College Bound Academy
The four-day College Bound Academy will prepare autistic students, ages 14 to 22, who use augmentative and alternative communication to transition to higher education. Participating students and their communication partners will: 1) Improve their knowledge of postsecondary options, including accommodations and supports; 2) Acquire knowledge of the college application process; 3) Develop knowledge of college readiness skills; 4) Create a transition plan that outlines individualized goals for college transition; 5) Cultivate a network of college-prepared peers and supports. Workshop materials are designed by autistic self-advocates and leading scholars who have published research on supporting the needs of students with autism in college. This participatory workshop requires students to engage and interact using open-ended spelling or typing communication skills.
Who is leading the College Bound Academy?
The program will be led by Dr. Edlyn Peña, Director of the Autism and Communication Center, and Dr. Jodie Kocur, faculty associate of ACC. Support staff will include college student peer mentors, including autistic college students who use letter boards and keyboards to communicate. Guest speakers with expertise in college admissions and college readiness will deliver interactive presentations.
What does the College Bound Academy involve?
Day 1—Orientation and Welcome Dinner (5–8 p.m.)
• Review program and student expectations
• Meet program staff, peer mentors, and autistic mentors
• Community building
Day 2—College Exploration (9 a.m.–2 p.m.)
• Research degree options, college programs, disability support services and accommodations, and financial aid.
• Create excel sheet with personalized postsecondary options
Day 3—College Application Process (9 a.m.–2 p.m.)
• Discuss application deadlines, meet with a high school and/or college counselor, write personal statements, take the SAT, request letters of recommendation, and IEP participation.
Day 4—College Readiness Skills (9 a.m.–2 p.m.)
• Discuss time management, executive functioning, communication with faculty, self-advocacy, self-care.
• Finalize transition plan and goals
• Receive AAC College Bound Academy completion certificate in closing ceremony
Registration is $590 for each student and communication partner pair. This includes materials, dinner on Day 1, and lunch and snacks on Days 2 through 4. Participants are responsible for travel, lodging, and other food expenses. Registration for additional family, friends, or professionals who want to participate is $100 each to cover food and materials for all four days.
Register by April 15, 2018