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First Star Program Illinois State University

FREE Academic Support and College Immersion Program for high school Students

A youth on your caseload has been identified as a potential candidate for participation in the First Star Academy College preparation academic support program. This is a 100% FREE PROGRAM for youth in care and will provide not only ongoing academic support during high school, but also the opportunity to live on campus at Illinois State University for three weeks each summer of participation.

This is an exciting opportunity for our youth, as it offers crucial study skills, college preparedness, and life skills in a fun setting with peers. A limited amount of slots are available for youth in care who are currently high school students and residing in Central Illinois.

Meetings are on a monthly basis on designated Saturdays. The two-week summer immersion program on-campus is tentatively set to take place in June. Both the summer immersion program and the monthly meetings will be on campus at Illinois State University in Bloomington/Normal. Youth must commit to attend monthly Saturday Academy meetings to participate in the summer immersion program.

Please consider the traits below to determine if your youth might qualify for and benefit from this program.

  • Motivated and high-achieving: Students who demonstrate a strong desire to learn, who work hard at their studies, and who have shown through their academic record an aptitude to excel academically;
  • Poised for success in college: Students who have a sincere interest in furthering their education, who aspire to attend college after high school, and who are willing to seek out assistance and guidance in order to meet these goals;
  • Emotionally and psychologically well: Students who are open to receiving support for the challenges in their lives, who do not have a record of severe disruptions in home or school, and whose adult references can speak to their ability to succeed in a moderately structured environment;
  • Willing and able to work well with others: Students who can work independently and in groups, who are open to making new friendships, and who would benefit from mentorship supports;
  • Able to follow the program’s behavior code: Students who have a record of good behavior and attendance in school;
  • In a supportive environment: Students who either have a supportive and encouraging caregiver/guardian, or other adult guiding them through their education, or are open to a relationship with the Illinois State University staff members to serve in this capacity;
  • Self-sufficient: Students who are able to manage their own health, as well as commit to taking and self-administering their prescribed medication regularly and timely.

If this sounds like a high school aged student on your caseload, you are strongly encouraged submit the accompanying application to Stacey Wiggins,Interim Academy Director at . The application does require the student respond to personal questions, so it is important to discuss this opportunity and provide the application to the youth as soon as possible! Remind the student that he or she may have an existing project or essay from school that could be modified for the application. The creative portion of the application is optional, but should be encouraged especially for students with unique talents.

Please note : First Star Academy staff is willing to assist any youth who may desire support in completing the application or essay questions.

Thank you for encouraging all youth in care! 

First Star Academy at Illinois State Application (pdf)
First Star Academy at Illinois State Application (MS Word)