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First Star Program Illinois State University

FREE Academic Support and College Immersion Program for high school Students

Please complete the interest form is you would like to refer a student to First Star Academy.

Link to Interest Form

First Star Academy is accepting application for the next orientation. If slots are filled, students will be put on a waiting list. Both forms must be submitted in order to complete the application process. First Star staff will reply to applicants to notify them of their status.

Interested students must submit the Application and the Mandatory Caseworker/Counselor forms. 

NOTE: These forms must be submitted in order for an application to be processed. The student should complete the application. The Mandatory Caseworker/Counselor Form must be completed by one of the following: School Counselor, CASA, or Caseworker.

Link to application 

Link to Mandatory Caseworker/Counselor Form

First Star Academy is a 100% FREE PROGRAM for youth in care that provides not only ongoing academic support during high school, but also the opportunity to live on campus at Illinois State University for two 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.

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!