College & Career Resources
Chaska and Chanhassen High Schools each have a College/Career Resource Center (CRC) for 9-12 grade students to EXPLORE, DREAM, and DISCOVER their future plans. The CRC is a part of the Counseling Department and each CRC has a full-time staff that specifically assists and supports each student with career and college exploration, admissions process/applications, financial aid, and scholarships so that each student has their best chance for success whether it be a 4-year school, 2-year school, military, directly to the workforce, a GAP Year, or any other choice. It’s all about finding the best fit for each individual student!
College/Career Resource Specialist
CRC Hours: 7:15am – 3:15pm | MONDAY - FRIDAY
*Closed for the summer June 11-August 30*
College Representatives: Please use RepVisits to schedule college visits.
- What are My Options?
- Researching Colleges
- GAP Year
- Job/Volunteer Board
- Testing Resources
Planning a College Visit:
What can I expect on a visit?
Colleges offer a variety of visit options, from a more formal visit to an informal visit. Although it can be fun to spend time with a friend on a college campus, a visit scheduled through the Admissions Office is recommended. A basic visit generally includes an information session covering admission requirements, programs available, financial aid and scholarships, housing options, and student activities as well as a tour of the campus. More extensive visits can include a meeting with a professor in your interest area, sitting in on classes, visiting with a coach, eating in the cafeteria, attending a sporting event, and even spending the night in a dorm. Visits can be for a group of students, or you can schedule an individual/personalized visit.
How do I go about setting up a visit?
You can always call the Admissions Office at any college and ask about upcoming visit days. Many college websites have a “Visit Us” tab, either on the main page or under “Prospective/Future Students”. Sometimes you need to register in advance; sometimes you can just show up. Some colleges can accommodate you on a particular date that would work for you even if they don’t have a scheduled event.
1. Call the Admissions Office to ask about visit options
2. Visit the college website – some offer online registration for visits
3. Check out the “College Visits NOT Held at High School” section on this page, this is updated regularly with visits at colleges in this area and has contact information.
4. Use the Minnesota Career Information System, www.mncis.intocareers.org. In “U.S. Schools”, search for any college. Under “School Name & Address”, some colleges have a link to a virtual campus tour. Under “General Information”, there is often specific information on school visits.
5. A great option every summer in Minnesota – Minnesota Private College Week, end of June. All 17 private MN colleges offer daily open houses and tours, and preregistration is suggested at www.mnprivatecolleges.org/mpcw
6. Education Minnesota in October is a great time to visit and most Minnesota colleges offer a variety of visit options. Some events do require pre-registration, so visit each website to know your options.
Remember that college visits are a way for you to decide if a college “fits” you. The more campuses you visit, the better you will know what you like: big, small, in a city, in a small town, how far from home, type of programs, cost, etc. Visit places you know about, but visit new places too. Look around the college neighborhood, talk to students. It’s okay to not like any particular school. There are many colleges to choose from, and visiting will help you decide if you can picture yourself living and learning on that campus.
Questions to Ask on a College Visit:
When visiting with a college representative, ask plenty of questions to ensure you choose the college that best matches your needs.
Ask Questions About Academics
1. What majors or programs do you offer?
2. What is the average length of your programs?
3. What percent of your students graduate?
4. Do you have internship programs?
5. Will I have an advisor to help me with scheduling questions?
6. How difficult is it to get the class schedule I need?
7. Do you offer tutoring services if I need them?
Ask Questions About Admissions
8. When is your enrollment deadline?
9. What standards do you use for acceptance?
10. Do I need to take an entrance exam?
11. When can I take a look at the campus?
Ask Questions About Financial Aid
12. What type of financial aid is available to me?
13. How do I apply?
14. Do you have a financial aid application deadline?
15. Are there scholarships available through the college?
16. What is the total cost of my program including books, fees, and tuition?
Ask Questions About Student Life
17. What kind of support will I receive?
18. How many students are enrolled at your college?
19. What is the average class size?
20. How big is the largest class?
21. Do you have student organizations and activities?
Ask Questions About Technology
22. What type of technology courses are offered at your college?
23. What equipment and software do you currently use?
24. Does each student have access to a computer during class time?
25. Does your college have a student Intranet?
26. Will I have an email account and access to the Internet?
Ask Questions About Career Placement
27. What type of career placement assistance do you offer?
28. Will you help me find a part-time job while I attend school?
29. What is your placement rate?
30. What types of jobs are your graduates getting?
Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) is a program that allows 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students to earn both high school and college credit while still in high school, through enrollment in and successful completion of college nonsectarian courses at eligible participating postsecondary institutions. Most PSEO courses are offered on the campus of the postsecondary institution; some courses are offered online. Each participating college or university sets its own admissions requirements for enrollment into the PSEO courses. 11th and 12th grade students may take PSEO courses on a full- or part-time basis; 10th graders are eligible to enroll in PSEO on a more limited basis. Students must meet the PSEO residency and eligibility requirements and abide by participation limits specified in Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.09. If a school district determines a pupil is not on track to graduate, she/he may continue to participate in PSEO on a term by term basis.
Each spring the Chanhassen & Chaska Career Resource Centers will join with our school counselors to host PSEO information night along with local PSEO admissions counselors for all students and their families. Watch the recording of our PSEO information night here!
There is no charge to PSEO students for tuition, books or fees for items that are required to participate in a course; however, students may incur fees for equipment that becomes their property when the course or program is completed, textbooks that are not returned to the postsecondary institution according to their policies, or for tuition costs if they do not notify the district by May 30 and the district does not waive this date requirement.
Funds are available to help pay transportation expenses for qualifying students to participate in PSEO courses on college campuses. For more information on these funds, access the PSEO Mileage Reimbursement Program Instructions.
Enrolling in a PSEO course does not prohibit a student from participating in activities sponsored by the high school.
School districts must allow a PSEO student reasonable access to the high school building, computers and/or other technology resources during regular school hours to participate in PSEO courses, whether online or on campus.
Steps to become a PSEO Student
- Follow the PSEO application directions found on the college’s website. Make sure all required documents are completed and signed. Access the list of Participating Postsecondary Institutions
- Send a copy of your current high school transcript through Parchment that includes cumulative GPA. Some colleges also require a copy of your standardized test score ( ACT, PSAT…)
- After the college receives your completed application, you will be notified by the college about your admission decision. Students will not be accepted until all paperwork listed above has been submitted.
AFTER you are accepted as a PSEO student
- Complete the placement test if required. (Students may substitute ACT exam score of 18 or higher in English and/or a score of 22 or higher in math)
- Schedule an appointment with your high school counselor to discuss appropriate college classes and to adjust your CNS schedule. Students are required to inform their district of their intent to enroll in PSEO courses by May 30.
- Meet with PSEO Advisor & register for classes (typically in the summer).
- Email your high school counselor about your PSEO course list for final approval.
POINTS TO CONSIDER
Neither CHS nor parents have access to monitor the student’s progress in their PSEO classes. They are considered a college student and protected by FERPA.
PSEO participating colleges automatically send final grades to the student’s high school. The exact grade assigned by the college is transferred to student's transcript. For most colleges, one college credit equates to a .25 CNS credit. The Pass/No Credit and Drop Policies are followed according to the college’s handbook. Students need to complete a PSEO enrollment form each semester (found on MDE website).
For current information about the PSEO program, visit the Minnesota Department of Education’s Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) webpage
- Letters of Recommendation
- Scholarships & Financial Aid
- Senior Year Checklist
- Additional Resources
Chaska High School students will send their transcripts to colleges through Parchment. This process will be used for both PSEO and when applying to colleges.
Steps to requesting letters of recommendation:
- Research the required documents for the application. How many, if any, letters do you need?
- Ask your teacher, counselor, coach, etc., if they would be a recommender! It's important to ask a non-family member who knows you best and can highlight your strengths.
- If they agree, fill out the Letter of Recommendation Request Form and share it with your letter writer.
- Show your appreciation- Send a thank you letter!
- Take the most challenging classes you can handle and keep focused on your school work.
- Most colleges require 4 years of English and math, 3 years of social studies and science, and many require 2 years of a world language.
- Be involved in school or community activities that you enjoy.
- Consider working or volunteering to create a strong résumé. Some places of employment have tuition reimbursement options.
- Remember it’s important not to overdo it. It is better to have experiences that are of value to you. You can’t do it all, so choose carefully.
- Enroll in a summer program: See your counselor for a list of options.
- Keep track of your academic, athletic, work and volunteering along with other achievements – you need this information when you build your résumé.
- Talk to family, teachers and mentors about their career path and high school success.
- Keep your grades up to attain the highest GPA possible. All of your grades count towards your cumulative GPA.
- Review your graduation planner and transcript for accuracy and to make sure you are on track to graduate.
- Know what is required for high school graduation.
- Meet with your counselor to discuss course selections and high school success
- Develop a four year high school and post high school plan – you may change the plan, but start thinking about the future
- Be aware of what it takes to be successful in high school: – Keep track of your assignments – Know who can help you if you’re struggling – Stick to regular study habits
- Keep track of your awards, honors, paid or volunteer work, and extracurricular actives
- Begin to assess your career interests through an interest inventory with Minnesota Career Info System
- mncis.intocareers.org username: chaska password: hawks username: chanhassen password: goblue
- Get involved in activities, athletics or school clubs
- Start to understand basic college options and admission requirements
- Talk with your family about saving and paying for college
Take the PLAN test. All 10th grade students take it during the school day. It will indicate if a student is meeting benchmarks for college readiness and academic progress. This test helps a student determine:
– If they are on track with their basic skills
– If a student expects to get the score they want on the ACT (which is taken in 11th grade)
– Future high school courses that will help you to continue in college preparedness
– Suggestions for improving academic success
Discuss PLAN results with your counselor – specifically:
– future high school courses
– assessing basic skills
– predicting success in AP classes
– discussing career possibilities and college planning
– update your plan for high school and after high school
As you approach summer, think of some careers and colleges that you will look into over the summer. Review the college/career planning steps for 11th grade – junior year is a big year and you’ll want to stay on top of your deadlines and decisions.
Consider signing up to take the College Board’s PSAT. This test is a practice test for the SAT and is used to qualify students for the National Merit Scholarship.
★ Attend College Fairs and visits from admission representatives in the College/Career Resource Center.
★ Use MCIS’ college sort to create a list of colleges that meet your criteria including:
★ Making decisions about which colleges you think are a good fit for you
★ Learn about the college application process
★ Learn to compare schools by academic rigor, admission criteria, financial expectations
★ Consider being a mentor for others and have a mentor for yourself. See your counselor for help.
Discuss PSAT results with your counselor if you took the test.
★ Review/update your plans for selected high school courses and options after high school
★ Meet with your counselor before course registration for senior year to discuss:
1. Your personal credit situation (and address any concerns) 2. Your college plans 3. Your intended major 4. Your capstone 5. Your next steps in choosing and applying for college
★ Register for college admission exams (ACT, SAT or SAT subject tests) coming in the spring. Check with colleges you are interested in to see which exams they require.
★ Begin to research scholarships for juniors. Check the College/Career Resource Center for more info.
Take the ACT, SAT or SAT subject tests
★ Visit colleges/universities during the summer if you can. Set up college visits with admission counselors. Even visiting a university or college in the Twin Cities will help you learn more.
★ Use the FAFSA4caster financial aid estimator on studentaid.ed.gov and compare results to the actual costs at the college to which you will apply.
Take the SAT or ACT again if you are not happy with your score or if you have not yet taken the exam.
★ Narrow down your list of colleges that you are interested in attending.
★ Consider setting up a job shadow or internship for your Senior Project.
★ Meet with your counselor to go over the senior checklist:
1. Your credit status 2. Your senior courses 3. College applications 4. The application process in general (with deadlines) 5. Letters of recommendation 6. Admission essays 7. Tests such
as ACT, SAT 8. NCAA eligibility 9. Any testing or retesting 10. Requesting transcripts
Attend Financial Aid Night with your parent/guardian.
★ Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and if necessary the Financial Aid PROFILE as part of the application process. (Note to parents/guardians: Previous year income taxes must be completed first.)
★ Research and apply for scholarships including your high school’s local scholarship(s).
Watch for acceptance notifications from colleges/universities.
★ Watch for financial aid notification awards/information.
★ Make your decision about which college/university you want to attend and notify schools of your intent by timelines designated.
★ Talk to the financial aid office at your school of choice about all of their financial aid options.
★ Secure housing, set up appointments for any testing required and attend orientation.
★ Send your final high school transcript to the college you will be attending in the fall.
★ Counselors will ensure you have met graduation requirements and are ready to participate in your high school graduation ceremony.
Scholarship List: This is an ongoing list of outside scholarships that students are eligible to apply for by grade level. **Note: All District112 students can access the scholarship list by logging into their isd112 google account. Access is not provided to accounts outside of the district.
Here are some college planning resources for students and families brought to you by Minnesota Goes to College:
Worksheets and handouts:
High School Planning Checklists - One page checklists for grades 9-12 to prepare for college.
FSA ID Worksheet - Here is a helpful worksheet to help remember FSA ID information. Students and families will need to set up an FSA ID to complete the FAFSA.
Writing Application Essays - Includes helpful tips and sample prompts for college and scholarship application essays.
College Planning Workbook - This complete workbook was created in Google Sheets so it is easy for you to gather and organize all the information you will need to submit your college and scholarship applications. Available in Spanish.
Comparing Colleges Worksheet - Students can use this worksheet to research and compare colleges.
Comparing College Costs and Financial Aid Worksheet - This worksheet outlines college costs and compares financial aid packages.
College and Scholarship Application Organizer - Help students stay on top of important college and scholarship application requirements and deadlines with this organizer!
Minnesota campus information:
Minnesota College Admissions Virtual Resources (2020-2021) - where to find virtual resources for participating College Knowledge Month campuses, including virtual group events, tours and online introductions.
College Fairs - when and where Minnesota and national college fairs are held.
Camp College - a free opportunity for rising seniors to learn about aspects of the college search and application process from college and high school counselors.
Minnesota State Colleges and University System - Find out how to visit any of Minnesota State's 37 campuses, explore majors and the application process. Connect with someone at the Call Center who is ready to answer questions about any Minnesota State campus. Skype, live chat, send an email or give them a call to get answers.
Choosing a College - This booklet describes the methods a student can use to find their best fit college in Minnesota.
- Virtually Visit a College
- MCIS - Minnesota Career Information System
- Senior Party
- Federal Pandemic Youth Unemployment Assistance
- MN Dream Act
- Junior Post-Secondary Planning
How do MN Dream Act and/or qualifying DACA students apply for benefits?
Undocumented students can apply for state financial aid by accessing the online MN Dream Act - State Financial Aid application. To be eligible for the MN State Grant, the application must be submitted no later than the 30th day of the term. The results of the application can also be used to qualify for in-state tuition rates at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and Duluth campuses. Students attending Minnesota State campuses should also use this application to apply for state financial aid, but should apply for in-state tuition rates directly with the Minnesota State campus.
The MN Dream Act application should be submitted once for each academic year the student is enrolled in college.
What is the MN Dream Act?
The MN Dream Act (also known as The Prosperity Act) was introduced by Senator Sandra Pappas (SF723) and Representative Carlos Mariani (HF875) and was included in the omnibus Higher Education bill passed by the 2013 Minnesota Legislature and signed into law by Governor Dayton on May 23, 2013.
The MN Dream Act will provide certain benefits to undocumented students who meet the following criteria:
- Attended a Minnesota high school for at least 3 years; and
- Graduated from a Minnesota high school or earned a GED in Minnesota; and
- Registered with the U.S. Selective Service (applies only to males 18 to 25 years old); and
- Provide documentation to show they have applied for lawful immigration status but only if a federal process exists for a student to do so (does not include applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). There is currently not a federal process in place, so this documentation is not currently required.
Students who meet the criteria in the MN Dream Act will be eligible for the following benefits:
- In-state resident tuition rates at public colleges and universities.
- State financial aid available to students who meet state residency requirements.
- Privately funded financial aid through public colleges and universities.
When did the MN Dream Act take effect?
All of the benefits provided by the bill were available to qualifying students for any term starting on or after July 1, 2013.
After the student submits the MN Dream Act application, the student will receive an email letting the student know the following information will need to be submitted to the MN Office of Higher Education to prove the student meets the requirements in the law. This information will only need to be provided the FIRST year the student applies.
- MN high school transcripts showing attendance at a MN high school for at least 3 years (do NOT have to be certified copies)
- MN high school diploma (or transcript showing the student graduated) or copy of GED earned in MN (does NOT have to be certified copy)
- Copy of Selective Service card showing the student registered with the U.S. Selective Service (applies only to males 18 to 25 years old). If the student has not yet registered with Selective Service, the student should do so now. If the student has a Social Security number, the student can register online at www.sss.gov. Confirmation of registration will be sent to the student within two weeks. If the student does not have a Social Security number, the student should download the form here and submit it, along with all other documentation, to the MN Office of Higher Education. The paper Selective Service System Registration Form must be completed in black ink and in capital letters only. The document cannot be emailed or faxed to the MN Office of Higher Education; the original form must be mailed to:
MN Office of Higher Education
State Grant Unit
1450 Energy Park Drive, Suite 350
St. Paul, MN 55108.
The MN Office of Higher Education will make a copy of the form and mail the original to the Selective Service System on behalf of the student.
- Students will need to submit copies of signed student and parent (if dependent for financial aid) federal 1040 income tax returns for the prior-prior tax year (tax year 2018 for the 2020-2021 academic year). If the taxes were professionally prepared, a signature is not necessary. Schedules 1, 2, and 3, if filed: How do I know if I filed a Schedule 1? How do I know if I filed Schedule 2? How do I know if I filed Schedule 3? W2 forms are not required for tax filers unless there has been a change in marital status since the federal return was filed. If the student's and/or parents' income was so low they were not required to file a federal tax return, they should submit a signed statement indicating they were not required to file a federal tax return, along with any W2 statements. These documents will be required each year the student applies and will be used to verify the family income provided on the application.
- Applicants who have attended college for three or more years prior to the academic year for which they are applying must also submit a copy of a college transcript from each college they have attended. Student copies are acceptable if they are up-to-date.
- Eventually, documentation from federal immigration authorities verifying the student has applied for lawful immigrations status. The MN Dream Act states students will have to provide this document only if there is a federal process in place for them to apply for permanent legal status, which does not currently exist. So, documentation will not be required at this point.
With the exception of the paper Selective Service Registration Form, MN Dream Act Application materials should be email to MNDreamAct.OHE@state.mn.us or faxed to (651) 797-1637.
Do Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students qualify for the MN Dream Act benefits?
DACA students will qualify for benefits if they meet the criteria for the MN Dream Act. DACA students who don't meet the MN Dream Act criteria may still be eligible for state financial aid if they can meet at least one of the criteria in the state residency law used for financial aid after they have been granted DACA. For example, one of the criteria in the state residency definition is graduating from a Minnesota high school while residing in Minnesota, so the student would need to prove DACA was granted prior to high school graduation. DACA students will be required to submit proof of DACA. DACA students who do NOT meet any of the MN Dream Act or state residency criteria will NOT be eligible for state financial aid.
How much will I receive from MN State Grant? Will it cover my tuition and fees at my college?
Probably not. The MN State Grant award will vary based upon the student's financial situation, enrollment level and the price of the college attended. It is meant to be a supplement to the Federal Pell Grant, which is the main federal need-based grant program. Even though undocumented students cannot receive a Federal Pell Grant, the amount of Federal Pell Grant for which the student would have qualified must be factored into the MN State Grant award calculation. This means the MN State Grant might be fairly low for students from low-income families who would qualify for Federal Pell Grants. The MN State Grant award notice you receive from the MN Office of Higher Education will display the amount of your MN State Grant for each credit level. Here are sample State Grant annual (two semesters or three quarters) awards [.pptx] at different types of colleges for a student from a very low-income family.
Will MN Dream Act or DACA students be eligible for any other type of state financial aid?
Eligible DACA students with work authorization and Social Security numbers can be considered for State Work Study funding, which allows the student to earn money working on campus. Eligible MN Dream Act students can also apply for a Postsecondary Child Care Grant, which is a need-based grant to students with children in child care while they attend school. These programs have limited funding and are administered by campus financial aid offices, so students should contact the financial aid office at the college they attend after completing the online state financial aid application to complete further paperwork for those programs. MN Dream Act students will also be eligible for tuition reciprocity benefits to attend a public college or university in North Dakota, South Dakota or Wisconsin. Any DACAmented or undocumented student can currently apply for a state SELF loan, which does not require the student borrower to have legal status, but does require a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. MN Dream Act students who are adult learners re-enrolling in college (age 25 or older and have completed 15 or more college credits without earning a degree), can also apply for MN Reconnect. This program provides specific services and resources to help adult learners successfully complete a certificate, diploma or associate program. The program is available at participating colleges.
Are there deadlines for applying for state financial aid?
To be eligible for a MN State Grant, the student must submit the online state financial aid application no later than the 30th day of the term. Deadlines for other state financial aid programs administered on campus are determined by the college the student is attending.
Does meeting MN Dream Act criteria or establishing MN residency after receiving DACA mean I am guaranteed state financial aid?
No. Financial aid programs have other requirements all applicants must meet, such as demonstrating financial need. It simply means these students are eligible to apply for and receive state financial aid on the same basis as documented students.
Will MN Dream Act or DACA students be eligible for federal financial aid?
No. The MN Dream Act is a state law that provides state benefits to Minnesota residents regardless of federal immigration status. Federal financial aid programs require students to be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens to apply for and receive federal financial aid.
- Senior/Parent Night
- Financial Aid Night
- Oportunidades Para Estudiantes Latinos
- NCAA Compliance
- Life After Chaska
- PSEO Information Night
- Gap Year Exploration - EnRoute
- College Information Night
- Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Info Night