Planning for college can be confusing and overwhelming, whether your child will be the first in your family to attend or not. The Illinois Student Advisory Council(ISAC) has a student portalloaded with tools to help your family through the process. Some new resources and tools have recently been added to the site.

ILCollege2Career debuted at the beginning of the month. This new tool links employment and higher education data so that students can compare the relative earnings value of different college degrees. The data is broken down by schools and area of study so that students can compare the earnings potential of business degrees, for example, from different public and private institutions in the state. The tool will help students and families make college decisions based on the real-time successes of a school’s graduates, as well as other factors such as cost, average debt levels, and the likelihood of graduating on time. The site is available in both English and Spanish.

ILCollege2Career is just one of the resourcesprovided on the ISAC student portal. ISAC’s toolboxalso provides:

  • A checklist to guide your child and your family through the process from freshman year of high school through graduation.
  • MAP Estimator tool to help you find out if your child will be eligible for a MAP grant. Note that MAP grants are not student loans and are not paid back to the state after graduation.
  • A Job Board to find internships and summer jobs.
  • A Financial Aid Comparison Worksheet to easily compare the different financial aid offers from colleges.
  • The PaCE Student Checklistto explore activities and experiences from grades 8 through 12 to help prepare for college and career.

ISAC also has an event calendar filled with financial aid presentations and (after October 1st) FAFSA completion workshops. These events are held across the state, and the calendar lets you enter your ZIP code to find one near you. If there isn’t an event near you or one that fits in your schedule, you can contact an ISACorpsmember near you for free one-on-one assistance for help with selecting and applying to colleges, searching for scholarships, FAFSA completion, and student financial aid. ISAC also has a new printable checklistto guide and encourage your student through all the steps and classes needed to prepare for college.