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Your Dollars @ Work: Preparing students for the transition to college!

This Your Dollars @ Work post is about College Success, a recipient of a Brian and Patricia Kelly Postsecondary Scholarship Fund grant last year. This program provides funding for scholarships to two and four-year colleges, transition programs, vocational programs and more. This year's application is open through this Friday, October 30th. Learn more and encourage programs in your area to apply today!

Thank you for sponsoring College Success, our collaborative project between the University of St. Thomas and Minnesota Life College targeted at providing students with ASD at any university across the country with supports in all areas of college life to impact graduation and quality of life.  We had students attend from as far away as Alaska and the east coast. It was a highly successful experience for the students who attended!

Part of this project was a summer pre-orientation program (POP) focused on early access and preparing individuals with ASD for transition from the secondary to postsecondary environment to provide a seamless progression. The summer program merged academic supports with nonacademic social and functional interventions to meet the unique needs of students with ASD. The summer program was embedded with strategies to promote students with ASD’s self-determination and adaptive skills. Attending the summer of 2015 was a mix of males and females from the east coast to Alaska.

Associate professor Lynn Stansberry Brusnahan was thrilled with the confidence the high school juniors and seniors (about to be college freshmen) gained over the course of a week. One student gained the confidence to move from taking only online courses to taking courses on campus.

Students commented that they were "absolutely more prepared" for college after this experience. One student, who had not belonged to any extracurricular activities in high school, said he learned that he needed to get more involved in his upcoming college's activities after having such a great week with peers.  One student commented that he learned that the college campus is much different than high school. He was looking forward to the fresh start. He called it pushing the "reset" button. In addition, University of St. Thomas graduate students in the Department of Special and Gifted Education were able to gain valuable experience working with transition aged students.  

Learn more about the Brian and Patricia Kelly Postsecondary Scholarship Fund! Application closes this Friday, October 30th.

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.