Making It Happen

Click below for helpful advice and links to resources that will help you make progress on your postsecondary journey. These aren’t things you have to work through in any specific order, but taking simple steps like completing your FAFSA are critical on your journey to success!

Build Your Support Team

In addition to the support within your high school, there are ISACorps members in your region who can provide free one-on-one assistance to help you with the entire college planning and financial aid process—from choosing a school to applications to learning about financial aid options to completing financial aid applications, college tips, and more:

Contact your local ISACorps member:

Sign up for ISAC College Q&A free text messaging to keep on top of deadlines and get your college planning and financial aid questions answered via text message from ISAC experts:

Apply to College

Once you’ve chosen the schools you want to apply to, here’s where to find application information.

General application information for community colleges and 4-year institutions:
  • Application information, including applicable fees, links to application fee waivers (if applicable), the general application process, and contact information to reach college’s Admissions staff can be found under the Admissions page on each college’s website.
  • Illinois residents are eligible for a reduced in-district tuition at their district community college because local property taxes help support the college. Enter your zip code to find your “in-district” community college here

Did you know that the Common Application allows you to apply to multiple college/universities with one application? In Illinois alone, you can fill out just one application to apply to all the Illinois public universities and dozens of private Illinois institutions as well, which can save you tons of time! Waivers are available for low-income Common App applicants.

Complete Your FAFSA

The FAFSA is the application for most federal, state, and some institutional financial aid. Most students will complete this form

The Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid allows some undocumented students who may not be eligible for federal financial aid to apply for Illinois state financial aid.

Need help completing your application? Contact your ISACorps member or attend a free Financial Aid Application Completion Workshop

Learn More About Financial Aid

Again, you are probably going to be doing this as you complete the FAFSA, but it’s really important to take the time to understand financial aid options so you can make more informed decisions once you start receiving financial aid award letters. Remember, You need to complete the FAFSA or the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid to determine your eligibility for aid!

Learn about the types of financial aid, and different state grants, scholarships, and other financial aid programs:

If you think you might need a student loan, always consider a federal loan first, as terms and interest rates are preferable to private loans. And remember, don’t take more in a loan than you need! Learn about Federal Student Loans:

Find scholarships through the Cappex database and use other free tools to help you with financial aid: