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Who should consider this program?
When a traditional college or young adult experience is desired but additional support is required.
We offer both a residential program which is full time for students who need a more structured schedule, where we can check in on them and their independent living skills. This is program that has a flat rate tuition.
We also offer a part time program, in which services can be paid for hourly. Students can still learn finance management and get tutoring for classes in addition to many other services. We do not offer a program for tutoring only.
How long is your program?
The length of the program is determined by the individual goals and needs of each student. We offer a flexible, rolling admissions process for our residential program that can be started at any time and is not fixed to a semester's start date or new calendar year. Typically our residential program is 12 months long with options to renew. Our part time program is catered more to students who may need semester by semester support.
Do you have a summer program?
We have started laying the foundation for a summer of 2017 program - we are hoping to secure dorm space for our incoming students at a nearby college facility to make it the most realistic college summer possible.
What do you expect the student to be able to do when they have completed the program?
Our goal is for all of our students to live happy, productive, and independent lives. Based on the student's curriculum, Options for College Success will assist them in preparing for obtaining a job in their field. We do not provide a certificate of completion, because we feel it's more important for the student to obtain accredited certificates from local colleges. A certificate showing proficiency in a computer program or a certain skill means more to future employers than a certificate of program completion.
How is the program funded?
Options for College Success is incorporated as a 501(c) 3 not for profit organization. While we apply for additional funding, our tuition is currently private pay. Some expenses may qualify as medical tax deductions. There are also some tax credits that we can provide information on.
Is there 24 hour supervision?
We do not offer 24 hour supervision. We do have a resident adviser living in the building with residential students.
My child has never lived on their own before. Is that a problem?
Transitional challenges are expected and are a part of our real world curriculum. This will promote rational thinking skills in a structured setting. Ability to understand, prepare and cope with difficult situations is part of our independent living skills program. This will help students make sound judgments about everyday life.
Students should have a desire to live independently and have the potential to live on their own, without constant supervision. We understand students may have never lived on their own before and we are capable of handling adjustment issues.
What makes Options for College Success unique? Why Evanston?
Students will learn to navigate a large city via public transportation. They will learn stops, routes, transfers and fares. This is part of our immersion curriculum. Being in Evanston allows easy access to the exciting city of Chicago. Planned excursions will expose students to a magnitude of cultural opportunities. Evanston is one of the top rated cities in Illinois for young adults. It is next to Lake Michigan, and even has beaches!
What is your admission process like?
First, you can schedule a tour of our facility. It is best for the student to come with their family. During the tour, we interview the student and family to talk about goals and create a plan. Afterwards, you can fill out our admission application. You will need to submit transcript and previous education or psychological evaluations.
Please note: We do reserve the right to ask every applicant and their family to also meet with our psychologist on staff.
How soon can a family hear back regarding the decision process?
All decisions are made within 30 days of receiving all applicable paperwork.
Do you have a waiting list for entry to the program?
No - we are always accepting new applicants, thanks to the structure of our rolling admissions.
What is your relationship with parents?
We work very closely with parents! We value opinions from parents, after all they know the young adult best! We foster open communication with parent via email, text, and phone. Parents are always aware of a student's progress.
What are the educational requirements to enter the program?
While some programs may have required academic benchmarks, we understand standard academic testing may not be the best way to measure competency. Students should have the ability to live independently to be successful in this program.
Do you have a meal program?
No, part of the success of independent living is preparing and cooking meals on your own. Therefore there is not a meal program, but students are encouraged to prepare food together and share meals at potluck dinners.
What is your facility like?
We offer a warm, family-like environment where students can come to study, get academic support, play games, prepare for interviews, have group activity sessions and more! Our facility focuses on being inclusive, with positive and individualized support. It is a keyed entry in a secure building, so you know that your students are safe with us.
Who is on your staff?
We have several tutors, a career counselor, a psychologist, a social worker and an extended network of a variety of professionals who are dedicated to each student's success. Other professionals include: speech pathologist, occupational therapist, psychiatrist, and professional support services. We can extend this network to fit the needs of each of our students.
If you have a doctor you're already working with and it would work best for you or your child to continue receiving services from this professional, we are more than willing to work with them if they are willing to support our services as well.
Tell me more about the independent living services component of your program.
As part of the independent living skills component of the program, students will have resource planning challenges like budgeting time and money. Food management skills are also enforced, like: shopping, meal preparation and cooking. We also help students apply for college classes, buy books, and apply for disability for services. They also learn how to navigate a college campus and allot enough time for transportation.
What kinds of students are most successful in your program?
Being responsible and motivated leads to success in this program. We create an environment for success by enforcing structure and continuity and by being positive, consistent, and punctual. We provide guidance so that students can thrive. We break all skills into subtasks so that students can easily achieve goals one step at a time. At every accomplished task, we inspire confidence in our students.
What schools can your students attend?
Community and Junior Colleges:
Richard J. Daley College, Harper College, College of Lake County, Malcolm X College, Moraine Valley Community College, Oakton Community College, Triton College, Harry S. Truman College, Harold Washington College, Wilbur Wright College
Colleges Granting Bachelor's Degrees: Columbia College, Hebrew Theological College, Illinois Institute of Art - Chicago, Kendall College, Lake Forest College, Lexington College, Moody Bible Institute, St. Augustine College, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Westwood College, Everest College
Universities: Chicago State University, DePaul University, East-West University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University Chicago, Midwestern University, National-Louis University, North Park University, Northeastern University, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, Robert Morris University, Roosevelt University, Saint Xavier University, Trinity International University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago