College and Career Resources

How to Pursue This Pathway

The college pathway has become the premier pathway to economic opportunity. Employment opportunities that require a college degree make up about 56 percent of good jobs, due to employer demand for upskill. This pathway typically leads to a majority of professional and technical jobs, including those held by doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants, computer programmers, journalists, architects, and managers, among many others. (Source: Center for Education and Workforce Development)

There are approximately 4,000 colleges in the United States. When choosing a college, students should think about what they might want to do after college graduation and research the education requirements to pursue those jobs.

Different categories of schools award different types of degrees. Categories to explore:

Finding the Right Fit

Different schools serve different purposes. Students should choose the type of school that helps them achieve their goals. Start by considering such factors as:

If college is a postsecondary option that interests you, consider taking the next steps:

  1. Research colleges
    Different schools serve different purposes. Students should be sure they are choosing the type of school that will help them achieve their goals. For guidance, they should visit their school counselor or college and career coach at the earliest opportunity.
  2. Narrow the list of possible schools
    Students should aim to apply to three to five colleges that provide a range of qualities they seek. The list should include schools in three categories: a reach school, a safety school, and a match school. If they qualify, students can request application fee waivers.
  3. Take the SAT college entrance exam
    All Illinois juniors must take the SAT. Most colleges and universities use SAT scores to make admissions decisions. The test measures a high school student's readiness for college, and provides colleges with one common data point that can be used to compare all applicants. Visit the College Board for SAT practice tests, testing dates and locations, and additional resources.
  4. Draft and finalize college essay, if required
    Not all colleges require essays or personal statements. If they do, keep in mind that these documents are the student's introduction to a selection committee and may determine whether the student is invited to the next steps of the application process.
  5. Ask for letters of recommendation, if required
    Students should choose recommenders who know them well and can speak to their strengths. This is not a section of the application to be put off until the last minute. Students should give their recommender(s) time to write the best representation of the student.
  6. Complete scholarships and financial aid applications
    If eligible, students should complete the Free Application for Federal Students Aid (FAFSA) or RISE Act Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid. By December of their senior year or sooner, students should also complete the Academic Works General Scholarship Application, the web-based scholarship application system for students at Chicago Public Schools.
  7. Provide supplementary information, as requested by each college.
    Selective schools may require additional essays, personal statements, and portfolios that showcase student work.

Amundsen Transcripts, Recommendations & Fee Waiver 

  • Request transcript using SchooLinks
  • Request teacher recommendations using SchooLinks. If you are requesting a counselor letter of recommendation, complete this request form. If you are requesting a teacher letter of recommendation, send an email request to the teacher, and remember to attach a completed copy of your BRAG SHEET. 
  • Request a fee waiver using the Common Application or SchooLinks. Note that counselors will only send fee waivers to eligible students. To check if you are eligible, reach out to your counselor
SAT Scores
  • Students can send their SAT scores directly to colleges via the College Board
  • Take note of whether the school requires the SAT score or not before you send