To be eligible to apply for the programs listed in Think College Search, students should have a documented intellectual disability. They may also have other disabilities such as autism, vision impairments, etc.
Each program has its own criteria for admission - but it will NOT include a regular high school diploma, SAT or ACT scores or a specific grade point average from high school. Because these programs use an alternative admission process, the standard things often asked for in a college admission process like a diploma, test scores and grades will not apply, but things like desire to go to college, wanting to live more independently and get a job after college will be important.
Find programs you are interested in and review their admission criteria on our website and then visit the program's website or call to find out more detail.
Intellectual disability is a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning (reasoning, learning, problem solving) and in adaptive behavior, which covers a range of everyday social and practical skills. This disability originates before the age of 18. To learn more about intellectual disability, visit this page featuring several frequently asked questions about intellectual disability.
People use several terms to describe these relatively new programs that offer a college education to students with intellectual disability. Many use the term "inclusive postsecondary education, or IPSE, to refer to this group of programs. Fundamentally, these are programs that offer an alternative admission process, and/or additional supports so that the unique needs of students with intellectual disability can be met. Students typically earn a certificate of some kind rather than a degree through these programs.
Even though the word "inclusive" is in the name, programs vary as to the degree to which students are fully included in all aspects of college life, including college classes and residence halls. You need to ask questions to determine the level of inclusion that is available at a specific college program.
Some programs will list that they serve students that are in high school (sometimes referred to as dually enrolled students). In these programs, the transition services provided under IDEA for students aged 18-21 are provided on a college campus. These programs may only be open to students in particular school districts while they are still in high school. We differentiate in our database by having programs indicate if they "serve students in high school". Note that several programs serve both transition students and students who have graduated from/left high school.