Program helps students with disabilities succeed in college

LINCOLN, IL — Lincoln College’s Academy of Collegiate Collaboration for Effective Student Success (ACCESS) is celebrating 10 years of successfully supporting students with learning disabilities succeed and graduate college.

Each academic year between 20 and 30 students are enrolled in the ACCESS Program. The nationally recognized program is known for its success in helping students with AD/HD, learning disabilities and other disabilities that impact executive functions to succeed in college.  Lincoln College’s ACCESS program is one of only a small number of specialized programs offered across the country for students with learning disabilities.

Jessica Hood, ACCESS Coordinator says, “ACCESS is a unique program, because not only are we helping to bridge the learning gap with accommodations, organization and structure, but we are also helping students build confidence and embrace who they are.”

The program follows the social model of disability wherein students are offered opportunities to compensate for their disability with appropriate strategies. This model increases students’ self-efficacy as they are encouraged to pursue their strengths while having the support of an ACCESS coach to assist with areas of weakness.

Hood reinforces the importance of helping students transition to college.   “The ACCESS program is very important for our students with different abilities because not only does it help provide organization and accountability, but we help to transition the student from high school to college which can be a scary thing for students with a disability” said, Hood.

Students enrolled in the ACCESS Program are provided assistance in the form of personalized academic coaching sessions, group meetings with other ACCESS students, an ACCESS Prep Week consisting of an intensive five day seminar held the week before commencement of the fall semester, and weekly follow-up reports with the students’ parent(s)/guardian to inform them of their student’s progress.

The personalized attention is a key factor in helping students gain confidence and succeed.

“My experience with the ACCESS Program has been great; it has been nice to know Ms. Hood genuinely cares about her students and their success,” explains an anonymous ACCESS Student. “Because of the ACCESS program I have successfully completed my Associates Degree and will be returning in the fall to earn my Bachelor’s Degree at Lincoln College.”

Research has shown Lincoln College ACCESS students successfully graduate on time at a significantly higher rate than the national graduation average.