First, here’s to you! Whether your a parent, teacher, sibling, uncle, neighbor, friend, you’ve done a lot to support your student up until this point. And whether you believe it or not, they will still want your help and support navigating the college admissions process. I’m here with some specific resources for you, so you feel confident in supporting your student.
From my experience, here are some of the most common topics, points of confusion, and things to remember in the application process.
- Dates and Deadlines: This is the #1 reason students do not complete their application on time. Here are our dates and deadlines for this year. For some unknown reason to me, a large number of seniors wait until November 1 or January 5 at 11:59 p.m. to submit their application. This results in unnecessary anxiety (for them, for you, and for ME!)! Encourage your student to submit their application with plenty of time to ensure they’ve completed all necessary pieces and parts. For more information about Early Action, check out Logan’s blog. Now to complete an application…
- Application: We need two things to complete an application:
- An online application via myIllini or Coalition: As part of this application, students will write their admissions essay. As a supporter, I highly recommend asking your student if you can proofread their essay, ensure it answers the prompt, and highlights their interest in the major they chose. You guessed it, we have a blog post dedicated to essay tips and tricks. Students will also self-report their grades, ACT/SAT test scores, and activities directly on the myIllini or Coalition application. Things we do not take: high school transcripts and letters of recommendation.
- Application fee or fee waiver: When an application is submitted, there is a nonrefundable fee accepted via credit card payment. Domestic students who qualifies for a fee waiver, must request their guidance counselor to submit our fee waiver form. We must receive a fee or fee waiver form by our deadlines (November 1 or January 5) for an application to be considered complete.
- Scholarships and Financial Aid: In addition to applying for scholarships within your community, Illinois offers two types of aid. To be considered for all merit-based scholarships at Illinois, students just need to complete a full application for admission. Here is a list of the merit-based scholarships students are reviewed for when they apply. Merit-based scholarships are based on a students academic profile. We also offer a variety of need-based aid. In order to be reviewed for need-based aid, students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is available to everyone regardless of financial need. Using the FAFSA results, our Office of Student Financial Aid will prepare an award letter for admitted students detailing the total amount. So there are two things to submit to be reviewed for all scholarships and aid at Illinois:
- A complete application for admission (see above)
- The Free Application for Federal Student Aid
- Graduate Outcome Data: Why should you apply to a school? Why should you attend? What are you looking for in a school? There are so many things to consider when looking at different colleges and universities. And I hope you had graduate outcome data to your list of factors! To learn more about what Illinois graduates are doing, check out Illini Success. You can look information up by specific programs and colleges…it’s awesome.
- Campus Visits: Visiting a campus is a fantastic way to see if the school would be a good fit for your student. We offer visits most weeks Monday-Friday and select Saturdays. You can see a full list here. During a visit, I recommend visiting with a department, sitting in on a class, and speaking with an admissions counselor (like me).
And to wrap it all up, campus has created a website with popular resources for families (both prospective and current students). And, I totally get the frustration trying to find a particular website, so here’s a long list of hyperlinks so you just have to book mark this blog post 🙂
Admitted Student Profile