10 Tips to Help Prepare for College
As more people discover the programs available to students with ID, the more likely it is that the competition for these “classroom seats” will get greater and greater. Western Carolina University has put together 10 tips to best prepare your child for college.
1. The family is the key to success: Families have to realize the potential of their son or daughter from early in life and promote their full participation in life so that they can achieve as much independence as possible.
2. Know that the role of parents must change during the child’s life: Even though the mental development of your child may not be the same as that of others, your development as a parent must progress so that your child can progress as much as possible.
3. Be future focused: Make sure your son or daughter is fully involved in family activities, community organizations, and is taught in inclusive schools and classrooms. He or she should have chores and responsibilities, should learn that work is part of life, and should think about career options.
4. Have high expectations: Everyone can go to school, have interests, find a career (or two or three) and have a happy life in a happy home. The only thing that can get in the way is if there is not an expectation for this to happen.
5. Let your child take chances and make mistakes: On our college campus, we expect that our students will venture into new settings and activities, and that some of these will be a little risky. We try to guide them and help them avoid big mistakes, but, sometimes, experience is the best teacher.
6. Allow voice and choice: Individuals need to learn how to make their own decisions, have a say in their life activities, and know that risks and rewards can be a part of every decision.
7. Inclusion is essential: You cannot teach someone to live in a typical, heterogeneous world… they have to learn it through experience. Don’t accept anyone telling you your child cannot be included. With adequate support, everyone can!
8. When the time is right, get a job: One of our outcome goals is for graduates to work in a career of their choice in a community-based job after leaving our program.
9. Take advantage of “natural supports.”: Parents often try hard to get their son or daughter every type of service that is available, BUT, in our program, we recruit numerous college students to hang out with and support our UP students.
10. Share your success stories: When they apply, they include their newspaper clippings and their videos of television interviews, and we are generally very impressed. When your son or daughter achieves success, if you can, get it publicized. It lets us know you are a VERY proud parent.
For more information or to read the entire article “What can we do to increase the chance our child will be admitted?”
Remember Every student is unique, as is his or her requirements and goals for their college program. A wonderful tool that will help to identify the skills to gain and the experiences to have: College and Career Learning Plan (CCLP) This is used by some programs, but even if it is not, it can be used when searching for the right college for you. For more information about all college programs for students with ID, you can visit thinkcollege.net.
What is Think College? – A great source of information and support
Think College is the single, most comprehensive source of information and support for our community because it is “dedicated to developing, expanding, and improving research and practice in inclusive higher education for students with intellectual disability.” Toward that aim, this national organization works with both the students and their families, as well as directly with colleges/universities, government, and funding agencies.
Public awareness is key to any growing movement and Think College is spreading the news in a myriad of ways. Making their film, Rethinking College (https://thinkcollege.net/resources/rethinking-college), available throughout the nation is a powerful example of how they are helping to “change expectations and increase opportunities” four our children. Through the perspectives of parents, educators, advocates, policy leaders, and (most importantly) students, this film illustrates how colleges and universities can provide a setting for all students to grow, learn, and build toward better futures.
Think College website (www.thinkcollege. net) is a trusted source for information, training, and resources.