College and Career Resources
Century High School recognizes each student possesses unique interests, abilities, and goals leading to diverse postsecondary and career opportunities. Through collaboration, CHS supports all students in pursuit of the knowledge and skills required to reach their necessary to achieve their full potential, to contribute to future generations, and to become involved members of a global community.
- Post High School Options
- Choosing a College
- College Planning Timeline
- Financial Aid
- Scholarship Information
- Military Options
There are a number of different options available to students after high school.
Your options for 4-year colleges are many, including private and public schools. These types of schools offer bachelor’s degrees, which are usually completed in four years of full-time study. Some 4-year colleges also have graduate schools that offer master’s and doctoral degrees.
These 2-year options can also be private or public schools. The most common types of 2-year colleges are community colleges. Typically a 2-year college is less expensive than a 4-year college. Two-year diplomas, certificates and degrees are offered through these schools. Many students will begin at a 2-year college and then transfer to a 4-year university to pursue an advanced degree.
Most technical colleges offer certificates, diplomas and associate degrees in many fields. Your typical length at a technical college will depend on your program choice and if you choose to be a full-time student. Most students attend technical colleges for two years. The programs and degrees offered at a technical college are very specific and great options for those students who want to enter the workforce quickly.
The military offers many educational opportunities for students in return for their service to their country. Once you have decided the military is something you may want to pursue, you must meet all the requirements at the Military Entrance Processing Station. Our counselors and the College and Career Center (CCC) can connect you with the recruitment officers, who can ensure you meet all the necessary requirements before high school graduation.
Students may choose to go directly into the workforce after high school graduation. If you know you would like to pursue a career that requires no further education, or have been offered a job within a company that will provide you the training you need, this may be an option for you. A meeting with your counselor will help you in planning, if this is the route you wish to take.
When choosing to do a gap year, students should consider what they would be doing to advance or enrich themselves both personally and professionally. Students can choose from an array of opportunities, including things like – learning a trade, volunteer work, travel, internships and sports. Gap year opportunities should assist in improving students’ knowledge, maturity, decision-making, leadership, independence and self-sufficiency.
Far too many students start the search process backwards… they ask what the school wants from them. Before looking at any schools, it is important to start out with some introspection. Make a list of the things that you are looking for in a school. As you consider many factors, you will find that some are essential to you, some fit in the “it would be nice” category and some things just won’t matter to you.
Here are a few to consider:
- Location: Do I want to live at home? If not, how far away from home do I want to go?
- Size: Do I find a large school exciting – or frightening? Do I find a small school comfortable – or confining? Larger schools can usually provide a wider range of experiences. Smaller school can usually provide more personal support.
- Programs: Am I looking for a wide-ranging liberal arts experience, or am I more focused on a specific course of professional study? Does the school offer special programs that interest me… honors, special seminars, internships, study abroad? Can this school provide the academic experiences I’m looking for?
- Atmosphere: It is not just about academic studies… a great deal of the college experience is what happens outside the classroom. Some campuses are very social. Some emphasize religion and morality. Some campuses are more politically active than others and may be liberal or conservative. Some emphasize sports and other extracurricular involvement.
- Competitiveness: Students often ask “Can I get into [College X]?” This is the wrong question. The correct question is “Would I be successful in [College X]?” People respond differently to challenge. Do I want to start off as one of the smartest students in my class? Do I rise to a challenge and seek to be surrounded by students who find learning easier than I do? Do I do my best work when I start off near the middle of my class?
- Public or Private: Public schools tend to be larger and less expensive. Private schools tend to be smaller, with smaller class sizes and more personal support. The expense difference can become a complicated calculation, depending on individual family circumstances.
- Admissions: Though not the most important factor, at some point a student needs to be realistic about admission standards. Don’t give up on a school automatically because you don’t think you will be admitted… if the school meets all your other criteria but you think you won’t be admitted, discuss it with your counselor.
- College Entrance Tests
- Test Preparation
- MN Educational Websites
- Preparing for College
- College Rankings
To register, go to the ACT website and create a student user account. Students are encouraged to take time to explore the many test prep resources including ACT Academy etc.
Juniors should begin seriously examining their post-secondary options and planning accordingly. Juniors should take college entrance exams, make college visits and begin searching for scholarships.
- Begin to use MCIS to help with college planning.
- Attend a college fair in the fall to help explore college options.
- Take the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test in October.
- In the spring, take the ACT or SAT.
- Submit the NCAA Eligibility Center form if you plan to participate in a Division I or Division II sport in college.
- Go and visit colleges in which you may be interested.
Senior year is when everything comes together, and you get to see the results of your hard work and planning.
- Request letters of recommendation and transcripts.
- Complete college applications.
- Check out scholarship opportunities.
- The FAFSA opens October 1.
- Make your final decision!
The majority of financial aid is based on demonstrated financial need. Financial aid is awarded by each college to which you apply, and may include a combination of the following:
- Scholarships and Grants: Money that does not have to be repaid. (Note: not allscholarships/grants are created equal. Some are given as a “one-time”gift, while others are renewable if students meet certain criteria.)
- Loans: Money that can be borrowed by students and/or parents. (Note: not all loans are created equal. Some loans are subsidized by federal or state programs, which can reduce the interest rate and/or defer payments for a length of time. Compare the total costs of each loan.)
- Work-Study: Schools may offer work on campus as a type of financial aid.(Note: not allwork-study is created equal. A job in the food service may pay the same as assisting in a laboratory, but students should consider that work on campus could provide career-related experiences.
- Other: Students have other opportunities to supplement their educational finances.Participation in the military, ROTC, AmeriCorps, and other programs can provide funds or forgiveness of educational loans.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
All colleges and universities require that you file the FAFSA in order to considered for financial aid. Select the FAFSA for the year that your child will be attending college (next year’s application, not the current year). You can begin filling out your FAFSA after October 1. Each college and university has a different deadline. The FAFSA can be found by visiting www.fafsa.ed.gov.
The College and Career Center has several resources about types of financial aid available to students and families. Students and families are encouraged to stop by and take handouts and brochures that will assist in their financial planning process.
The US Department of Education offers families an online tool to estimate their expected family contribution (EFC) before filing an official FAFSA. The FAFSA4caster takes about 30 minutes and can be completed at any time. You can find this resource at www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov.
The Office of the U.S. Department of Education has a comprehensive website on steps, tips, and links for completing the FAFSA at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa.
Some selective colleges will require that you complete a form known as the CSS Profile. Check with the colleges to which you are applying to see if they require this form. For more information visit http://student.collegeboard.org/css-financial-aid-profile.
A degree awarded by community colleges and technical colleges upon completion of a course of study usually lasting two years. (Associate of Arts; Associate of Science).
A four-year college degree granted by a University either private or public. (Bachelor of Arts; Bachelor of Science).
Some schools allow you to use the Common Application to apply to several schools using the same basic form. Please be careful and note that there are several different components to the Common Application and it is beneficial for you to sit down with your counselor to make sure you are on top of things. You will also need to link your Common Application to your Naviance account, which you can do after you have completed the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) waiver within the Common Application. For more information on the Common Application, please visit www.commonapp.org.
The complete record for all courses and grades earned during high school. Your high school transcript contains your cumulative record.
An admission plan used primarily by highly selective colleges. Under early action, you follow an accelerated application process and usually apply by November 1. You will be notified of a decision by mid-December, but, if you are accepted, you do not have to let the institution know of your decision until May 1.
An admission plan offered to well-qualified applicants who are definitely committed to their choice of college. Applicants will be notified of the acceptance or refusal in December. Acceptance under early decision requires you to withdraw applications at other colleges.
The Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) is used by aid providers to determine the amount of the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is the amount that they expect the student’s family could contribute toward the student’s college education. EFC varies from student to student since it is based on the specific financial situation of the student and often of the student’s parents as well.
LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGE
A college in which the emphasis is on a program of philosophy, literature, history, languages and basic science.
An admission policy that accepts students without regard to the criteria of grade point average and test scores.
PRIVATE COLLEGE or UNIVERSITY
A school that is not supported by state taxes but may still be government regulated.
Minnesota has agreements with neighboring states to provide lower tuition for Minnesota residents to attend public colleges and universities in those states. Typically, non-resident admission fees and tuition are reduced (or eliminated) if you’re a reciprocity student. Minnesota has reciprocity agreements with Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota. It also has an agreement with the Canadian province of Manitoba, and a limited agreement with Iowa Lakes Community College in northwestern Iowa.
The application process that requires application materials to be submitted no later than the specified deadline date printed in the college catalog or on the application form. Students typically receive responses in March.
The admission plan in which a completed application is acted on as soon as it is received. Students are admitted on a continuing basis.
SECONDARY SCHOOL REPORTS
Often called a Counselor Recommendation, many private colleges and universities require these to be submitted from your high school counselor.
STUDENT AID REPORT
The Student Aid Report (SAR) is a document that gives you some basic information about your eligibility for federal student aid and lists your answers to the questions on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The different programs and opportunities that are available to you in the United States Armed Forces can assist you by providing the following:
- Secure part-time or full-time employment with numerous opportunities for advancement
- Professional training and experience in multiple professional career fields
- Benefits including health care, free housing, and annual leave
- Opportunities to travel and explore the world
- Self-discipline and leadership training
Learn more about the branches and opportunities on the U.S. Department of Defense's website.