Step 3: Look at What Schools Offer

Do you need to go to school? Make a list of what you want from a school or program. Then, research schools and programs that fit your list. You can use your library to find your education options. Log into ReNEW as an Illinois resident to see details about thousands of Illinois and national schools. Use the My CIS Portfolio in ReNEW to store your favorites.

Schools tend to tell you about strengths and may hide their weaknesses. Only you can decide if a school is the right one to help you meet your career goals. See CollegeResults.org and ope.ed.gov/Accreditation to avoid scams or schools with poor graduation rates.

Use the tips listed below to see if you agree with the school's claims.

  • Read the materials from the school. Is it accredited? Do their courses match your goals?
  • Find out about the training. How long will it take? How much it will cost? What about tuition, fees, supplies, and books? Are there evening courses? How well does it prepare you for occupations that interest you?
  • Find out about the school’s equipment. Is it current? Is it similar to what you will use in the workplace?
  • Ask about services for students. Do you need help with finances, daycare, tutors, computer skills or other things?
  • Ask about “must haves” to enroll. Are there tests you need to pass? Do you need a GED or high school diploma? What else do students need to get enrolled?
  • Ask about credit options. Can you transfer your credits from other schools? Can you get credit for prior learning? See iTransfer.org

Track your research of schools. 
In order to make good decisions about school, research your options. You can look online, in ReNEW, or call the school directly. Think about what you will get out of any program before you enroll in it. 

Choose Education Options.
Use the School Research Worksheet to keep track of the type of training and any services each school offers students. If you are looking at more than one occupation, make a new worksheet for each one. 

When you've found several options that fit your goals how do you choose? Use Weigh  Your Options (pdf) to help you make decisions. Talk over your decisions with people who are supportive of you.

 

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