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HOW TOCONDUCTING A COLLEGESEARCH: QUESTIONS TOASK COLLEGE PROGRAMSCollegeIssue No. 1 (Updated 2019)Conducting a college searchis a daunting task for everyfamily and every potentialcollege student. All students need tothink about factors such as the size ofthe college, its location, and whetheror not to live on campus or at home(see Figure 1).For students with intellectual disability(ID), there are some additionalaspects to consider beyond thedetails you can learn in Think CollegeSearch. This resource providesquestions, suggested by parents andstudents who have been through thecollege search process.These questions may be answered byclosely reviewing the college programwebsites, attending an Open House,or calling the program director. Agreat place to identify possible optionsis Think College Search, a searchabledatabase of college programs on theThink College website. There youwill find basic information on over270 college programs for studentswith intellectual disability. Learn moreabout it on page 2.By Cate WeirFigure 1. Sample College FeaturesLocationHousingSizeStart by gettinga list of basiccollege featuresthat areimportant.AcademicsProgramLengthCostThis guide shares questions about important aspects of the college program,and are offered to help students and families learn as much as they can aboutprogram operations so they can make an informed choice about which college isbest for them. Several questions are suggested in each of the ten areas below.AdmissionFees, Tuition, &Financial AidInclusion withthe dministration with ParentsDevelopmentCollegeINSTITUTE FOR COMMUNITY INCLUSION, UMASS BOSTONAcademicsHousingProgramOutcomes

SEARCHUse Think College Search to create a list of colleges that offer what you want.Think College Search is an online listing of postsecondary education programs for students with IDthat are affiliated with an accredited institute of higher education.ADVANCED SEARCHAND FILTERSSearch by program,keyword, location andprogram features. Filter bydisability, type of school,and length of program.UP-TO-DATE LISTINGS272 college programslisted*. More areadded as they open.*As of June 2019COMPREHENSIVEFind detailed programinformation, includingdeadlines, acceptance rates,career development activities,and more.CREATE A LIST OFFAVORITESClick Save on anyprogram you’re interested in.DOWNLOADABLE DATAThe listing that is generatedcan be emailed ordownloaded as an Excel file.QUICK LOOKFind basicinformation fast withthe click of a button.COLLEGE COMPARISONCompare your favoriteprograms on 6 key features: Program length Housing availability Accepts out of statestudents Financial Aid availability(CTP) Application Due Date Costwww.thinkcollege.net/college-search

ADMISSIONAdmissionrequirements anddeadlines for theseprograms varywidely – be sure tonote these as youreview the programinformation.»» How many students apply each year? How many are accepted?How many students are you interviewing?»» Do you accept out of state students? Do you have any out of statestudents currently?»» What are your admission criteria? What testing is required, if any?»» Are students who are under guardianship accepted?»» What are the timelines/deadlines for the application process?When will students be notified of your admission decision?»» What do you suggest admitted students do over the summer toprepare for a successful transition to campus life in the fall?»» My questions regarding admission:How To Think College, Issue 1 (updated): Questions to Ask College Programs

FEES,TUITION, ANDFINANCIAL AIDLook for this icon inCollege Search tofind the programsthat offer access tofederal student aid.If college programsbecome an approvedComprehensiveTransition Program(CTP), students haveaccess to federalstudent aid, even ifthey don’t have aregular high schooldiploma and are notseeking a degree.»» What is the total cost to attend your program, per year?»» Is your program an approved CTP and able to offer access tofederal student aid for your students?»» How do students pay to attend? Do students use vocationalrehabilitation funds, community agency funds, personal funds,federal financial aid, scholarships, or other resources?»» If a student is accepted, when will payment be due? Is there apayment plan available?»» My questions regarding fees, tuition, and financial aid:How To Think College, Issue 1 (updated): Questions to Ask College Programs

INCLUSION WITHTHE CAMPUSCOMMUNITYAlthough studentsmay enter theseprograms through analternate admissionprocess, once oncampus they shouldhave a very typicalexperience.»» Aside from program faculty and staff, who is your program’sbiggest advocate on campus?»» What are some campus activities that your students haveparticipated in? Are Greek life, intramural or club sports, andother student activities open to students in your program? Arethere any campus services or activities that students in theprogram are not allowed to access?»» How, if at all, is your program included in the university’s overalldiversity and inclusion efforts?»» How important is full inclusion to your program?»» How do you support students to be fully included in college life?»» Do the students participate in a typical college graduation?»» Are students in your program considered enrolled students in theuniversity? Do they have alumni benefits when they complete thecertificate program?»» My questions regarding inclusion with the campus community:How To Think College, Issue 1 (updated): Questions to Ask College Programs

ACADEMICSParticipation intypical collegecourses should be akey element of anyinclusive collegeprogram.»» What are the required courses and learning activities (i.e.internships, community service, etc.) that students must do toearn a certificate?»» How many special or separate classes are there for students withID? Who teaches the separate classes?»» How many typical college courses do students take per semester?»» How much choice do students have in the courses they take eachsemester?»» Are students from the program able to take a wide range oftypical college courses?»» What supports does the program provide to the professors oftypical college courses that students take?»» Do students have the option of taking courses for credit?»» Do students get a transcript?»» How are accommodations and modifications set-up?»» My questions regarding academics:How To Think College, Issue 1 (updated): Questions to Ask College Programs

HOUSINGEven at residentialcolleges, housingmay not yet beavailable forstudents in theseprograms.Look for this icon inCollege Search tofind the programsthat offer access tostudent housing.»» Where do students live? Is it all in one house or dorm, or all overcampus? Are there different arrangements for first year students?»» How are roommates selected?»» Can students in the program choose a roommate?»» Do students with and without disabilities live together?»» What supports does the program provide students living oncampus?»» Is support always available? If not, is there a plan for emergencies?»» How are the RAs and other Resident Life staff trained andsupported by the program?»» Are there special rules for students with ID that do not apply toother students, for example, a curfew?»» How is safety and security for the students in campus housingbalanced with freedom?»» Are there rules that only apply to students in the program?»» Are there additional staff or residence hall assistants or just thesame ones that work with all students in the dorm?»» Is there a summer orientation or other strategy to teach skillsneeded on campus to be safe?»» Are students held to the same Code of Conduct as other studentson campus?»» My questions regarding housing:How To Think College, Issue 1 (updated): Questions to Ask College Programs

SUPPORTSTypes of supportand hours ofavailability can varyquite a bit fromprogram to program.»» What supports are provided to students to help them attendclasses, take part in activities, and become more independent?»» Do you provide peer mentors? How are they trained andsupervised?»» How are students matched with peer mentors and support staff?»» Can you provide examples of natural supports on campus availableto students?»» Is there always access to support as needed, or are there times ofthe day/week when students do not have access to support?»» Are students required to have a support person or mentor withthem at all times?»» My questions regarding support services:How To Think College, Issue 1 (updated): Questions to Ask College Programs

PROGRAMADMINISTRATIONKnowing whatkinds of staff theprogram employscan help you assessthe priorities ofthe program as wellas the level andkinds of support thestudent can expect.»» How many full-time and part-time employees are there?»» What kind of experience and training do the programadministrators and staff have?»» Are program staff employed by the college? If not, who do theywork for?»» What hours are program staff available?»» Who is the best contact person when family members havequestions or concerns?»» My questions regarding program administration:How To Think College, Issue 1 (updated): Questions to Ask College Programs

COMMUNICATION WITH PARENTSColleges needto follow therequirements of theFamily EducationalRights and PrivacyAct (FERPA), afederal law thatprotects the privacyof student educationrecords.»» How do you handle FERPA requirements while communicatingimportant information with families?»» What role, if any, do the parents have in the development of thestudent’s individualized program and support?»» Are there any limitations on which college staff parents cancommunicate with?»» What communication strategies are used with parents?»» My questions regarding communicating with families:How To Think College, Issue 1 (updated): Questions to Ask College Programs

CAREER DEVELOPMENTData show thatpaid work incollege leads tobetter employmentoutcomes aftercollege.»» What types of part-time work dostudents in the program have?»» What are the qualifications of thestaff working with students on careerdevelopment?»» What supports do you have to helpstudents find a paid job while attending college?»» My questions regarding career development:PROGRAM OUTCOMESCollege programsfor students withID nationally arereporting close to70% employmentrate for graduatesone year aftergraduation.»» What certificate or credential do students earn when they graduatefrom the program? Has it been approved by your college or university?»» What are the graduation rates?»» What types of careers have your graduates gone on to?»» What are employment rates for your graduates?»» Where do your graduates typically live after they graduate?»» My questions regarding program outcomes:How To Think College, Issue 1 (updated): Questions to Ask College Programs

Explore these additional resources onthe Think College website to get moreinformation about the college search process.Families Think CollegeThe Families ThinkCollege Facebookpage is a closed groupdesigned for familiesto communicate easilywith one another aboutpreparing for college.Family ResourcesThe Family Resources pageincludes answers to somefrequently asked questionsand guidance to differentareas of the Think Collegewebsite that families mightfind useful.Learn more @ www.thinkcollege.netInnovation ExchangeLearn more about howto pay for college on thisInnovation Exchange page.Find an archived webinarfrom financial experts, linksto scholarship opportunities,and helpful ways to save forcollege without jeopardizingyour child’s disability benefits.HOW TO THINK COLLEGE, ISSUE NO. 1 (UPDATED 2019)ABOUT THE AUTHORHOW TO THINK COLLEGE is a publication of Think College, a project of theInstitute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston,funded by the Office of Postsecondary Education (Grant No. P407B15002).The opinions contained in this document are those of the grantee and do notnecessarily reflect those of the funders.CATE WEIR is the Project Directorfor the Think College NationalCoordinating Center and hasworked in the field of inclusivepostsecondary education forover 15 years. One of the mostrewarding aspects of her work issupporting parents and studentsto make informed choices aboutcollege options.Recommended citation for this brief: Weir, C. (2019). Conducting a CollegeSearch: Questions to Ask College Programs. How To Think College, Issue No.1 (updated). Boston, MA: University of Massachusetts Boston, Institute forCommunity Inclusion.CollegeCHANGING EXPECTATIONS. INCREASING /thinkcollegewww.twitter.com/thinkcollegeICI

This guide shares questions about important aspects of the college program, and are offered to help students and families learn as much as they can about program operations so they can make an informed choice about which college is best for them. Several questions are suggested in each of the ten areas below.