College & Career Planning
Options After High School
In the past couple of decades, the opportunities available to students to make a respectable living after high school have expanded far beyond just a four-year college or university experience. We urge our students to consider ALL options, encouraging them to focus on the skills, interests, abilities, and lifestyle they are best suited for. Regardless of what path a student chooses, we encourage students to seek education and training in anything, whether it be painting, plumbing, teaching, nursing, law, etc. Become a master of your craft! Below you will find basic information regarding various post-secondary options available to your student:
Four-year colleges and universities are where students can earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS), or a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). The fields of study offered at these institutions can vary significantly. Universities also have a broad range of schools within them, such as a school of business, school of engineering, or school of health sciences, for example. Some focus on more specific sets of majors like STEM-related fields (such as Georgia Tech or MIT), or Fine Arts-related fields (such as SCAD or a conservatory school).
While we often refer to these schools as "four-year schools," it is important to note that some schools may have programs that require five years or more to complete a degree. A good example of this is the Architecture program at Kennesaw State University. Students are also not required to complete a degree in four years, however some college majors have time limits as to how long you have to complete the degree before having to retake courses.
The admission criteria for these schools vary greatly, so it is important to utilize the schools' websites to determine whether or not a school would be a good fit for you. Ultimately, if you are interested in a four-year college or university, we encourage you to start researching and gathering information about the schools you may be interested in so that you may make an informed decision as to where to apply.
Some students may express interest in a particular occupation and would like to start working as soon as possible. Technical schools afford the opportunity for students to gain skills for employment in a more hands-on environment. Technical schools generally offer three options:
Technical Certificate of Credit (TCC): TCC programs are generally less than a year in duration and have strictly program-related courses and training
Diploma: Diploma programs aim to broaden a student's knowledge base beyond what a TCC offers and typically take about a year and a half to complete. They have program-related courses as well as some general core classes.
Associates Degree (AS): An Associate's degree is the highest level of education a student can earn at a technical school. This degree offers industry-specific instruction as well as a higher number of academic courses. Students may also use this option to obtain a General Associate's degree to transfer to a four-year college or university.
Apprenticeships afford students the opportunity to learn a skill or trade through on-the-job training while getting paid! That's right...you can get paid to learn! Currently, the average starting pay for apprenticeships is $15/hour, and wages continue to increase as students gain more knowledge and improve their skills.
Comprised of five branches, the Military offers a variety of training and career opportunities, consisting of both active-duty and part-time opportunities. Full-time participants typically live on base or in military housing, and they can also live on ships or in homes off-base. Part-time service members include the Reserve and National Guard, and these members train one weekend per month and two weeks per year. Contrary to what we assume from what we see in the media, there are plenty of options in this field in which students aren't "fighting on the front lines." Many of these opportunities allow students to gain an education or skill in which they can be a supportive force for the Military, such as a nurse, electrician, engineer, physician, accountant, and much much more. Please see the section below on Military for more information.
College Planning Resources
College Planning Timeline
9th and 10th Grade College Planning Timeline
11th Grade College Planning Timeline
12th Grade College Planning Timeline
How do I decide? Some things to consider:
Academic Offerings: What areas of study are offered?
Activities: Study abroad? Greek life? Co-ops? Marching Band? Clubs?
Location: City? Country? Far from home? Warm climate?
Size of School: Number of students enrolled – small, medium, or large?
Class Size: Will my classes have 200-300 students, or will they have smaller class sizes? Will I be able to get to know my teachers?
Cost: Tuition + room & board + fees + personal expenses + travel? What financial aid forms must be filed and by when? What scholarships and other aid exist?
Living Arrangements: On campus or off campus? Residence Life/meal plans? Sorority/Fraternity housing? Private room or shared room
Selectivity: What are my chances of being admitted? Do my test scores, GPA, and other qualifications match with what they’re looking for?
School Type: Two-year vs. four-year college? Public vs. private? Coed vs. single sex? Hispanic serving or historically black?
Retention Rate: The number of students that return after their freshman year
Sports: Intramurals? Club sports? NCAA or NAIA?
Student Life: Liberal, conservative, homogenous, or diverse? How much interaction between faculty and students?
On-Campus Help: What opportunities exist that encourage positive academic success (i.e. writing labs, tutoring, disability services), nurture personal growth, and provide career experiences and training?
College Tours can make or break your decision regarding what college you would like to attend. Some colleges look great (and are great) on paper, but upon visiting them, students may not feel like the environment and the school are right for them. If you are deciding between multiple colleges, it is incredibly important to visit the colleges to help you make your decision. Students are allowed three excused absences for college visits. These visits must be pre-approved with the attendance office.
Below you fill find a list of a few questions you may consider asking on a college visit, as well as questions you want to ask yourself during and after a college visit.
Example questions to ask on a college tour (especially if your tour guide is a current student):
- Why did you choose this college?
- What are your favorite and least favorite things about going here?
- How accessible are your professors, generally?
- How hard is it to get around campus? Is there a grocery store within walking distance? Can I walk to my classes or is there a bus system?
- How is the dining hall food?
- What do students do on weekends? Do they go home or hang around on campus?
- How involved are students in extracurricular activities? What activities are the most popular?
- What do students do for fun on- or off-campus?
- What is Greek Life like, and how do students feel about it?
- How is campus security? What is the crime rate like?
- What are the on-campus or off-campus housing options? How do the costs compare?
- What services does the health center offer?
- How popular are sporting events amongst students on campus?
- What are the gym facilities like? How late is the gym open?
- What is the career center like? What is the job placement rate after graduation? (THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!)
- Are there fine-arts opportunties for students who are not fine-arts majors?
- What tutoring services are available to students?
- How many students are in a typical freshman class?
Example questions for you to ask YOURSELF on a college tour:
- How did you really feel when you were on campus?
- How did staff members interact with students? Were they friendly or authoritarian?
- How would you feel about being in a classroom with the students you met? What about sharing a dorm with them?
- Did the students make you feel at home? Were they helpful in answering your questions? How did they interact with one another?
- Did the campus seem like a good size for you?
- Were the dorms single-sex or co-ed? How did you feel about that?
- Were the dorms too quiet? Too noisy? Too crowded? Too small? Too old? Too anything for your tastes?
- Did you feel comfortable and safe?
- Are there stores nearby where you can buy groceries, dorm supplies, materials for your class projects, etc?
Collins Hill students currently have access to another college & career planning system called SCOIR (pronounced "score").
SCOIR has a resource available to students called YouScience. YouScience is an incredibly comprehensive assessment that utilizes fun, engaging "brain games" to capture real measures of aptitudes (natural abilities most important to career choice). YouScience then translates those talents into real world, high-demand careers. It is one of the most engaging, realistic personality/career assessments our counseling office has worked with. We highly encourage students to check out this free resource!
For information on how to create a SCOIR account, click here.
For information on how to access YouScience through your SCOIR account, click here.
College Entrance Exams
The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and American College Testing (ACT) Test are the two main college entrance exams are the two main college entrance exams colleges use. All Georgia schools accept both the SAT and ACT equally. Most schools in the country accept either test, although there are some schools that do prefer one test to the other. Always check with the college or university you are interested in to review their testing requirements.
When and how many times should I take the test(s)?
It is a good idea to consider testing in the spring of your junior year and/or when you are close to completing Algebra II. If you are applying early action or early decision anywhere, you should aim to obtain your best score(s) by the June test date of your senior year.
Generally, we recommend students take each of these tests at least once, as many students prefer one test to the other. Should you wish to improve upon your test score, we recommend you focus on improving the score for the test in which you were most comfortable. Ideally, you should take your preferred test 2-3 times.
In recent years, the commonalities between the SAT and ACT have increased. However, there are still differences between the two. Click here to view a comparison chart for the two tests.
Click here for ACT dates (be sure to scroll down)
Students who are currently enrolled in the free/reduced lunch program qualify for fee waivers for the SAT and ACT. Fee waivers may be used up to 2 times for each test. Each fee waiver also includes four college application fee waivers. Students interested in receiving a fee waiver should see Mrs. Rodriguez in the counseling office.
SAT Subject Test
SAT Subject Tests are used to measure knowledge and ability for a specific subject. Please refer to your colleges and universities of interest to determine whether a subject test is appropriate for you.
College Application Sites
Below are links to some commonly used college application sites. Students are NOT limited to these application sites. Please check with the college or university in which you are applying to explore their options for the application process.
For current students only. For more information regarding transcript requests for former students, please see our Registration, Withdrawals, and Records page.
Students must complete this order form and turn it into Mrs. Rodriguez in the counseling office to request official transcripts of any kind. Please refer to the form for specific details regarding the cost and types of transcript requests.
Students may sent transcripts to ANY school in Georgia FOR FREE through Georgia Futures. Students will need to create an account with Georgia Futures and have a Social Security Number on file with CHHS.
Paper transcript requests are typically ready for pick up after 24 hours. Requests may take up to 48 hours during high volume request times.
Dual enrollment students in need of official college transcripts must follow the transcript request process with the college or university they attended for Dual Enrollment. CHHS can not create or obtain a college transcript for anyone.
Some schools require teacher and/or counselor recommendation letters as part of the application process. Students wishing to obtain a recommendation letter need to consider the following steps in requesting a recommendation:
- Check to see if your desired college or university requires a recommendation letter. Some colleges do not require counselor recommendation letters, especially with early admissions.
- It is considered proper etiquette to ask the teacher and/or counselor for a recommendation through email or in person. Do not submit the request without first doing this.
- Complete and submit the student brag sheet to your counselor and/or teacher. This will help us write a more personalized letter.
- Be sure to complete this process at least TWO WEEKS ahead of your deadline to ensure your teacher or counselor can complete the request in time. Requests made within two weeks or less may not be completed by the deadline.
- Be sure to say thank you! Those two words can go a long way!
How-To Video Help!
Naviance offers many different options to support students in the search for colleges, careers, and to complete college applications. Please see the help videos below for information on how to utilize Naviance's features!
Building a list of colleges I'm applying to
Editing colleges I'm applying to
Letter of recommendation requests
Requesting transcripts via naviance
Common App registration and account matching - IMPORTANT
What is Naviance?
Naviance is a tool that is now part of a county-wide initiative to streamline the college application process. Students will still use certain programs such as Common App to begin the college application process. However, Naviance will take the place of these programs for submitting supporting documentation to the colleges you are applying to. For example, you might begin the main application process to a college via Common App, but Common App is going to prompt you to access your Naviance account to submit things such as recommendation requests, transcripts, school profile, and other supporting documents.
Apprenticeships are a fantastic opportunity for students to gain skills and knowledge at no cost while also being paid! The average apprenticeship wage STARTS at $15/hr and increases as the years of experience in the program increases. Students interested in learning more about apprenticeship programs should check out the links below:
Georgia Department of Labor Apprenticeship Information
Major apprenticeship programs in Georgia - This document contains links to 17 apprenticeship programs in the state of Georgia.
Build Your Future - Building a career in the construction industry
Apprenticeships through Technical College System of Georgia - Some apprenticeship programs can be completed while enrolled at a technical school
Students wishing to pursue options at a Technical School have many amazing opportunities available to them! Something you may not know - students wishing to attend technical schools have access to state scholarships! HOPE Grant is available to students wishing to pursue an education at a technical college, and there is NOT a GPA requirement. HOPE Grant is similar to HOPE Scholarship in that it doesn't have to be repaid, and it pays for 80-90% of the student's academic tuition. Once in college, students must maintain a 2.0 GPA to retain the grant. HOPE Career Grant is also available IN ADDITION to HOPE Grant for students majoring in one of 17 high-demand career areas. This Career Grant offers additional funding to offset more remaining costs and fees that weren't covered by the HOPE Grant. For these 17 high-demand career areas, students ultimately attend college for free, minus cost of living!
Information about HOPE Grant and HOPE Career Grant
Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) 17 high-demand career areas information
NCAA Guide for Student Athletes
Unofficial GPA Calculator
Please note: This is an UNOFFICIAL GPA calculator and does not take the place of any official calculations performed by NCAA, HOPE, or GCPS.