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Options for College Success

Options for College Success
Various locations
Options for College Success
1515 Maple Ave.
Suite 190
Evanston, IL 60201
icon name
Program Contact Samantha Kolkey
Program Contact Email
Phone 2246610626
Website Program website
Facebook link to program Facebook page

Options for College Success is a 501c3 nonprofit organization located in Evanston, IL near Northwestern University. The organization offers a post-secondary support program that provides highly individualized direct services, groups, and social opportunities for neurodivergent young adults and adults. Participants who attend the program may be pursuing post-secondary education options through a certificate program, vocational school, community college, and/or 4-year college/university, carving out and pursuing a meaningful career path, and developing and implementing skills necessary for independent living. The program is not associated with any specific college or university, so individuals can attend any school.
The organization works from the neurodiversity model where we believe all brain wiring is unique, and there is nothing bad, wrong, or deficient about neurodivergent brains. This model moves away from the medical model of disability and leans into the social model of disability. This model creates a safe and affirming space for the participants to be empowered by their neurodivergence and take agency of their own life.
Services include academic support and tutoring, vocational skills development and support, independent living skills (cooking, cleaning, transportation, self-advocacy, etc.), financial literacy, executive function coaching (group and individual), and interpersonal and relational advising. Groups offered are interest-based and skill-based, and there are social opportunities available every day of the week. All offerings can be received a la carte (picking and choosing services that are desired) or in-residence where the individual lives near the organization's center and get the experience of living independently with hands-on and in-environment learning. There is minimal oversight after hours but a person is on call for emergencies.

Program information submitted: January 11, 2023

Public or private: Private
Type of school: Options for College Success is a support program for post-secondary transition needs, including individualized academic support, vocational support, independent living skills, financial literacy, executive function coaching, and social opportunities. We are a 501c3 nonprofit.
Is this program a federally funded TPSID program? No
Students in this program: Have graduated or exited from high school
Number of students: 28
Description of our summer transition program:
Program serves students who have left high school? Yes, all of our students have left high school
Regular high school diploma required? No, an IEP/non-standard diploma/certificate of attendance is accepted
Deadline to apply to this program: For Fall start (August), applications are due by June 15th. For a Summer start/program (June), applications are due March 15th, and for a Winter start (January), applications are due November 15th
Criteria for admission
  • Student must be 18 or older
  • Motivation to work with the program. For the in-residence program, the individual must be medication compliant, be able to feed themselves and make basic food items like sandwiches, heating up a frozen meal, etc., and tend to their own basic hygiene.
Accepts out-of-state students? Yes
Please indicate which disabilities students in this program have:
  • Intellectual disability
  • Autism
  • ADHD, specific learning disabilities, mild-moderate anxiety disorders and mood disorders, cerebral palsy.
Program length: Varies from student to student
Acceptance, Retention, and Completion Rates
Acceptance rate for the most recent fall term: 95.00%
Retention rate for first year students from the previous academic year to the current one: 90.00%
Average student tuition and fees for the current school year: $48700.00
Room and board: $21600.00
Program fees: $7500.00
Is this program able to provide federal financial aid as a Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP)? Pending (we have applied to become a CTP but have not yet been approved)
Students pay for the program in the following ways:
  • Private pay (student and family)
  • Adult intellectual/developmental disability state agency funds
  • Grant Funding
  • Medicaid Waiver or Day Habilitation funds
Students enrolled in this program take the following types of inclusive courses (with students who don't have disabilities):
  • Typical college courses for credit
  • Typical college courses for audit
  • Typical Continuing Education courses
More about course access: Some participants in the program are not on an academic path. Those that are pursuing academics, they can choose to take college credit courses, and almost all do.
Students take courses that are only for students in this program:
Percentage of academic time spent in inclusive courses (with students who don't have disabilities): 100%
Do all students in this program enroll in at least one inclusive college/university course for credit or audit each semester? Yes
Other than the credential listed above, can students earn any other credentials that are available to all students? They can attend any accredited institution of their choosing and earn a certificate.
Students in the program have access to the following campus-wide services:
  • Career services
  • Disability/accessibility services
  • Academic tutoring services
  • Health services
  • Access to a transcript via the registrar
  • Academic advising services (not program staff)
Percent of students in this program have paid work while attending the program: 90%
Other career development activities are:
  • Internships
  • Volunteer work
  • Community Service
Percent of students in this program that had paid work after exiting the program: 97%
Additional information about career development and work experience: We encourage and offer to set up informational interviews, we work with companies that have neurodiversity hiring initiatives, and collaborate with a participant's department of rehabilitation case worker (if they have one). Participants are not placed in jobs.
Does this program have a working partnership with VR to provide funding, supports and/or services to students in the program? Yes
Housing is provided to students: Yes
Housing options available:
  • The program has relationships with a couple of property management companies that manage apartments within .5 miles of the main center. The program connects the individual and their family to these companies to lease an apartment. The organization embarked on a housing initiative project in 2022, and it is continuing. Please connect with the program for more information.
Percentage of social time spent in inclusive activities (open to all students on campus): 75-99%
Students may participate in the following extra-curricular activities
  • Registered student organizations
  • Student government
  • Club sports
  • Campus events
  • Study abroad
  • Fraternities/sororities
Students participate in these campus-wide events:
  • College/University's Student orientation
  • College/University's Family orientation
  • College/University's Graduation