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Who should consider this program?
Any individual over the age of 17 needing support to launch into independent adulthood.
Any individual over the age of 17 looking for a traditional college or young adult experience, and additional support is required.
What program formats are offered?Our organization prides itself on customization of services based on one's strengths and challenges. We offer a student-in-residence program which is considered full time for students who desire an independent living experience, need a structured schedule day to day, and hands on support daily to address independent living skills, academic support, and/or vocational support. This is program that has a flat rate tuition.
We offer a Choices program, in which services are chosen a la carte based on the needs of the student. These services can be paid for hourly, or a flat monthly rate can be established. Students can choose from any or all of our services. This program is similar to a day program or part time support.
Lastly, we offer a Skype/Telecommunications program format. This format is provided like the Chocies program format, but services are not provided at the center. This format is typically utilized by students who move out of state and need transitional support services. These transitional support services are determined based on the ongoing needs of the student
How long is your program?
The length of the program is determined by the individual goals, needs of each student, and program format. We offer a flexible, rolling admissions process for our students-in-residence program that can be started at any time and is not fixed to a semester's start date or new calendar year. Typically our students-in-residence program is 12 months long with the option to renew. On average, the students-in-residence participants stay with us for two to three years, with a transition plan and services provided as the student prepares to leave our program. Our Choices and Skype programs are catered more to students who may need semester by semester support, and is not time limited.
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 individualized plan, Options for College Success will assist them in obtaining a certificate and/or college degree (associate's to master's degrees), preparing for obtaining a job in their field of interest,and developing the wide variety of skills needed to safely and responsibly live independently. We do not provide a certificate of 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. Some state waiver funds and 529 ABLE funds can be utilized.
Is there 24 hour supervision?
We do not offer 24 hour supervision. We are not a residential treatment center. We do have a resident adviser residing in the community appartment building to be present for emergencies.
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. Developing the ability to understand, prepare and cope with difficult situations is part of our independent living skills services. 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 24/7 supervision. We understand students may have never lived on their own before and we are capable of handling adjustment issues.
If your student is on medication, they are required to be independetly medication compliant when in our students-in-residence program. We do understand that issues with medication compliance may arise and we can develop interventions to assist in this. However, if a student is not consistently medication compliant, the students-in-residence program may not be the best fit right away. We can develop a plan to assist your student in moving towards that.
What makes Options for College Success unique? Why Evanston?
Our program is indviidualized. There are no admissions requirements related to diagnoses or IQ scores. We listen to the family and student, along with any service providers, to determine how our program can be customized to address the specific goals and challenges of each individual. If your student is pursuing an academic path, we are able to work with any and all colleges. We do not work solely with one college or university.
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 call to talk with us about your student and schedule a tour of our center. It is best for the student to come with their family and then we may want to meet with your student seperately for a short amount of time. During this initial meeting we will discuss our program in depth and we want to hear from the family and student to determine the student's strengths, challenges and goals. After this, we can discuss how our program can be customized to best serve your student. We then invite you to complete the application for admissions. In addition to the application, and depending on the program format desired, we ask for the most recent IEP/504 plan (if applicable), the most recent neuropsychological/psychological evaluation, transcripts, copies of any ACT/SAT scores, vaccination records, as well as any recent reports from service providers. We encourage attendance at a social event or two in order for your student to experience what it is like being with the other participants and staff. We collaborste with any involved service providers if releases are signed.
How soon can a family hear back regarding the decision process?
All decisions are made within 10 to 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. We schedule meetings with the team as needed to review progress, problem solve, and develop more goals. Collaboration is key as the phrase "It takes a village" rings true.
What are the educational requirements to enter the program?
While some programs may have required academic benchmarks, we understand standard academic testing is not be the best way to measure competency. Students will be most successful when they are motivated to learn.
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 center 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 center focuses on being inclusive, with positive and individualized support.
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. With every accomplished task, we inspire confidence in our students.
What schools can your students attend?
Any community and junior colleges including The City Colleges of Chicago, Oakton Community College, Harper College, College of Lake County, Triton Community College, as well as any out of state community colleges.
Any colleges and universities granting Bachelor's Degrees: Columbia College, Illinois Institute of Art - Chicago, Kendall College, Lake Forest College, DePaul University, University of Illinois-Chicago, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Westwood College, Everest College, Northeastern University, North Park University, Chicago State University, East-West University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University Chicago, Midwestern University, National-Louis University, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, Roosevelt University, Saint Xavier University, Trinity International University, University of Chicago, as well as out of state colleges and universities.