apply for admission. Fall of your senior year is the time to work on your applications and send your high school transcripts and test scores. Students are encouraged to apply to Illinois State during the preferred filing period which is September 1-November 15. If you apply during that time, you will get your admission decision by December 31.