How to Help
Your student can certainly benefit from your experience and advice as they are finding the right college. We advise parents to respect their students’ independence, but also make their expectations and concerns known to the student early in the college selection process.
- Encourage strong study habits. Organization, time management, and study skills are necessary to succeed in college.
- Make sure your student takes challenging courses. Your student should select a strong, college-bound curriculum because colleges consider the difficulty of courses an applicant takes. Illinois State requires four years of English, four years of math, two years of science, two years of social studies, and two years of the same foreign language or fine art.
- Be aware of college entrance exams. Most colleges consider the ACT (school code: 1042) or SAT (school code: 1319) scores when making admission decisions. Your student may want to brush up on subjects such as English, math, and science before the exam.
- Search for scholarships. Your student may start by visiting our Scholarship Resource Office website which lists many private and departmental scholarships available to Illinois State students. Encourage your student to search for local scholarships as well.
- Provide assistance on applications, when necessary. During the fall of your student’s senior year, they will start submitting college admission applications which is often pretty stressful. They will need supporting materials such as test scores, high school transcripts, personal statements or essays, and often application fees. For best consideration at Illinois State, we strongly encourage new beginning freshman to apply for admission during our preferred filing period from September 1 through November 15.
Finding a major or career path
- Talk about careers. Ask your student about their favorite subjects in school and possible career interests. Discuss what someone might study in college to get a job in those fields.
- Encourage your student to research careers and academic interests. For example, Illinois State’s FirstView gives students an idea about the kinds of majors and careers their academic interests could become.
- Support your student’s involvement in their school and community. Besides improving your community and helping other people, volunteering will also allow your student to learn new skills and explore different career paths. Extracurricular activities often help students qualify for scholarships.
Choosing a school
- Visit colleges that interest your student. It's nearly impossible to choose a college or university without visiting the campus. 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 Campus Information Session. Some special Transfer Student Information Sessions are also held throughout the year.
- Discuss your student’s college choice. Typically, students must commit to a college by May 1 of senior year. That's the deadline for your student’s enrollment deposit at Illinois State.