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Preparing Students for Higher Education

Attending a university or trade school is an exciting time – it means you are that much closer to transforming you plans into action. Our career counselors strive to help students and their families understand their options and related requirements. Included here is information on general requirements, admissions testing, financial aid and tips for navigating the admissions process. Contact your school counselor for more information on mapping out a course for continuing education.

Understanding Available Options

Every school has different admissions requirements, but the College, Career Technical and Apprenticeship Overview provides a general outline of what to expect. This is a great tool for students who are beginning to research their higher education options. 

Understanding Available Options



Admissions Testing

Most four-year schools require students to take the SAT, the ACT or both. Two-year schools may also use these scores to determine student placement. Preparing for these tests early is key to attaining a solid score. School counselors can help you develop a winning strategy for preparing for and taking these tests.

College Applications Process
students doing experiment

Ready to apply? Some students know early on where they want to attend college, while others may not be so sure. There are many strategies to identify the right fit for you and your plans, and to increase your chances of acceptance. We outline a few here; talk to your school counselor about additional resources that are available to you.
  • The 4 or More Initiative: The College Board 4 or More initiative aims to encourage students to apply to four or more colleges to improve student preparation for and success in college. The site includes information on building a diverse college list and finding financial aid, as well as a helpful timeline for the application process.
  • The Common App: Students can use one application to apply to any of the 600 colleges that accept the Common App. The site also offers information on how to prepare for college starting in middle school and provides access to a virtual counselor.
  • Tips for Writing a College Essay: Learn from these ten tips for writing a college essay from the National Association for College Admission Counseling. The site also includes helpful information on other topics for college-bound students in grades 9-12.
  • College App Essay Sample Prompts: Not sure where to begin with writing your essay? Check out our list of essay prompts to help you get started. 
  • Letters of Recommendation: Letters of recommendation are an essential part of the college applications process. Use our Senior Brag Sheet template as a resource for requesting letters of recommendation from teachers, administrators, counselors, coaches or other professionals. Keep due dates in mind – you should allow at least two weeks for completion.

College Applications Process


Financial Aid

From scholarships to grants to loans, there are many options available to help pay for higher education. To improve your chances of qualifying, make sure that you meet all deadlines. Your school counselor can provide more information on financial aid options and requirements.

Transcript Requests

Requesting transcripts for college applications is easy, but keep in mind that you should allow two weeks for transcript requests to be processed. If you have any questions please contact your school’s Counseling Office.

Steps for Requesting Transcripts for College Applications:
    • Login to Family Connection
    • Go to the “Colleges” tab.
    • Click on “Colleges I’m applying to” underneath “My Colleges” heading. Then click on “add colleges to this list.”
    • Select the school from the “lookup” list.
    • Select the type – Regular Decision, Early Action, Early Decision, Rolling. You must select the CORRECT type. If you are unsure, please read your application documents and/or ask your counselor.
    • If you are requesting a transcript, make sure you check the “request” box under the “Transcript” heading
    • Click “Add Colleges.”
Your Counselor will then send your transcripts electronically or via mail (depending on the school’s preference). Please allow two weeks for transcript requests to be processed.

Community Partners

CPS works with several community partners to help students through the process of getting accepted into colleges and universities, including:
  • The Cincinnati Youth Collaborative (CYC): Getting into college — and then paying for it — can be challenging for students and parents. Organizations such as the CYC can provide information and tips for making a college education a reality.
  • The CYC mentoring program: This program matches students with caring adults to improve chances of graduating from high school and progressing on to higher education.
  • GRAD Cincinnati: We want every CPS student to understand early that attending college is important and possible. Through programs such as GRAD Cincinnati, students are guided toward the goal of obtaining higher education.

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