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The work you do in school and through OSP-CP programming is a great start to the college admissions process, but additional, early preparation is necessary to ensure your success. The following resources will help you make the most of high school, the college admissions process, and career exploration.

High School Facts & Tips

Early preparation is the key to success - not just in the college application process but also in college coursework. You should work to develop good time management, organization, and study skills and habits in high school in preparation for the challenges of college coursework. The OSP-CP program is based on four key concepts that work to develop these skills: study environment, study habits, course of study, and high-quality academic experiences.

Every high school has required courses that students must complete to graduate. You should consult the CPS requirements for high school completion and your school counselor to ensure that you are on track for graduation.

Developing Skills and Preparing for Transition

Developing good study skills will not only help you get better grades but can make it easier to learn a new skill and develop workplace skills after graduation. Becoming a good note-taker, reader, and time-manager will help you for the rest of your career. Use these resources to develop your study skills and prepare for the college admissions process and college courses:

If you don't already know, you should first take this quiz to find out what type of learner you are. Then look over this study skills manual which provides you with tips and different ways to study for different types of learners.

Time Management Resources 

     Mind Tools • Time Management Study Guide • Academic Skills Center from Dartmouth 

Test Preparation Resources

     Resources for the ACTResources for the PSAT • Resources for the SAT • Resources for AP Exams • Sample University Math Placement Test •

     Test-taking Strategies • Khan Academy

Exploring Career Paths

Every Chicago Public School student is provided with free access to Naviance, a website that helps high-school students understand college possibilities, explore high-school-specific college admissions stats, match to best-fit colleges, and identify ideal colleges.

Career One Stop is a one-stop guide for career exploration that lets you explore your interests and then transforms that into a possible career. 

How To Become is an in-depth career exploration and advising tool that gives you detailed steps on how to achieve your dream career, from college major to your first job.

Education Planner offers information for planning your college preparation, future career plans, and paying for school.

Financial Aid

College is a significant expense. On average, a public college costs $17,000 per year, and a private college can cost $35,000 per year. That sounds like a lot, but there are a variety of resources to help you cover the cost, including grants, scholarships, federal work-study, and loans. You will probably need a combination of these resources to pay for college.

To be eligible for federal financial aid like grants, loans, and work-study, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). There are many different types of scholarships and financial aid available which are explained by FAFSA here

To learn more about loans, scroll down to the Parents section and read "Understanding Loans."

College Facts & Tips

Planning for college should begin before you even get to high school. While in high-school, enrolling in a rigorous course schedule, registering for and taking the SAT and/or ACT, and searching for, visiting, and applying to colleges are all important steps on the road to college success.


There are many scholarships that you may be eligible for, so it is important that you begin searching. Many scholarship awards are competitive which is why you want to consider applying early. To help you with your scholarship search, we have compiled a document of scholarships: Scholarships Document

Avoid scholarships that require you to pay money – those are likely to be scams. For more information on scholarship scams, visit the Federal Financial Aid website and the Federal Trade Commission's website.


As a parent, you play a vital role in your child’s academic success. Involved parents can help their child not only get into college, but improve their study and homework skills. The following resources will help you understand the importance of your role as a parent and provide information on the college application process.

Understanding Financial Aid

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the application required for all students who wish to be considered for federal grants and student loans.

Federal student aid can be confusing but here are some resources to help explain the process:

     Resources from the Office of Federal Student Aid • Financial Aid Toolkit

There are different types of financial aid outside of federal aid. Here are some links that explain the different types of aid, including scholarships and grants, and provide more information about accessing the appropriate resources:

     College Board for Parents • Financial Aid 101 • FAFSA and Financial Aid Information • College Funding Resources

Understanding Loans

If you or your student plan to take out a loan to finance your student's education, do your homework. Here are a couple of articles about federal and private loans from the U.S. News and World Report to start you on your research.

     Private Student Loans • Student Loan Consolidations

Helping your Student Prepare for College

The College Board has compiled a comprehensive list of tips and other resources for preparing your student for college, ranging from testing to extracurricular advice.

This New York Times article provides insight on how to help your student in becoming college-ready. It addresses academic and administrative responsibilities among other helpful topics to keep in mind while your child transitions.

Watch this brief 3-minute news segment from ABC 27 WTXL as they speak with family therapist Jane Marks on how to best prepare your teen for college.


The following are resources designed to help you support your students. Please feel free to share your favorite resources with us!

Teaching Resources

Amazon Inspire is an open collaboration service that helps teachers easily discover, gather, and share free and open educational resources with their community.

CommonLit is a free collection of reading passages in all literary and nonfiction genres for grades 3-12. It also comes along with text-dependent questions that you can assign to students to make sure they are understanding the text.

Everfi offers free digital courses that are interactive and standards-based. The focus is on real-world learning, with courses offered in financial literacy, STEM, social-emotional learning, health and wellness, and more.

Literacy Design Collaborative is a national community of educators that provides literacy-rich assignments and courses (organized by collection) broken down into modules and mini-tasks. You can use this content to build a full-course curriculum, strengthen an existing curriculum investment, or embed formative assessments into units.

Web English Teacher offers creative assignments in a variety of English and literature subject areas. 

Student Participation Resources

Kahoot is an online, multiple-choice quiz game maker that allows students to join the game and answer questions through any device that has internet access. This is a fun and interactive website that students enjoy using!

Quizlet is an online flashcard website that allows you to create class sets that can be used for Quizlet Live games. Similar to Kahoot, student teams join from their electronic devices to answer questions in an attempt to be the fastest to finish the set.