Academic Talent Search

Academic Talent Search (ATS) is one of the Federal TRiO Programs funded 100% by the Department of Education. Located in the same office at JWCC’s Student Support Services, the program is dedicated to assisting students in identifying and maintaining healthy academic habits from elementary through high school. Our goal is to ensure that students have access to the tools and resources available to be successful in higher education. We assist students in pursuit of various programs of study, including vocational & trade schools, business schools, two & four year colleges, and universities.

How to apply?

There is an enrollment form that must be completed to see if your child is eligible. If you have any questions, stop by our office located inside John Wood Community College at 1301 South 48th Street in Quincy, give us a call at 217.641.4343, or email us.

Who is eligible?

ATS Advisors target youth in grades fifth through twelfth (5-12) at various participating schools (listed below), who reside in the JWCC district. Academic Talent Search also serves dropouts by assisting them in reentering the educational system.

Parents of the students must be a US Citizen, income must meet Federal guidelines, and/or neither parent must not have received a bachelor’s degree.

Eligible students must have a C or above average in all school subjects and have an interest in Post-Secondary education.

Schools we currently serve, include:

  • Baldwin
  • Bluffs
  • Brown County
  • Camp Point Central
  • Denman
  • Griggsville/Perry
  • Iles
  • Liberty
  • Lincoln-Douglas
  • Meredosia
  • Payson
  • Pike County Christian Academy
  • Pittsfield
  • Pleasant Hill
  • Quincy Junior High
  • Quincy Senior High
  • Rooney
  • Southeastern
  • St. Mary’s Mt. Sterling
  • Unity
  • Western

How are participants chosen?

Students may enter the program in a variety of ways. Advisors go into classrooms, explain the program to students, and send information home for parents/guardians to review. We also receive referrals from school counselors, teachers, principals, current participants, parents, relatives, community agency personnel, or just by word of mouth.

What services are available?

Services for 5th-8th graders:

  • School Survival, Goal Setting, & Self-Esteem
  • Time Management
  • Academic Advising
  • Study Skills
  • Career Developing Activities
  • Educational and Cultural Activities
  • Financial Literacy

Services for 9th-12th graders:

  • Financial Aid and Scholarship Application Assistance
  • ACT Preparation
  • College Preparation and Selection
  • Campus Visits
  • College Information (College and Vocational Resources & Tools)
  • College Application Process (Entrance Requirements, Proper Documentation, etc.)
  • Educational and Cultural Activities

Our Mission

To assist participants in making informed career choices, completing their high school diploma, and obtaining information and guidance in their pursuit of a college education.

Here are some of the services provided to meet our mission:

  • Academic Advising
  • Study Skills
  • Career Development Activities
  • Time Management
  • School Survival
  • Goal Setting
  • Financial Literacy
  • Financial Aid Information
  • Scholarship Application Assistance
  • ACT Preparation
  • College Preparation and Selection
  • Campus Visits
  • College Information
  • College Application
  • Educational and Cultural Activities

ATS Advisors / Staff

Cindy Unmisig
Email Cindy

Kim Bricker
Email Kim


Paula Chapman
Email Paula

Kira Houghton
Email Kira

ATS receives 100% of its funding through a grant [$303,284] from the U.S. Department of Education with in-kind support from JWCC.