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College Resources

There are many resources available to help with college research, planning, and decision-making.  Below we have highlighted some of the information that our PNHS students have found most helpful.  Please also refer to the College & Career Planning Checklist, as well as the other topic-specific College & Career Center pages.  


College research and exploration



Naviance is the career and college research and planning tool used by the PNHS College & Career Center.  Students can use SuperMatch and Scattergrams in Naviance to research a mix of reach, target, and safety/likely schools based on GPA, test scores, major, location, and size. 

Students can also research colleges directly on each college's website.  Some conferences even produce helpful guides that highlight key criteria by college, such as the Big 10 Academic Alliance and the SEC College Tour.  These resources provide lots of information in one place and serve as a quick way to compare colleges of interest.

Junior year, students should develop a list of 10 - 15 colleges that are of interest to you.  Students usually narrow that list down to 5 - 10 schools to apply to senior year.


Visiting college campuses is important.  Virtual tours are great and are available at any time.  Visiting a college campus in person is helpful, if possible, at some point in the college research/application/decision process (of course, this is dependent on personal/family preference and situations, as well as college availability) .  College visits can be done starting as early as a family would like.  We highly recommend visiting a college's Admission Office website or call them directly to set up an official tour.  

So where should we start? 

  • Use Naviance to create a list of colleges you are interested in (Favorite them)
  • Plan to visit different types of campuses (such as large public, small private, city, and rural) to get an idea where you feel comfortable
  • If missing days of schools, fill out a Pre-Arranged Absence/College Visit Forms (available in the Attendance Office)
  • Use a Campus Visit Checklist to get an idea of where to go on campus and what questions to ask
  • Consider "College Fit", which comes down to your academic, social, and financial needs, as well as your career goals
  • Compare colleges using a College Comparison Worksheet

PNHS students tell us that they know that a college is right for them because it just "feels like home". 


Another way to learn more about a college is by meeting with College Admissions Reps at PNHS.  College Admissions Reps come to visit with PNHS students each fall and spring, too.  Registration is required through Naviance.

College Admissions Reps:  Please use Rep Visits to schedule an appointment to meet with PNHS students in the College and Career Center.


Students with questions about JJC can get more information in two ways:

  1. Students can go online and set up a meeting with an Admissions Counselor.  Students should go to the JJC Virtual Experiences page and click “Schedule an Admissions Appointment”.
  2. Students can email questions to JJC Recruitment Specialist, Ava Thommen, directly at athommen@jjc.ecu


Choosing a major


Choosing a college major can be a difficult decision.  Listed below are some helpful resources to use in exploring majors:  

For students interested in attending Joliet Junior College (JJC), students can explore academic pathways and choose an area of study by academic interest.


Applying to college



Most PNHS students seem to apply to anywhere from 5 - 8 schools, some apply to more and some less.  It's really a personal and family decision.  Just make sure you have a good mix of reach, target, and safety/likely schools.  Here are some tips to consider as you're applying:

  • Use a college planning checklist (senior) to help you navigate the process and make sure you're on track
  • Create a list of "Schools I'm Applying To" in Naviance
  • Use Naviance to request transcripts, to fill out your "Teacher/Counselor Letter of Recommendation Questionnaire, and to officially request teacher letters of recommendation (Counselors send transcripts and letters of recommendation through Naivance)
  • Create a college tracking spreadsheet listing admissions requirements and admission/scholarship deadlines (some schools have Oct. 15 deadlines, but most are Nov. 1 or 15, Dec. 1 or 15, or Jan. 1 or 15)
  • Understand the differences between binding/non-binding college admission processes:  Regular Decision, Rolling Admission, Early Action, and Early Decision


Essays offer colleges a look into students' lives outside of the academic documents like transcripts and test scores.  

The English Teachers and the College & Career Center offer a great deal of support during first semester of senior year to students writing college essays.  It's important for students to review college applications for essay/personal statement requirements and begin working on them early.  


Student support programs


Colleges offer a variety of of programs to support students in their success, and this is important to research and compare when choosing a college.  For example, Joliet Junior College (JJC) Disability Services offers accommodations, coaching, and assistive technology.  


Transfer info


Some students decide to attend a two year college, such as Joliet Junior College (JJC), because they aren't sure what they want to major in, prefer to live at home, or want to save money.  If you are planning to transfer to a four year college, you'll need to do your research and plan ahead with your future goals in mind.   

JJC has many university partners and defined academic pathways that can be viewed on the JJC Transfer Resources page.

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