Carly’s Virtual Post-Secondary Counseling Page

A note from Carly…

I wanted to make it easier to connect to resources related to college, career searching, and financial aid! Check out the College Choice for information on choosing colleges, help with essay writing, and information on learning differences. Career Exploration provides sites that can help you identify your interests and what careers could be a good fit. The Financial Aid tab has many different websites and links to different scholarship opportunities that you can check out. 

Be well, and as always, email me with any questions!


College Choice 

Career Exploration 

Financial Aid  

Questions & Questionnaires 

Student Scholarship Newsletter

Guide to the College Admissions Process

NACAC (National Association for College Admissions Counseling) has put together a Guide to the College Admissions Process. Below you can see select chapters that target different imporatant aspects of the process and can help you in making these important decisions! Check it out!

Tips About College Essays

Additional Resources:

  • The College Solution: Tips on what to avoid in the essay and what to include to make your essay stand out.
  • College Admissions Strategies: Tips on what to avoid in the essay (Article 1 / Article 2)

Learning Differences

Choices has many postsecondary planning tools for students with learning differences. Click on the link to access their website to learn about their college fair and explore their college choice booklets!

The Options Fair offers students with special needs and their families an opportunity to meet with colleges and universities, as well as agencies that can provide services after high school. The Options Fair was held in October of last year, so check back for when next year’s fair will be held!

For more information, you can visit the Options Fair website (

National Louis University could be a great option for your student! With locations in Illinois (a downtown Chicago campus, locations in Lisle and Wheeling), this could be a great option for your student to receive an affordable and supportive education. They offer certificate, associate, bachelor, and master degree programs, and all students have access to learning specialists who provide free one on one tutoring. NLU’s Office of Learning Support provides “individualized services designed to achieve maximum student learning potential at the postsecondary level.” Take a look and see if NLU could be a good fit!

Think College Is a national organization to help students with Intellectual disabilities explore inclusive higher education options. Click on the link to explore different college programs and other great resources!

Take a look at Understood, a website who’s mission is “to help those who learn and think differently discover their potentials, take control, find community, and stay on positive paths along each stage of life’s journey.”  There are resources for the individual, but they also provide support for the caregiver, too, providing information on how you can best help your student to succeed.

Check out CIP (College Internship Program)! Their mission “is to inspire independence and expand the foundation on which young adults on the Autism Spectrum, with ADHD and other Learning Differences, can build happy and productive lives.” With locations in California, Florida, Indiana, and Massachusetts, this program could be a great option for your student! CIP is a little pricier than some other programs, so be sure to check out the tuition and fees section on the website.

Set To Go: A Jed Program helps students prepare to be emotionally ready for college success. With student and family specific resources, Set To Go “will help you with finding the right college fit, developing important emotional and life skills, increasing your knowledge about important health issues for guidance about adjusting to life at college.”

Career Exploration

Wondering what career you’re cut out for? Use O*Net’s Interest Profiler and see what your careers fit best with your personality. Answer the 60 questions about different work activities that people do on the job and discover your scores for different personality traits: realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, and conventional. Once you complete the questionnaire and get your scores, select a job zone (level of schooling) and see what careers best match your personality!

Zippia is a relatively new job search tool that provides a lot of great information for high schoolers! If you are looking for a part-time job, there are jobs specific to the high school age group, so you can select your location and find some good possibilities! 

Zippia also has a feature that lets you look at jobs by major – if you want to get a psychology degree, what can you do with that? Type it into the Career Search by Major and take a look at different career path options! You can click on the different jobs and learn more about what the job entails and the education involved in getting there. Check it out at:

Illinois State Board of Education Career Guide – explore dozens of career options in Agriculture, food and natural resources, arts and communications, finance and business services, health sciences and technology, human and public services, information technology, and manufacturing, engineering, technology and trades. 

View the guide here

Check out this new, interactive tool that can help you check out different careers after high school! This site provides information on the education required, compensation, and job stability that you can expect in hundreds of different occupations! Take a look and see what careers you can find!

Financial Aid

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is getting a new look, so instead of opening in October, it will not be opening until December! Completing the FAFSA is a graduation requirement, so please remember that all seniors must complete this (or request a FAFSA non-participant form from Carly ([email protected]) to make sure that requirement is met!

If your student plans to attend any type of post-secondary education, please apply to this as soon as possible! Funds are available until they run out, so the sooner you apply, the greater the opportunity for aid – follow the link:

Anticipated Changes include:

  • The new FAFSA® form will be shorter (fewer questions)
  • The language on the FAFSA® is more closely aligned with the language on
    income tax returns
  • The SAI (Student Aid Index) replaces the EFC (Expected Family Contribution),
    and contains new formulas for calculating eligibility. In particular:

    • Having multiple children in college will no longer reduce SAI, which
      may result in reduced eligibility for financial aid for some families.
    • Qualified 529 distributions from grandparents, etc. will not reduce aid
    • Education savings accounts will only be counted if designated for the
      specific student. (ESAs for other children won’t be considered.)
  • Eligibility for the Pell Grant is expanded to families earning 225% of the
    poverty line (so about $67,500 for a family of four)

If you are a dependent student, then you will also need most of the above information for your parent(s).

Check out to get more information on filling out the FAFSA.

What do you have to do to get access to financial aid? Fill out the FAFSA form. This is the #1 most important thing to do, to get money for college. 

However, we know that students in the past have sometimes struggled with the government version of the FAFSA. That’s why this year we’ve partnered with Going Merry to offer you their version of the form, known as: “FAFSA Made Easier.” 


Going Merry’s FAFSA Made Easier will launch on October 12th. Before then, students just need to sign up for Going Merry (You can use the following link to link to my page:

Do NOT start your family’s FAFSA® application on the government website (Going Merry’s form replaces the government version and is much easier to use).

There are also a lot of different scholarship opportunities on Going Merry’s website, so check it out to see what you can save!

Take a look at for grant and scholarship opportunities! Head to their page to take a look at scholarships for high school seniors with upcoming deadlines! You may find a great opportunity!

College Board Scholarships for FAFSA Completion 

By confirming completion of the FAFSA, your students can qualify for drawings for $500 College Board Opportunity Scholarships. Here’s how students qualify:

Winners are selected monthly and are notified via the email in their College Board accounts. For questions about Opportunity Scholarships, email [email protected] or call 844-298-3554.

Check out The College Planning Guide presented by SoFi,  a full service digital personal financial service company. There are many articles that can help you begin preparing for this next step.  There are articles on how to make the most out of high school, what to know when you’re applying for college, figuring out how to pay for college, and so many other topics.

SoFi has a student and a parent version, so check them out!

  • The CSS Profile is an online application used by colleges and scholarship programs to award Institutional (their own) aid. Check out this site to see if your school is on their “participating schools” list!

  • CollegeBoard’s BigFuture offers great scholarship opportunities that are easy to apply for! Filled out FAFSA by their selected deadline? Scholarship opportunity! Explored different scholarships? Scholarship opportunity! They do monthly scholarship drawings to determine winners, so these are easy ones to possibly get!

  • Find Scholarships for College for FREE: Search for scholarships for college students with Fastweb’s free matching service. Learn about financial aid and student loan options to find money to pay for college.

  • Get matched with scholarships at An easy way to search, organize, and apply for many different scholarships!

  • Take a look at PTC’s “How To Avoid Scholarship and Financial Aid Scams” to ensure you are applying to the best places

Questions & Questionnaires

Questions about your student’s post-secondary plans, college and applications, FAFSA, career planning? Send me an email ([email protected]) or fill out this form, and I will gladly reach out to offer whatever assistance I can! 

Click the link to open the google form!:

Seniors: Do you need a counselor letter of recommendation? Fill out this questionnaire, and I’ll get writing! Once you submit the questionnaire, please send me an email to let me know it’s been completed! 

If anyone from NHA is writing a letter of rec for you, please mention your attendance at NHA in your essay – you don’t need to divulge any details, just connect the dots between NHA and the letters! I can help you find a way to include this in your essay or help with wording, too!

Click the link to open the google form!: 

After students take the PSAT and SAT, their scores get posted to College Board’s website. While we as a school eventually have access to these scores, students gain access months prior to the school, so it is always a good idea to be able to access this site! 

Please fill out this google form to let me know about your student’s account:

Creating an account: If you have not created an account before, your student can go to to create one. When you create an account, it is extremely important to remember that you MUST use a personal email address (no school emails) because you want to always have access to the scores. After creating an account, if they have taken a PSAT or SAT test at NewHope, we can provide you with a score report with your student’s ID information, and you can reach out to College Board to help connect the created account with the score report. 

*If you create an account and it says the email address is already in use, it may already be linked to your student! You can do “forgot password,” and regain access to the account. 

Information on how to create an account can be found on the document here