Because college entrance is based on eligibility, many students with learning, intellectual, and developmental disabilities may not meet entrance requirements for typical college coursework. To help students lay the foundation for their college experience, and to provide a transition period from high school to higher education, we offer our College Prep Program.
Moving from a school or program where the student is fully supported to a higher education environment, where a student is expected to have a higher level of independence, can be overwhelming. That’s why our College Prep program focuses on building skills students need to succeed in college and in adult life, as well as in the workplace.
How College Prep Works
The curriculum in our College Prep program is designed to help students harness their own ability to locate, organize, plan, initiate, self-monitor, and shift — all skills they will need later in life. We know that, for many students, this is the first time they are responsible for their own education and success.
Our College Prep program is supported by the Metropolitan State University of Denver School of Education and students attend two days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. College Prep students take four IHECP classes a semester.
During the first semester of College Prep, students take:
- Learning How to Learn
- Self-Advocacy on Campus and in the Workplace
- Skills for College Life 101
- Digital Literacy
The second semester includes:
- Learning How to Study
- Financial Literacy 101
- Skills for College Life 102
- A class in the student’s area of interest.
Interest area courses have included:
- Food and beverage management, culminating in a certificate conferred by the National Restaurant Association
- Unified Sports Coaching, culminating in a certificate conferred by the National Federation of High School Sports
- HTML and CSS website design, culminating in a certificate conferred by Coding Autism
- Filmmaking: From Script to Screen
- Early Childhood Education
- The Organized Teacher
- Public Speaking
- And more
In our College Prep program, students have homework and manage their own schedule while learning how to be an accountable and responsible adult college student in a supported environment.
The skills we focus on in College Prep include:
- Executive function
- Assistive technology
- Digital literacy
- Social skills
But most of all, in IHECP College Prep, students are introduced to the concepts of self-determination, self-advocacy, and taking action.
Some students who want more of a challenge in College Prep have also taken university elective coursework as Hybrid students during their second semester with College Prep instructor approval.
Outcomes of College Prep
The IHECP College Prep program bridges the gap between high school and college and supports students to participate in college at a higher level of independence. This opens up the opportunity for students to attend college (for audit or credit) down the road and is the foundational transition that gives students the skills they need to learn to be successful on campus and in the classroom. Students also:
- Learn college and career preparedness skills
- Earn a certificate of completion
- Decide to move onto Inclusive Support Services as a non-credit-seeking college student
- Decide to challenge themselves as credit-seeking students with Academic Coaching services