What is Parkland Pathway to Illinois?

The first time I walked into Parkland College was in 1994. I remember parking in what I now know to be the B wing and attempting to find the Admissions office (which resulted in me visiting the X wing and, somehow, the L wing). As a December ’93 graduate of Champaign Central High School, I knew that I wanted to transfer to a university, but I didn’t want to jump into that university life right away. Thank goodness for Parkland College.

While I made lots of wrong turns trying to find classes (signage is so much better now!), I never made a wrong turn in my course selection due to fantastic Parkland advising,  and I was able to transfer and successfully complete my bachelor’s degree.

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Parkland Pathway to Illinois Program
Parkland College has been a partner with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for almost 50 years and has successfully transferred thousands of students. Seven years ago, the two institutions came together to create a new initiative, the Parkland Pathway to Illinois program. This program offers a selective group of students the opportunity to be enrolled at Parkland full time and also take a course at the University of Illinois every semester. Students receive individualized counseling at Parkland and at Illinois and can live in University housing.

Other benefits include guaranteed admission to the University of Illinois and paying a discounted tuition rate based on Parkland College tuition. The Parkland Pathway to Illinois program does not replace the traditional transfer programs that Parkland College offers, but it aims to enrich opportunities and open the door to the University of Illinois to more students.

How to Apply
Two separate groups of steps let a student apply to the Parkland Pathway to Illinois program. The first is for high school seniors to first apply to Parkland College in a transfer program (they will have to reapply even if they took dual credit courses in high school). They can apply by clicking here and can find a list of transfer degree programs here. Once they are admitted to Parkland College, students then schedule an assessment test. This test, used for Parkland course scheduling purposes, must be completed by April 1.

The second group of steps begins February 15, which is the day that the University of Illinois Parkland Pathway to Illinois application opens. High school seniors would create their myillini.illinois.edu account and apply to the Parkland Pathway to Illinois program. To apply, students must have the following:

  • Access to their high school courses and grades
  • ACT and/or ACT scores sent electronically to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 300-word (max.) essay related to their interest in the major they wish to study at the University of Illinois (a full list of undergraduate majors is available here)
  • Any other items required.

Once all parts of the University of Illinois application have been received, Pathway applicants will be reviewed for admission.

The Parkland Pathway to Illinois program is not the only way to transfer to the University of Illinois, but it is a way to slowly get used to the university environment while enjoying the benefits of the award-winning faculty, small class sizes, and personalized resources of Parkland College.

***Learn more at the Pathway to Illinois Informational Open House, Feb. 15 from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Parkland College Student Union***

Questions about the Parkland Pathway to Illinois program can be directed to Beth Chepan, Parkland College Admissions and Records, 217/351-2887 or Holly Herrera, University of Illinois, holly10@illinois.edu

File Your FAFSA NOW for a Happier New Year!


Parkland Students: It’s TIME to fill out the
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit it as soon as possible!  Waiting can keep you from getting the State of Illinois MAP Grant, Federal SEOG Grant, and/or Federal Work-Study that you might be eligible for—which run out earlier and earlier each year!

It is definitely worth your time to complete the FAFSA. Most students qualify for some form of aid, and even those who don’t qualify for grants still often borrow federal loans (but only after they’ve filled out the FAFSA!).

Need help filling out your FAFSA online (www.fafsa.gov)? Stop by the Office of Financial Aid and Veteran Services (Room U286) with your tax return copies, your FAFSA PIN (if you have one already), and any other required paperwork.

Also, visit our website for more information on financial aid deadlines at Parkland.

 

 

Boot Camp with Parkland College Community Education

Boot Camp with Community Education
Boot Camp with Community Education

I love to work out early in the morning. The best thing about it is that anything can happen during the day, and it is not going to get in the way of you getting your daily dose of exercise because you have already done it.

Parkland College offers a Boot Camp class through Community Education. It meets on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 6 to 7 a.m. with instructor Peg Olson. I have had the opportunity to fill in for Peg on occasion, and it is a great group of people who are very welcoming to newcomers.

Student Lynda Ramirez has taken many exercise classes with Parkland College, and she loves Boot Camp. Here’s what Lynda had to say about the Boot Camp class:

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Boot Camp had always intrigued me, but I didn’t think I was good enough to try it out. I met someone who was taking the class and found the courage to try it. That was more than a year ago! I regret that it took so long to find the courage, and wish that I had started a long time ago.

Boot Camp has something to offer everyone, no matter what the age, gender, fitness level or lack of fitness. Each person can work at their own ability level and put as much or as little into as they want; however, Peg Olson is able to bring out the best in everyone. The class is challenging for everyone, from the P90X guy to the person working out for the first time. Peg teaches modifications for every activity so that everyone can participate.

Boot Camp covers all types of fitness activities, both strength and cardio. Peg focuses on activities that incorporate as many muscle groups as possible. We don’t just do squats and lunges; we do them with a body bar held out in front of us. We don’t just run around the gym; we do it holding a weight over our heads. We don’t just do sit-ups; we do them with our feet up in the air holding a ball between our ankles. Peg never fails to find a way to make an activity more challenging!

I know that Boot Camp has made me a better person in many ways. I have made many friends and worked harder than I ever dreamed I could. At the age of almost 62, I can truly say that I am fitter and healthier than ever before. I have achieved goals that I didn’t think were possible. I will keep coming back every semester as long as I can. Fitness is important to every person, but I can attest that the older you get the more important it is. Exercise in the “second half” of life is no longer an option — it is a job. I want to be in the same wonderful shape as my mother who is 88 years old and walked eight miles with me last week.

Boot Camp is more than an exercise class. It is a family. The camaraderie is a major reason to keep coming back. New people are welcomed every semester and quickly made to feel part of the group. Everyone is encouraging and motivating. We celebrate each other’s successes. No one is more motivating and encouraging than Peg.

Boot Camp is a wonderful way to start the day. I feel like I accomplish more before 7 a.m. than a lot of people do in a day or even a week! I sometimes dread getting out of bed, but nothing beats the great feeling of making it through another class and the pride that I feel.

The next session of Boot Camp starts February 3, 2015. Registration is open now; call 217/353-2055.

What can you do with an English degree?

It’s a question I’ve heard over and over again: “What are you planning on doing with an English degree?” This is frequently accompanied by derision and/or unsolicited advice to change my major to something more lucrative.

Perhaps there is more job security in nursing and more financial stability in a business or engineering degree, but I believe it is far more rewarding to study what you love and, personally, I am happier around words than I am around numbers.

So, getting back to that pesky question, here are some things you can do with an English degree:

Teaching

This one is pretty obvious—I think many people automatically assume this is what most English majors plan to do with their degree. And while teaching is certainly not all that is available to English majors, it is nonetheless an excellent option. Elementary and secondary school teachers require teaching certifications, and college professors need a master’s degree.

Pre-professional Programs

College students majoring in English tend to be very well-rounded in their educations. They are taught to write well, analyze ideas, and communicate skillfully. This is why many with an English BA further their studies in fields like law, medicine, and business.

Publishing

People with English degrees are conversant in researching, editing, reading, and writing, and this makes them a good fit for jobs within the publishing industry. While these kinds of jobs are a little harder to come by, it is possible to work your way up through jobs such as an editorial assistant or a proofreader/copyeditor, or through internships.

Writing

This is another occupation that English majors are naturally suited for, but as with publishing, these jobs can be difficult to secure. Writing is also a multifaceted field—it includes journalism, technical writing, scientific writing, creative writing, and copywriting. Any Parkland College English major interested in writing should look at all their college transfer options for Writing minors or concentrations to accompany their English major upon transfer.

Advertising, Podcasts, Public Relations, Research Assisting, Speechwriting, Travel Writing, Movie Critiquing

The list goes on! There are tons of jobs out there for English majors, and a great place to find out more about it is Parkland’s Career Center in the U wing. You can take a career test and find out exactly what you’re suited for. Make sure you know all your options, and have fun exploring them!

[Marnie Leonard is a Parkland College Student Ambassador.]

Eek! It’s a MOS!

This time of the semester, you’ll hear a lot of talk about MOS among students in the Office Professional program. For some students, MOS is something they’d just as soon run away from. For others, it is viewed as a valuable opportunity to hone their skills and prove their expertise.

What’s a MOS?

So what is a MOS, anyway, and why can it be so scary?

MOS is an industry certification. It stands for Microsoft Office Specialist, and attaining MOS certification means you have demonstrated a certain level of expertise in an Office application. The certification is gaining recognition among employers who are looking for staff who not only know applications, but know them well.

There is a different MOS exam for each major Microsoft Office application. For Word and Excel, there are two levels of certification: Core (which requires passing one exam) and Expert (which comes in two parts, or two exams).

MOS exams are challenging. It’s not enough just to know how to use the software; you have to know how to use it to solve problems without being given step-by-step instructions. Sometimes they even test on skills not covered in class. As noted above, this is an industry certification, which means your Parkland instructors have no control over how it is created or scored. And though many of us are MOS-certified in one or more applications, we don’t even know exactly what’s on them. And if we did, we couldn’t tell you.

Here are a few more details regarding MOS exams:

  • MOS exams are project-based. The test candidate is presented a project to complete and some specific instructions regarding how to complete it.
  • Practice exams are available.
  • Taking a MOS exam requires agreeing to a non-disclosure agreement. This means that test-takers agree not to tell anyone the details of what’s on the exam.
  • Test results are given in the form of categories and percentages. We never know exactly which questions we got right, and which we got wrong.
  • Passing a MOS exam results in an immediate sense of accomplishment, which almost always translates to a big smile, happy feet, and perhaps even a spontaneous “Woohoo!”

How can you take a MOS exam?

MOS exams are administered at approved Certiport testing facilities, and you have a couple of options for taking them:

  • Purchase a voucher through Certiport, where the cost ranges from $100-$150, depending upon retake and study material options. Then, arrange a time with the testing facility of your choice, present your voucher and photo ID, and take the test.
  • Take an applications class through the CSIT Department at Parkland. Students who successfully complete CIS 131 (PowerPoint), CIS 134 (Excel), CIS 135 (Word), CIS 138 (Access) or CTC 119 (Outlook) are offered the opportunity to take the MOS exam for that application. Students who complete the courses via the equivalent CTC sequences are also eligible. For some courses, the MOS exam is required. For others, it is optional. In either case, work with your instructor to arrange an exam time at no additional cost to you.

What about multiple MOS certifications?

Some students take full advantage of the opportunity to get certified and take as many MOS exams as their program (or budget) allows. A few things can happen here:

  • They might earn Parkland’s Microsoft Application Specialist Certificate, which requires 14 hours of coursework (five courses, four applications) and passing at least three MOS exams.
  • They might become certified as a MOS Master.
  • They might advance professionally by their documented deep knowledge of software applications.

So, the next time you hear someone fretting about a MOS here on campus, there’s no need to glance nervously around the floor or jump onto the nearest chair. This is only a test.

Go ahead, get ahead.