What is The College Experience and who manages it?

The College Experience program was collaboratively developed by The College of Saint Rose and Living Resources. The program launched in 2005, and remains just one of a handful of academic programs in the nation that serve the developmentally disabled population post High School graduation.

The objective of the program is to give students with intellectual disabilities opportunities similar to their siblings and high-school peers. These students have the chance to attend college in order to transition to independent adult life, but with accommodated instruction that addresses students’ needs for practical living and working skills.

What is the academic program like?

Professors in The College Experience program combine their expertise in classroom and collegiate-level teaching with their knowledge of the needs of individuals with disabilities to create an atmosphere that is ripe for learning.

Master’s and doctoral-qualified adjuncts from The College of Saint Rose teach a wide range of programs designed with our students in mind. Our graduates leave prepared to begin the next chapter of their lives with the skills and experience they need to succeed in the real world.

General education courses may include:

  • Cooking I
  • Cooking II
  • Advanced Internship Seminar
  • Integrated Independence Seminar
  • Personal Finance I & II
  • Health & Wellness
  • Computer Applications
  • Community Explorations and Recreational Planning
  • Post-Graduation Enrichment Exploration

Elective courses may include:

  • Civics
  • Interpersonal Communications
  • Psychology
  • Music Appreciation
  • Practical History
  • American Political Culture
  • Art
  • Creative Writing
  • Fashion

What are the living arrangements like?

True independence starts for our students when they move out of their family home and into a residence with their peers. Four off-campus residences, located in a safe and friendly neighborhood, house our freshmen and senior students. Freshmen, year 1, and seniors, year 2, live together in groups of 3-6 and learn to share the responsibilities of off-campus living. Each student has their own bedroom and shares common living areas. Seniors act as mentors to our freshmen and assist them in many meaningful ways. Living with housemates allows students the opportunity to improve their skills in communication, problem solving and conflict resolution.

All students have their own bedroom and share common areas. All bedrooms come furnished with a twin bed, dresser and desk.

The residences are located within walking distance of The College of Saint Rose and many local businesses, such as:

  • Price Chopper
  • CVS
  • Madison Theater
  • Subway
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Bruegger’s Bagels
  • Citizens Bank
  • U.S. Post Office
  • Pine Hills branch of the Albany Public Library

What qualities do you look for in an ideal student?

Students must have a strong drive to succeed and live independently. We want to see that the student has the motivation to achieve their goals. Students must exhibit the desire to continue classroom learning and participate in events on campus and in the community.

What skills are needed to be successful in the program?

Students are most successful when they have academic skills equivalent to the 4th grade reading/writing level or better, basic math skills and the ability to use a calculator. Students should have experience being independent in the community and be safe without direct supervision.

What kind of support services are offered?

Living Resources resident instructors are available during evening hours to teach our students independent-living skills. Each student sets personal goals, and staff assists in meeting these goals. With the help of residence instructors, students acquire skills necessary for apartment living, such as cooking, cleaning and getting along with housemates.

Goals program graduates have achieved:

  • Money management
  • Grocery shopping and cooking
  • Nutrition and fitness
  • Medical and stress management
  • Communication and socialization
  • Household chores, including using a laundromat
  • Time management
  • Transportation and safety awareness

Who is eligible to apply?

Students with an intellectual disability are eligible to apply. However, while our program is designed for students with intellectual disabilities, our program is not able to support all students. Call today to find out if The College Experience is right for you.
Students can apply either using their OPWDD Medicaid Waiver in conjunction with their SSI benefits or they can apply under private pay and fund their stay with tuition. Students do not have to be a NYS resident or have the Medicaid Waiver to apply under private pay.

Applicants can apply to the program prior to acceptance in the OPWDD waiver and or SSI benefits, however, if the applicant is accepted into the program, both the waiver and SSI must be obtained before starting in the fall.

What are the costs?

If applying to the program under the NYS OPWDD Medicaid waiver, the program is fully paid and all expenses are covered by the NYS OPWDD Medicaid Waiver and Social Security Benefits (SSI).

If applying for the program under the tuition option, students pay yearly tuition which have monthly payment plans with the College. All costs associated with the program are covered in the tuition, with the exception of personal spending money. Call today to find out more information about private tuition and payment plan options!

At what age should I apply?

We do not have a required specific age for student applications.  Students readiness for this program varies from student to student. We suggest all students apply for the program one year prior to their desired start date, the program begins in August. Students do however need to finish High School prior to entering. We will work with families and school districts who are looking to receive funding from their district for tuition assistance.

When should I begin the process of applying to the program?

Students should begin by attending a tour one year prior to applying. The application process takes approximately one year and works on rolling admissions. The program is competitive. To begin, contact our Admissions Coordinator, Colleen Dergosits.

How accessible is the program?

The College Experience offers a housing option which is fully accessible! All students must be independent with their activities of daily living.