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Options for College Success

Options for College Success
Evanston, IL
Options for College Success
1515 Maple Ave.
Suite 190
Evanston, IL 60201
icon name
Program Contact Samantha Kolkey, Executive Director
Program Contact Email
Phone 847.425.4797 ext 200
Website Program website
Facebook link to program Facebook page

OPTIONS FOR COLLEGE SUCCESS is a nonprofit organization located in Evanston, IL. whose purpose is to encourage neurodivergent young adults to develop the skills, courage, and confidence to transition into living independently, succeeding academically, and working productively. We offer both in-residence and day services, virtual and in-person. We provide our in-residence students with an independent living experience in apartments near our main center, with a resident advisor available. The program was established in 2009, and serves students aged 17 and older. We provide support in all areas of an individual’s life and customize all plans and services to best fit the strengths and goals of the individual. ABOUT OUR STUDENTS: Our students range in age and ability. Most students are on the autism spectrum, have ADHD, various learning disabilities, and/or struggle with clinical anxiety. Students come to our program as they exit high school, move on from their high schools' transition program, for students struggling in college and desiring supports to get them back on their desired track, students wanting a gap year, and for individuals seeking out more social opportunities. Note that Options for College Success is not directly affiliated with any college or university, but supports students academically in the schools of their choosing. In our most recent years, we have students attending Oakton Community College, DePaul University, Northeastern Illinois University, University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign and Chicago), College of Lake County, College of Dupage, Harper College, and Northwestern University. Other students attend Columbus State Community College, Northern Colorado University, University of Kansas, and Otterbein University.  Options for College Success does not require students to be engaged in post-secondary education opportunities. We also provide support services for those interested in exploring a career path and/ or developing strong independent living skills.

Program information submitted: February 15, 2022

Public or private: Private
Type of school:

A non-profit organization, not an accredited institute of higher education. Support program for post-secondary transition needs, including customized academic support, vocational support, independent living skills, executive function coaching, and social skills.

Is this program a federally funded TPSID program? No
Students in this program: Have graduated or exited from high school
Number of students: 32
Summer program name Options for College Success-Choices Program or A La Carte In-Residence
Description of our summer transition program:

Our summer program looks the same as our other programming, just with a summer start date. We tailor services and work with the family and student to determine the goals for the summer (in advance of the start date) in order to ensure that the student receives the support desired to achieve their goals. Summer programming has more opportunities for engaging in the community through social events and engagement. Executive Function skill development, independent living skills, and college readiness planning are areas of focus for those participating in summer only.

Summer program link: Options for College Success-Choices Program or A La Carte In-Residence
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 Summer Starts: March 15th; For Fall Starts: June 15th, For Winter/Spring Starts: November 15th.
Criteria for admission
  • Age range: 17-45
  • Individual must have some level of motivation and interest in our program.

Accepts out-of-state students? Yes
Please indicate which disabilities students in this program have:
  • Intellectual disability
  • Autism
  • ADHD, specific learning disabilities, generalized anxiety disorder, mild to moderate clinical depression, cerebral palsy.
Program length: Varies from student to student
Acceptance, Retention, and Completion Rates
Acceptance rate for the most recent fall term: 80.00%
Retention rate for first year students from the previous academic year to the current one: 95.00%
Is this program able to provide federal financial aid as a Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP)? No
Students pay for the program in the following ways:
  • Private pay (student and family)
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Funds
  • Grant Funding
  • Medicaid Waiver or Day Habilitation funds
Scholarships available:

Please contact the organization for more information. Specific scholarships are not available at this time.

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:

This varies from student to student since we customized all support services based on the individual's learning style, strengths, and desired goals. All of our academic students for the 2020-2021 school year enrolled in a college/university course. All students are supported in receiving accommodations. Not all students need to be engaged in academics. We have students engaged in a career/vocational path, too.

Students take courses that are only for students in this program: Yes
Information on special classes:

We offer workshops to our students, as well as interest-based groups. Current workshops are Healthier Relationships, Digital Literacy, and Executive Function skill development. We offer cooking lessons (individual and group). And, separately, we are implementing a nutrition-focused group incorporation cooking.

Percentage of academic time spent in inclusive courses (with students who don't have disabilities): 75-99%
Do all students in this program enroll in at least one inclusive college/university course for credit or audit each semester? No
Other than the credential listed above, can students earn any other credentials that are available to all students?

Students are supported in earning credentials: Associate's Degree, Applied Associate's Degree, Various Certifications, Bachelor's Degree, and more.

Students in the program have access to the following campus-wide services:
  • Career services
  • Disability/accessibility services
  • Academic tutoring 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: 95%
Other career development activities are:
  • Internships
  • Volunteer work
  • Community Service
Percent of students in this program that had paid work after exiting the program: 90%
Additional information about career development and work experience:

Of the students pursuing a career/vocational path, 95% of them had paid, competitive, integrative work.

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:
  • Inclusive off campus
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