planning for college
a parent’s guide
reasons to get a college degree
• A college degree prepares your student for the jobs that offer higher salaries and better benefits. • People with college degrees earn more money than people with only high school diplomas. • College degrees allow people to earn more money to take care of their families and eventually retire from the workforce financially stable. • Colleges and universities will support your child’s success with tutoring and careercounseling services and support, mentors and assigned advisors. (Remember, no one goes to college knowing everything. If they did, why would they go?) • A college degree provides your child a range of skills and experiences that offer career flexibility in a changing and challenging job market. • Your child will increase their understanding of the world and their community, and learn how the global workforce and economy affect our national and local job markets.
you’re a smart parent and know it’s time to get some education...
about education for your child.
north Carolina state university offers you this brochure as a tool to help you become familiar with higher education opportunities for your high school student. While the information included here applies to all students, it is designed to aid students who are first in their family to attend college.
A new world, with new opportunities.
Your child will graduate from high school and enter a world different than the one that awaited you at their age. Jobs that pay well require more education, higher degrees or specialized certificates. Just as your children are your greatest investment, so is a college education. Because you’ve witnessed the changes in the job market, along with the ups and downs of the economy, there’s no better person than you to help your child understand the importance of investing in their future with a higher education degree — a sure-fire investment that will pay back for a lifetime. The reasons for earning a higher degree are compelling. You can explain to your son or daughter that a higher degree will:
prepare them for a competitive and challenging job market. The more education they have, the more qualified they’ll be at turning those challenges into opportunities. arm them with information and skills that they will use for the rest of their life, no matter what career they choose.
A person who goes to college usually earns more than a person who doesn’t. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, on average, someone with a bachelor’s degree earns $45,400—that’s 43 percent more than the $25,900 earned annually by someone with only a high school diploma.
YearlY average SalarieS
Without a high school diploma With a high school diploma With a bachelor’s degree With an advanced degree
workers earn $20,321 workers earn $25,900 workers earn $45,400 workers earn $52,390
Higher education opportunities for all high school graduates.
Every student who graduates from high school has opportunities for higher education. North Carolina offers many higher education opportunities, with 58 community colleges, 16 public universities, and 36 private colleges. Following, you can find a description of each.
North Carolina has 58 community colleges that are easily accessible in most local communities across the state. Students find a variety of classes and flexible career or education goals. hours to meet their needs and to help them reach their Two-year community college programs prepare
The UNC-System has 16 public universities located throughout North Carolina. These universities offer high school students the opportunity to earn a four-year “undergraduate” degree. Once students have completed their
students for job opportunities of a technical nature.
undergraduate degree, they may choose to attend years and earn a Master’s degree.
Community college students move directly into a career The only admissions requirement is a high school Diploma. Admissions are referred to as an “open admissions policy.” Students may have to take a
the university’s graduate school for an additional two Each university specializes in its programs or majors.
or transfer to a four-year university for further education. diploma or GED (General Education Development)
It’s important to explore each of the universities to find out what programs are offered and if they are suitable for your high school student’s needs and goals. Admissions requirements for college entrance
placement test for some courses. Community colleges do not have specific course requirements to enter into specific programs. Any person 18 years or older that has a high school diploma or GED can be admitted.
will vary depending upon the competitiveness of the school. Four-year colleges and universities admitting students. have various requirements that are considered for Find more information online. Visit: www.northcarolina.edu
Tuition and fees are often less than those of a public aid available.
university and there are various amounts of financial Find more information online. Visit: www.ncccs.cc.nc.us
Private Colleges and Universities
There are 36 private (independent) universities in North Carolina. Some of these colleges and universities have a religious affiliation.
Typically, private colleges and universities cost
more than public universities, but don’t let the word private keep you from checking them out. Private financial aid available. colleges and universities have various amounts of Admissions requirements for private colleges and universities in North Carolina will vary depending upon the type of college you choose and the competitiveness of the school.
Contact each admissions office individually or
through The College Foundation of North Carolina course requirements.
(www.cfnc.org) to obtain information about minimum
Find more information online. Visit: www.ncicu.org
Standardized tests required for college / university admission.
Most universities use the SAT and/or the ACT standardized tests as one of the requirements for admissions. It is recommended that students begin taking the tests during their junior year, and again early in their senior year of high school. Standardized tests are only one of the factors that admissions offices use to make decisions, therefore parents and students should not think that the standardized test is the only factor that matters in the admissions process.
SAT Reasoning Subject Tests
• • • They measure knowledge in specific areas such as literature, science and language. universities. The use of the SAT Subject test will vary among Some universities may use the exam for
admissions purposes, while others will use the will not use the exam at all.
test for placement purposes; some universities • Since the Subject Tests measure knowledge in
types of standardized tests
PSAT / NMSQT / Preliminary Scholastic Test / National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test
The PSAT/NMSQT measures verbal reasoning, critical reading, writing and mathematical skills. This test lets high school students become familiar with the types of questions found on the SAT. The results of this test to improve.
a specific area, it is recommended that students take the exam immediately following completion their memory. of a course, so that the information will be fresh in
For foreign language subject tests, it is recommended to take the subject tests after completing at least two years of study.
ACT / American College Assessment Test
• • • • • • The ACT measures skills in English, reading and science. Reading has an optional writing portion. It is curriculum based, meaning questions directly correspond to high school courses. The tests are offered six times per year. For entrance into a university in North Carolina, To prepare, long-term study of high school curriculum is recommended. be taken. There is no limit on amount of times the test can students must take the ACT with the writing option.
give students feedback on areas where they may need
When the test is taken in the sophomore and junior Merit Scholarship Competitions, which provide
years, it allows your student to qualify for the National financial assistance for recipients. The best way to
prepare for the exam is to take challenging courses, strong reading practice.
utilizing problem-solving activities, and developing a
SAT Reasoning / Scholastic Acheivement Test
• • • • • • Measures critical reading and mathematical skills that are considered vital to success in college. The test is offered seven times per year, and has three sections: critical reading, writing and math. The best way to prepare for the test is to utilize study guides and practice tests. Check with your student’s high school to see if SAT preparation courses are available. may take the exam. There is no limit on the number of times students Colleges recommend that students take the test
For additional information about standardized tests, visit the following websites: Prep tests and other information www.cfnc.org SAT information www.collegeboard.com ACT information www.act.org
at least twice and use the highest scores from the
critical reading, mathematics and writing sections. 7
North Carolina high school requirements for undergraduate admission to a UNC institution.
There are various standards that colleges and universities consider for admissions. Among them are high school course selection, extracurricular activities, grade point average, essays, letters of recommendation and the results of the SAT and/or ACT standardized tests.
The UNC-System requires certain courses to enter different admissions standards in respect to grade into public universities. However, each university has point average, curriculum, extracurricular activities
diploma. You and your student will need to speak with high school counselors to decide which plan is best suited for your student and their career aspirations. Following, you’ll find a description of each track. • to enter the work force immediately after graduation from high school. • Career Prep enables high school students
and the SAT. It’s a good idea for you and your child to type of institution.
familiarize yourself with course requirements for each
College Tech Prep is for high school students who will pursue a technical or vocational occupation.
• • Four units in English emphasizing grammar, composition and literature Two units of a language other than English • •
College/University Prep prepares the high university, and a professional career.
school student for entrance into a college or Occupational is for students with physical or mental impairments and who have an individualized education plan.
• • • Algebra I and II, geometry, and one unit beyond algebra II Algebra I and II, and two units beyond algebra II Or Integrated math I, II, and III, and one unit beyond integrated math III
paying for education
You and your student have several ways to pay for a available through the school, state and federal government and private institutions. higher education degree. You’ll find financial assistance
The fourth unit of math affects applicants to all
institutions except the North Carolina School of the Arts. It is recommended that prospective students take a mathematics course unit in the twelfth grade.
• • One unit in social studies One unit in US history
If you wish to be considered for all forms of federal
and institutional need-based financial aid, you must
complete and submit the federal government’s Free
• • • One unit in life or biological science (for example, biology) One unit in physical science (for example, physical science, chemistry, physics) One unit in laboratory course
Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form is available at each high school guidance office or any university financial aid office.
Forms of Financial Assistance
Scholarships: Money given to students based on academic achievement, special talents, financial need, or a characteristic the student possesses. Students generally do not have to repay the money.
US history may be admitted on the condition that at least three semester hours in that subject will be passed by the end of the sophomore year in college.
An applicant who does not have the unit in
Grants: Money given to students based upon financial need. Students do not need to repay the grant. Student Loans: Money regulated by the federal
government and private institutions that are used to the money once they have graduated from college. Part-time Employment: Many students have the
the right track
North Carolina high schools offer students four different “tracks” to select from while in high school. Each of these tracks prepares the student for their career/
finance the student’s education. Students have to repay
option of working part-time to help cover the cost of their education. Most universities have work-study departments on the college campus. assistance where students are able to work in various
education path once they have earned their high school
High school students can earn college credit.
Many high schools offer advanced courses that help prepare students for their college education. College credit can also be obtained from certain advanced high school courses.
Advanced Placement courses / AP
AP courses give students the opportunity to study high school. • courses similar to university courses while they are in The difference between AP and college prep
International Baccalaureate / IB program
IB programs are pre-university programs which prepare for college. • offer high school students advanced courses to help Students may choose from a variety of IB courses. These courses help high school students sharpen the skills they’ll need to be successful in college. will gain more knowledge of certain subjects, view of the world. • Through these courses, your high school student exposing them to a greater global and cultural The IB program is offered in the junior and senior take courses in which they are interested. • • develop a plan.
courses is that AP courses are more comparable more extensively in AP courses than those of college prep courses.
to college coursework. Students explore subjects
Students who take AP courses have greater
opportunity to perform better on standardized college workload.
exams, and they are better prepared to handle • Students have the option of taking the AP
years of high school and students are permitted to Students work closely with their IB advisor to Students are able to take IB exams and earn credit to enter into college.
exam at the end of a course. The exam is a the course.
comprehensive test of the student’s knowledge of • By earning a certain score on the AP exam, students are able to enter a university with college credit. •
Go online to find out which schools in North
The individual universities determine what credit will be allowed for AP exams.
Carolina offer the IB program. Visit: www.ibo.org
• • Many high schools have dual enrollment programs where students are able to take college courses. community colleges, however some have dual enrollment with universities. • Contact your student’s high school to find out more information about dual enrollment. Most high schools offer dual enrollment through
Information about AP courses and exams is
available online. Visit: www.collegeboard.com
help them reach higher
High school students live exciting lives. They see the future as no further away than next Saturday night. But as their parent, you know the future is right around the corner. Many think high school is the end. But with your encouragement and guidance, your child will be prepared to take the step of the next generation.
The help you give your high school student today will change your family for generations. Help your child reach higher—for that higher education degree. lately, you are one smart parent. And by the way, if you haven’t heard it from them
Use this checklist to help your child prepare for educational opportunities after high school.
In 7th or 8th grade
• Monitor your child’s progress in reading, writing and math. Identify and discuss any learning problems with your child’s teacher. • • • • • Suggest a tutor or other special help if your child is struggling with a certain subject. Help your child to learn how to manage time and to use library and Internet resources. Talk with your child about his or her academic plan and learn about different types of postsecondary schools. •
Help your child set realistic goals. Recognize your child’s efforts as well as successes. Talk with your child’s school counselor about
having him take an interest and skills assessment to help him or her begin thinking about a career. Talk with a school counselor and your child about classes that lay the groundwork for higher education.
Talk with your child’s school counselor about
having him take an interest and skills assessment to help him or her begin thinking about a career. Suggest extracurricular activities to help commitment skills.
Encourage your child to take challenging courses. Encourage your child to be an active learner by questions and learning from mistakes. taking notes, participating in discussions, asking Establish a quiet space for studying and a regular daily schedule for homework. Buy a dictionary and thesaurus. Help your child develop problem-solving
your child develop teamwork, leadership and Continue saving and encourage your child to put aside some of his or her earnings. programs for your child. Consider summer enrichment classes and
skills by asking for his or her input, assigning certain decisions.
In 11th or 12th grade
• Talk with your child’s school counselor about having him take an interest and skills assessment to help him or her begin thinking about a career. • Placement, International Baccalaureate, PostHelp your child explore programs like Advanced Secondary Enrollment Options and College in
responsibilities and allowing him or her to make • • Consider summer enrichment classes and programs for your child. Continue saving and encourage your child to put aside some of his or her earnings.
the Schools as well as career-focused programs to-work. • •
such as tech-prep, school-to-career, and school-
In 9th or 10th grade
• Make sure your child is enrolled in challenging core subjects that are appropriate for your child’s abilities. • Encourage your child to evaluate his or her education and career options. •
Make sure your child takes the PSAT no later than the fall of eleventh grade. Check if your child has registered for the college entrance exam (ACT or SAT) required by the schools your child would like to attend.
abilities. Help make the connection between Talk with your child’s school counselor about assessment tests to help your child identify personality traits, interests and skills.
Talk with your child about his or her academic
plan to make sure your child takes the courses required for graduation and by post-secondary schools. Talk about different types of colleges.
• • • •
Consider summer enrichment classes and programs for your child. Attend job fairs with your child. Explore career, apprenticeship or internship options. Attend college and financial aid fairs. Help your child narrow his or her choice of schools. Arrange for campus visits to those schools and help your child evaluate them. Find a mentor or enrichment program to build on your child’s interests and aptitudes. or volunteer in the community. Encourage your child to mentor other students Make sure your child asks for letters of
• • •
recommendation (if required) from teachers, his or her ability to succeed in college.
counselors and others who can comment on • Make sure admissions applications are sent on time to four to six schools. If you cannot has the option to waive it. • afford the application fee, check if the school Make sure your child’s high school transcript has been sent to the schools to which your child applied. •
Search and apply for private scholarships to help pay for college, but be wary of possible scams.
Request financial aid forms from the schools
to which your child plans to apply. Fill out the
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) senior year. Note: you do not have to file your taxes before submitting the FAFSA. • Review your Student Aid Report (SAR) for form as soon as possible. •
as early as possible after January 1 of your child’s
accuracy. If you make corrections, return the Help your child choose a college. Make sure she doesn’t plan to attend.
your child notifies in writing the schools he or
NC State University Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Box 7103 Raleigh, NC 27695 -7103
NC State University is dedicated to equality of opportunity. The University does not condone discrimination against students, employees, or applicants in any form. NC State commits itself to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability. In addition, NC State welcomes all persons without regard to sexual orientation. 2,500 copies of this public document were printed at a cost of $1.25 per copy.