Friday, December 14, 2007

Cabrini Connection's College Application Fund

Please consider giving to the Cabrini Connections College Application Fund.

While students from families of modest means know that it costs a lot to attend college, the expense involved in applying often comes as a surprise. And the cost will increase in March when the price of the SAT Reasoning Test (formerly the SAT I) rises from $29.50 to $41.50 because a writing component is being added. Families know that the senior year of high school is not only stressful, but expensive, and unless families have done a great job of saving and planning, it puts them in a real pinch.

The cost of applying to and choosing a college can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the decisions students and families make. There are fees for everything: applications, SAT or ACT exams; mailing extra copies of all those scores to schools; and even taking Advanced Placement tests. Students applying to highly selective colleges often take three to five AP tests in the hope they will score high enough to enhance their academic profile and earn college credits.

Application process can add up

Not counting the cost of campus visits, the tab for a hypothetical student:

Applications to 6 colleges Typical fees: $50 (as high as $75) 6 x $50 = $300
Take SAT Reasoning Test twiceTest fee: $41.50 (after the price risesin March)2 x $41.50 = $83
Take ACT once, with writing optionTest fee: $42 (Many students take both the SAT and ACT)1 x $42 = $42
Send scores to 6 collegesNo extra charge for up to four colleges, $7 for each additional school. 2 x $7 = $14
Take Subject TestsTest fee: $17 to register, $8 a test. (Many highly selective colleges require three SAT Subject Tests — formerly the SAT II)3 x $8 + $17 = $41
Take four Advanced Placement examsTest fee: $82 4 x $82 = $328
Source: USA TODAY research Total = $808

Monday, December 3, 2007

Workforce and Career Information

In my last post I discussed information I learned at our Tutor Mentor Leadership Conference. Although, all of the workshops and handouts were equally informative, I feel the most relevant to our goals was “Gateway to Quality Career & Workforce Information."

As I related in my previous post, here our students, as well as, their parents, our volunteers and their friends can sign on and discover invaluable information about the career types, availability, expectations, knowledge path as well as a dissection of other careers that fall within the same description and learning requirements. I would suggest that all of our mentors sign onto the site to help our kids see the steps the should take find the career path that suits them best.
However, I want to further emphasize the important tools that can be found on their site. The site is broken down into multiple levels but the most important and useful information can be found on the first page. It's broken down into 5 elements; Career Resources (ICRN), Labor Market Information Source (LMI Source), Workforce Info Center (WIC), Kids and Careers and ICOMPASS.

The first portal is the ICOMPASS link. This link is their online training tool that will help you better understand and use the workforce, labor market and career information. Or as they call it, "Your Guide to Illinois Workforce, Career and Labor Market Information. Upon entering the site you are invited to take their online course designed to help you use the the IDES trio of economy-related sites. You will be asked to register, once registered you will be given a list of training resources based on the available data bases related to the information you're training on. There are two types of registration; On Demand- for those who only need portions of the training for their personal knowldged and Competency Certificate- for those interested in completing the whole training. These includes tests and a certificate denoting successful completion of training. I recommend that if you and your student sign up you take the latter level training so that they have a certificate as reward for their efforts.

Once you've completed the training or if you opt to forego the training it's time to get into the nitty gritty of the site. At this time it would probably be helpful for the students to click into the Kids and Careers section of the site. Here you will find a PDF "IDES_kids_and_careers" which discuss various aspects of linking a kid to a career. They list "Best Bet" occupations and salaries as they relate to career choices, Career Planning steps, The educational requirement of various jobs and important targets and goals for students as they begin thinking of their career choices.

The next component of the site, Career Resources; offers a variety of career exploration products for elementary, middle and high school students as well as adults. Upon clicking you are given access to information on occupations education and financial aid, job search hints and a resume writer with links to employers nationwide, self-assessment tools and storage to keep the information gained here. It includes Career Click to see job titles along with educational requirements, skills needed for the job and predictions on whether these jobs will be available in the future. There are other training resources in the training publication section and CIS junior which is a must for any of our students planning for a possible career. Here they can match their intersest to occupations, find out about wages and what they'd do on a particular job and learn what to study to prepare for their future.

The other two components, LMI which is a database containing complete labor market reports, data and publications which can be viewed online or downloaded and WIC a portal that includes current and historical workforce and occupational information for job seekers, local workforce planning boards and economic development professionals. I strongly incourage our volunteers to link into the site and become familiar with its' offerings so we can be better armed to assist our students when they start asking about and looking for work. It's even a good way to answer the ever popular question, "why do I have to learn math when I really want to be a Fireman?"