York Community High School

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ: Testing Questions - ACT or SAT?

Q: Which test should I take – ACT or SAT?

A: Juniors (Started with the Class of 2018 and beyond) are in the position to choose whichever test they feel is better for them but the State of Illinois ...more

FAQ: Testing Questions - The Writing Portion (2 questions)

Q: How do I know if a college requires the writing on ACT or SAT?

A: If a student has specific schools in mind, they can determine if the colleges even require the writing via the link on the CCRC ...more

FAQ: York course selection for students who aspire to be admitted to the most selective colleges.

Freshmen will make their sophomore course selections and sophomores will make their junior year course selections in late January or early February. Counselors meet with students in large groups before those individual course selection meetings begin and will discuss things that help each student evaluate what's right for them.

 

Ultimately, we want all students to take the most challenging courses they can reasonably manage while performing well and without being overwhelmed or over-stressed (because some stress is ok but too much stress isn't). As a general rule, students who aspire to attend Ivy League and similar types of colleges (the most selective) should be taking as much Honors and AP course work as they can muster and still earn good grades while also maintaining their sanity. It's not a deal-breaker to take a regular class in one or maybe two content areas but it's also not a guarantee that a student will be admitted to one of those highly selective schools even if they take all honors/AP coursework either. So, students have to make decisions based on their own strengths, determination, discipline, stress level, and goals. 

 

Hopefully this helps a bit. My calendar does open up in January to underclassmen though I encourage parents and students to have these conversations with their child's counselor. Our counselors all understand the value of rigorous coursework for highly selective admissions and also can talk with their students about their feelings regarding course selection. If underclassman parents/students do want to meet with me during second semester, they can call Mary Armstrong, the CCRC Secretary at 630-617-2472 or stop by the CCRC to set that up.

FAQ: Taking World Language (Freshmen/Sophomores)

Q: I’m a freshman in the second year of World Language at York (Spanish 2/2H, French 2/2H) and don’t want to continue in this language because I:

-want to try a new language

-am struggling and it’s ...more

FAQ: Taking World Language (Juniors)

Q: I’m a junior in a 4th Level of World Language (Spanish 4/4H, French 4/4H, Chinese 4/4H, Italian 4/4H) but I’m not sure I want to take level 5/AP next year because world languages are not my strength (or maybe I really want to fit in an elective I haven’t had time to take yet).

What will colleges think if I don’t take language in my senior year?

 

A: This partly depends on the colleges you are considering and the major you are considering. If you are considering a HIGHLY SELECTIVE college (Ivy, Northwestern, University of Chicago, Washington U, etc) they typically prefer to see you in that rigorous 5th year of a language. Otherwise, if you have a really good reason for not continuing, your colleges may be ok with it. You should discuss these reasons with your counselor.

  • Some colleges view your years of world language based on the level of proficiency.
  • Others will consider how many years you’ve been in that language IN HIGH SCHOOL.

 

So, if you are in level 4 as a junior some colleges will say that’s four years, while other colleges might say that’s three.

Colleges almost never require more than two or three years for admission.

A lot of/most colleges do require a certain level of language proficiency in college (usually 3-4 semesters which equals 3-4 years in high school)….that’s where things get complicated.

If you plan to switch to an entirely different language in college (anything but the language you are currently taking), you need only be concerned with being admitted and in that case, you wouldn’t need to take the language next year.

BUT, if you think you would stick with the same language in college, sticking with it for another year in high school might help you in one of two ways:

  1. The college might waive you from that requirement in college (because they automatically waive the world language requirement if a student takes all four years in high school) OR,
  2. For a school that doesn’t automatically waive it, you would take a placement test to determine your level of proficiency and you would be more likely to test higher if you stick with it for another year.

FAQ: Do we HAVE to file the FAFSA, even if we are financially comfortable?

Generally, you are not "required" to submit the FAFSA. On some occasions (far more rarely than used to be true), colleges issuing merit-based funds may require it to be filed to verify that all aid is merit-only and has no need component. But, as stated, it's not common practice any longer. 

 

So, are there any reasons you may want to file? Here are the most common reasons why a family still might file:

1. They want access to the Federal Direct Student Loan, which goes in the name of the student. Some families do this because they want some "back-up" funds available in case any issues arise during the school year in which the family needs to access the loan for payments, even if temporarily and paid back soon after.

2. They want access to the Federal Direct Student Loan because they want the student to have some, "Skin in the game." This is most common when a student is selecting a more expensive choice than the parents had planned to fund (even if they can make it work, they may want the student to take some responsibility for the more expensive choice). 

3. Even families with high income may have "need" at a college. If the total Cost of Attendance at a college is higher than the student's FASFA-calculated EFC (or CSS Profile-calulated EFC, if there are any colleges on the student's list that require it), they may receive some aid from the college.