Keys to Success at City Colleges

Keys to Success at City Colleges

City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) is the largest community college system in Illinois, serving 77,000 students each year across seven colleges and five satellite sites. 

If you have already decided to attend one of the City Colleges next fall and need assistance, you can go to our staff directory to look up the CCC Postsecondary Navigator assigned to your high school.  You can also email navigator@ccc.edu to ask for assistance this summer.

What’s the Scoop on Each CCC?

Daley College is located on the Southwest Side of Chicago at 7500 South Pulaski Road and operates an additional satellite location, Arturo Velasquez Institute, at 2800 South Western Avenue. In 2019, Daley opened a state-of-the-art Manufacturing and Technology Center (MTEC ). From the announcement, “The new equipment and capabilities at MTEC will enable students to participate in a hands-on curriculum that prepares them for the technological advancements in the engineering and manufacturing industries. The facility includes: a manufacturing high bay space, CNC machining equipment and a maker space, classrooms, engineering and manufacturing labs, and computer labs.”

Kennedy-King College is located on the Southside of Chicago, on the border of the Englewood community.  The campus serves as the City College hub for Culinary, Hospitality, and Construction Technology programs. KKC also offers specialty trade programming in bricklaying, carpentry, masonry, welding, plumbing, electrical, and overhead line installment and repair. Their two satellite campuses, Dawson Technical Institute and Washburne Culinary Institute. Kennedy-King received $1.5 million through a Workforce Equity Grant aimed to increase employment of African Americans in Illinois. Students interested in pursuing programs in automotive technology, collision, construction, HVAC and cyber technology can apply for a chance to attend, tuition free.

Malcolm X College (MXC) is located near the Illinois Medical District and has one of the largest selections of health sciences degrees in Cook County. Malcolm X received $1.5 million through a Workforce Equity Grant aimed to increase employment of African Americans in Illinois. They plan to use the grant to increase the number of students from communities on the West Side of Chicago who enroll in and complete six basic certificate programs—Community Health Worker, Cybersecurity, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Personal Fitness Training, Phlebotomy and Sterile Processing. Students interested in pursuing those programs can apply for a chance to attend, tuition free.

Olive-Harvey College is the largest of the city college’s campuses, and is located at 10001 South Woodlawn Avenue in southeast Chicago. It offers a number of programs in Transportation, Distribution and Logistics (TDL) with a focus on key modes of transportation such as air, rail and road.  Olive-Harvey received $1.5 million through a Workforce Equity Grant aimed to increase employment of African Americans in Illinois. Students interested in pursuing basic certificate programs in the fields of Auto-Diesel Repair; Specialized Freight/CDL; General Warehousing; Air Transportation Service Technicians; and Custom Computer Programming Services  can apply for a chance to attend, tuition free.

Located in the heart of the Uptown neighborhood, Truman College students come from 160 different countries speaking more than 90 different languages. Truman College offers a combination of certificates and associate​ degrees with an emphasis on education, human and natural sciences.  Two popular programs that students take advantage of at Truman are the Cosmetology Program and the Automotive Program. Many students take advantage of the transfer partnership with Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC) to go on and earn a Bachelor’s Degree from SIUC’s automotive program.

Harold Washington College (HWC) is located in the heart of the Loop and right across the street from the OneGoal Chicago office. This CCC campus is one of OneGoals oldest partners among all 7 CCC institutions in the district.  HWC is the primary college in the CCC system for criminal justice, law, and business, as well as music production and their recently launched Associate’s Degree in Dance with the Joffrey Ballet.

Wright’s main campus is in Chicago at 4300 North Narragansett Avenue. Wright’s satellite campus is the Humboldt Park Vocational Education Center​, 1645 North California Avenue in Chicago. Wright Humboldt Park received $1 million through a Workforce Equity Grant aimed to increase employment of African Americans in Illinois. This grant will support the school’s JobHire initiative, a tuition-free, short-term job training program, which leads participants to meaningful certifications in Advanced Manufacturing, Information Technology and Public Safety. The program aims to serve students in the Austin community. Students interested in pursuing those programs can apply for a chance to attend, tuition free.

 

Get Inspired! Check out some of these CCC Success Stories!

Applying for a 12-week Program at CCCs?

The main difference is that professors are trying to deliver the content of a 16-week class in 4 less weeks. As a result, there are a few changes that will impact how you experience the class: 

  • Usually, the lecture time blocks are longer in a 12-week class by 30-45 minutes, and professors are more likely to assign first papers/projects earlier in the syllabus than in a 16-week layout. 
  • The shorter duration of the class can also mean that outside reading time can also be longer. 
  • Students should be aware that past 12-week class attendees have reported to OneGoal that these classes can be a little more challenging because of the shorter time windows to get everything done. 
  • But students have also reported enjoying the shorter semester since it is more focused than the longer 16-week schedule.
  • Regardless, it is not recommended that interested students take more than three 12-week classes in a given semester.

For all first-time college students the registration process is the same for 12-week classes as it is for 16-week classes. Here are the registration steps:

  1. You must have submitted a fall application for admission, 
  2. Completed placement tests,
  3. Attended a fall orientation session (either online or in-person),
    1. At orientation, you will meet with an enrollment advisor who will be able to help you find the 12-week classes which best support your program pathway. 
  4. As with 16-week programming, community colleges will want to know how you are going to pay for your 12-week classes, so make sure your financial aid is approved and ready to go before you attend orientation.

Your credits and grades are weighted exactly the same between a 16-week class and a 12-week class, and since colleges charge by the credit-hour there is no difference in cost between a 16-week class and a 12-week class. 

If you plan to transfer your community college credits in the future to a 4-year college or university your 12-week credits will not be viewed any differently than those you earn in a 16-week class.

Already accepted? Here are the steps to enroll at the CCCs!

  • A Student Portal is your single most important gateway to completing college enrollment tasks, accessing college staff, and connecting with student services. The portal lets you register for classes, access your financial aid and scholarships, review important messages from your college, and schedule appointments with different offices.
  • To set up and access your portal, go to my.ccc.edu and use the specific student ID or portal activation instructions sent from your college.

CCC Student Portal Overview:

  • (This assumes you have already applied for financial aid – if not,  please visit the Funding Options page to learn about how to apply for FAFSA and the Illinois Alternative Application if you are not eligible for FAFSA.)
  • Financial Aid is money to help pay for college or career school. Grants, work-study, loans, and scholarships are all types of financial aid, and it is important that you regularly review your financial aid status and any tasks and deadlines associated with your aid.  This will help you ensure you have a sustainable plan to pay for college. 
  • There are two primary ways to check your Financial Aid status:
    1. Check your financial aid on your student portal (see ‘Set up Your Student Portal)
    2. Contact the Financial Aid Office at your college and set up an appointment with a Financial Aid advisor. Plan to meet with a Financial Aid advisor before you start school, and at least once each semester. The advisor can guide you through FAFSA renewal, changes in your financial situation and provide access to scholarships specific to your needs. 
  • FAFSA Verification: Check to see if there are additional document requests. Here’s a screenshot walkthrough of how to submit these financial documents in order to complete your financial aid application. If you need advice or assistance to complete FAFSA verification, look up your ISACorps Mentor! – The Illinois Student Assistance Corps is a talented group of recent college graduates who are trained to serve as near peer mentors to high school students. These mentors have specifically been trained on FAFSA and verification. Search for your ISACorps Mentor by zip code!
  1. Financial Aid Award Letter: After you have applied for financial aid at studentaid.gov and your college has received your FAFSA information, you will receive a financial aid award letter from the college(s) you were accepted to. This letter explains the financial aid package – grants, loans, and scholarships – that the college is offering you to help pay for college, as well as the money you may owe (or gap) beyond what is offered. 
  2. Analyze Your Financial Aid Award Letter.
  • Calculate and review your remaining costs after applying loans and gift aid
  • Carefully evaluate the loans being offered by identifying total loans per year, loans for the degree, and monthly payments
  • Compare institutions by financial aid packages to rank your options by financial feasibility and other factors that are important to you. Use this cost comparison tool from ISAC to conduct a side-by-side comparison.
  • This analysis will help you decide if you want to appeal your Financial Aid Award Letter. For example, your top choice institution may be out of reach financially given the current aid package offered – and you could appeal to the college to ask for more aid.

Watch this video to understand why you would want to appeal your award letter and how to do it. 

Advocate for yourself and appeal your Financial Aid Award Letter if:

  • Your financial circumstances have changed
  • Your top choice school is not giving you as much aid as another institution, or;
  • You do not think the aid package offered will enable you to attend that school. 

Swift Student is a free resource that provides letter templates and help in writing your financial aid appeal letter.

You may be asked to ‘accept’ or ‘reject’ each part of the offered package in your Student Portal. You are not obligated to accept any or all of the aid offered, but you must accept portions of the aid for them to be applied to your account. 

  1. Entrance Loan Counseling is a required process for receiving your federal student loans. This helps student borrowers better understand the responsibilities that you will be taking on with this federal loan. Watch this video for instructions on how to access and complete this process.
  2. The Master Promissory Note is a required  legal document in which you promise to repay your federal loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees. It is a contract between you and the U.S. Department of Education that explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s). Watch this video for instructions on how to access and complete this process.
  3. A Payment Plan is an agreement between you and your college for you to pay your tuition in installments instead of all at once. Often, this plan will split your college bills into equal monthly payments.  ALERT! CCCs will not allow you to register for classes until you establish a payment plan. If you don’t have a payment plan or method established within 3 days of registering for classes, your classes will be dropped. If you get a warning notification, don’t assume that it doesn’t apply to you. Make sure you contact your advisor and speak with the financial aid office immediately. Here’s the link to CCC Virtual Student Services.
  • The good news is there is no enrollment deposit required for the City Colleges of Chicago. You can secure your spot by completing your placement tests, verifying your financial aid and attending orientation.
  • The placement test is mandatory for all 1st-year students attending City Colleges of Chicago. Find info at the Testing Center page including strategies to prepare for the tests. All placement tests must be completed prior to course registration. Some campuses at CCCs require that placement tests be completed at least a week prior to attending student orientation.
  • Placement tests are important  because they  also determine the level of your course placement. Sometimes these tests can place in you an advanced level course. And sometimes, the tests determine if you will be placed in zero-credit remedial or developmental courses. 
    1. A developmental or remedial course is a zero credit “pre-college” level course that you do not earn credit for, but still typically uses up your financial aid the way a credit-bearing course would
    2. A co-requisite or hybrid course often does allow you to earn some college credit, and this is the  preferred choice if you have the option!
  • Helpful links 
    1. Here are instructions for how to access CCC Placement Tests
    2. CCC Guide for the ALEKS Math Placement Test.
    3. CCC Guide for the Reading to Write Placement Test
    4. Here is CCC’s guidance on what scores will place you into a credit-bearing course and what score will require a co-requisite. 
    5. Studying for College Placement Tests
  • By state law, colleges require you to provide proof of immunity to certain diseases/illnesses. To do this, you must provide your immunization records (and sometimes other health information) to the college recordkeeping or health office. 
  • How to get your Immunization Records? 
    1. Ask your parents or caregivers if they have records of your childhood immunizations.
    2. Call your doctor’s office.
    3. Check with your high school or prior school/childcare provider.
    4. If you cannot locate your immunization records, visit the Illinois Immunization Registry Exchange or find the corresponding state agency for the state in which you were vaccinated.
  • COVID-19 Vaccines 
    1. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) site for more information.
    2. See Chicago.gov ‘How to get vaccinated’ website
    3. Protect Chicago is a program that is working to make vaccine distribution more equitable in Chicago by getting vaccination sites and additional dedicated resources to the communities hardest hit by COVID-19 to the 15 h
  • All first-year CIty College students will meet with an admissions counselor and register for classes at the end of the orientation process. Be aware that classes fill up, so if you complete orientation as soon as you are able to you will have a better selection of classes and class times to consider.
  • Registering for classes is key to being able to save yourself a spot in your required courses and know what books and materials you need to be able to show up on Day 1!
  • Review classes on Brightspace before the first day of class. Professors often post their syllabus, a welcome email, and some initial instructions for course materials, textbooks, and class codes you might need. 
  • All students enrolled at a CCC can borrow a Windows laptop free of charge for the entire semester on a first-come, first served basis. This program is available during the fall, spring, and summer semesters, but not during semester breaks.
  • Schedule regular appointments with your Academic Advisor
  • Schedule regular appointments with your Financial Aid Advisor
  • Check out the Resources section of this site to work out your Day 1 Logistics: transportation, logistics, supplies (laptops, course materials, etc), wifi, moving plans.
  • Update your High School Counselor on your college plans and make this update in Naviance. Go to our Staff Directory in “Who’s in my corner?” and filter by high school to find your counselor’s information.
  • Identify your campus contact – your go-to person at your college who can answer your questions (maybe the Admissions Officer or Postsecondary Navigator who has been reaching out to you!)
  • Build your support system by finding the departments, programs, and support services that will help you succeed. These include:
    1. The tutoring center
    2. The advising center
    3. The wellness center
    4. Clubs and networks for those with shared identities, interests, or circumstances
    5. Apply to OneMillionDegrees (OMD). OMD Scholars receive financial support in the form of last-dollar scholarships and performance-based stipends to support you through your time at CCCs and cover travel expenses, books and supplies, and even technology. OMD also provides personal support through a coach, academic tutoring, and career support.

Just the Headlines, Please

Don’t have time to go deep into each section? Not a problem. Let us cut to the chase.

  • Apply to one CCC campus (the one most aligned with the program you are interested in and/or most conveniently located for you) since this is a centralized application. There isn’t a benefit to applying to multiple campuses and your risk having misalignment in your information, resulting in a need to later merge your applications.
  • Don’t wait until the last week to apply. While City Colleges of Chicago accepts all applicants on a rolling basis until the deadline, it usually takes 3-4 days to complete all admissions steps.
  • Reach out to your high school counselor to complete your application packet for the City Colleges, including your current HS transcripts, test scores, application of fee waiver and recommendation letters – all of which can be sent to the City Colleges via Naviance.
  • There is no enrollment deposit required for the City Colleges of Chicago. You can secure your spot by completing your placement tests and attending orientation.
  • The City Colleges of Chicago does not have housing for students, however, if you are interested in living on your own while attending college you can view this Chicago housing resources page for advice, resources and links to affordable housing for students.
  • The placement test is mandatory for all 1st-year students. Find info at the Testing Center page including strategies to prepare for the tests. All placement tests must be completed prior to course registration.
  • Don’t forget to apply to OneMillionDegrees (OMD). OMD Scholars receive financial support in the form of last-dollar scholarships and performance-based stipends to support you through your time at CCCs and cover travel expenses, books and supplies, and even technology. OMD also provides personal support through a coach, academic tutoring, and career support.  Watch their video to learn more.

CCC Quick Links

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