State Scholar Finalists
Each year (typically in November), ISAC announces the State Scholar Finalists. Students from nearly every high school in Illinois compete in the program. State Scholars can be found on the campuses of nearly 200 public and private institutions of higher education in Illinois. The combination of students’ exemplary college entrance examination scores and record high school achievement indicate an especially high potential for success in college. To be named an Illinois State Scholar is an outstanding accomplishment that will be a highlight of the recipient’s academic record.
As 2024-25 State Scholars are named, congratulatory letters are mailed directly to each Scholar, and corresponding Certificates of Achievement are made available to the high schools. High schools that participate in the early announcement option may generate the "Finalists" report from the SSP system after their State Scholars have been announced. Instructions for generating reports of the school's State Scholar Finalists and Non-Finalists are provided in the SSP Online Processing User Guide. High schools opting to include their students in the early announcement process may choose to either download and print their own Certificates or Achievement or wait for ISAC to mail them printed Certificates (along with a cover letter) after the final round of announcements takes place (usually in late fall). Typically, the Certificates are presented to Scholars during a high school honors ceremony, but may be distributed according to the preferences of each school.
If students or parents have questions regarding the selection process, high school counselors may choose to share with them the student's grade point average (GPA) or class rank data that was submitted to ISAC, and explain how that information factors into the formula used to determine State Scholar eligibility. The formula that is used to determine 2024-25 State Scholars is available on the State Scholar Selection Process page.
ISAC also assists Regional Offices, as well as high school counselors, in notifying local media of student accomplishments. After the final round of announcements is completed each year, a sample press release is provided to assist counselors with acknowledgement of State Scholars at their school. Counselors may complete the generic parts of the press release with the pertinent information and the names of individual scholars and send it to local newspaper, radio and television outlets so their students can be recognized for their academic achievement. In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, if listings are sent to the media, Social Security numbers must not be included.
Once a high school's students have been announced as 2024-25 State Scholars, no further changes can be submitted via the SSP system. Any corrections to already-submitted data would need to be submitted as follows:
- Corrections to data (for example, correcting the spelling of a name, or reporting that a student was designated as a State Scholar in error) can be made at any time after a Scholar is announced and must be submitted in writing to ISAC's School Services Department via a fax to 847.831.8549, via an e-mail to email@example.com, or via regular mail to our Deerfield address.
- High school counselors should refer to the Appeals page if they feel a student should have been designated as a State Scholar but was not. Appeals must be received at ISAC within 60 days following the announcement of the finalists. The deadline date for appeals regarding 2024-25 State Scholars is Wednesday, January 31, 2024.
*Beginning with next year's State Scholars processing cycle (i.e., for Illinois students who will be college freshmen during the 2025-26 academic year) – ISAC will no longer print Certificates of Achievement. Rather, all high schools will need to print these documents for their State Scholars. Instructions for downloading and printing Certificates of Achievement – functionality that becomes available after a student is named a State Scholar by ISAC – are provided in the SSP Online Processing User Guide.
Included in the congratulatory letter is information regarding a digital Illinois State Scholar badge issued by ISAC. The badge can be displayed on a State Scholar's online profiles and social media accounts, and shared with high school counselors, prospective colleges, employers, family members and others. Scholars may access their badges by visiting the State Scholar Program Badge area of the ISAC Student Portal (located in the Toolbox section) and then following the on-screen prompts. Complete instructions are available via the ISAC website.
Validating a Badge
Those with whom a Scholar shares their badge may wish to validate its authenticity. In order to do so, the Scholar will need to provide either a link (URL) to the badge or the badge ID.
- If the link (URL) has been provided: click on the link, which will launch the Badge Verification screen. The badge ID will automatically be populated, so they only need to click on "Check Badge ID."
- To verify a badge without the link (URL): the person will need to access the State Scholar Program Badge area (located within the Toolbox section of the ISAC Student Portal), click on "Badge Verification," enter the Scholar's badge ID, and then click on “Check Badge ID.”
A validated badge will display "Badge ID is valid for: (FIRST NAME) (LAST NAME)."