Prospective Student Resources
So, you are thinking about Illinois for your college career and Beckwith Residential Support Services and Nugent Hall for your living accommodations. This section has two main areas that are important for you to review. Do you want to meet current Illinois students with severe disabilities who are achieving their academic goals? Then become part of the Beckwith High School Mentoring Program which is described below.
Are you wondering how to set up an appointment to meet staff for a tour, get your questions answered, or how to go about applying to the University of Illinois? If so, the following section entitled Exploring the University of Illinois and Beckwith Residential Support Services will provide you with important information to get started. Of course, if you have further questions you can email them.
Exploring the University of Illinois and Beckwith Residential Support Services
Beckwith Residential Support Services (BRSS) at Nugent Hall is the BEST place for you to live and learn on the University of Illinois campus if you are a student with a severe physical disability and need assistance with activities of daily living. However the number of rooms is limited. Rooms on the first floor of Nugent Hall are given to incoming residents on a first come first serve basis.
How can you have the best opportunity to get a room on the first floor of Nugent Hall and receive BRSS?
- Come for a day long campus visit as early in your high school career as possible, planning to do the following:
- Take a campus tour. These can be arranged through the Admissions Office.
- Call to set up an appointment to meet with a Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) academic resource facilitator to discuss the type of academic accommodations you might need at Illinois. You will be directed to the best person to meet with by calling the main DRES number at (217) 333-1970 and asking for assistance.
- Call the Beckwith Associate Director, Paige Lindahl-Lewis at (217) 333-3315 to set up a time to meet with the Beckwith administrative staff, tour Nugent and learn about the variety of support programs and services available.
- If you decide that Illinois is where you want to pursue your college dream it is recommended that you apply during the Priority Filing Period between September 1 and November 1 if you are applying as a freshman. Transfer students need to get their application materials completed as soon as all University requirements are met.
- While you are waiting for the University's admission decision, complete the DRES application to be a registered DRES student and gather all necessary medical documentation.
- On the day that you receive your acceptance email from the University, immediately fax the DRES application and supporting documentation to DRES—Attention: Student Services at (217) 244-0014.
- Email the Beckwith staff you have met sharing your good news and that your documentation has been submitted to DRES.
Open spaces for the BRSS are based on the number of residents who graduate and/or move to other living environments in any given year. There could be as few as 1 or 2 spaces or as many as 8 open spaces. New residents are assigned open rooms or put on the waiting list based upon when they have completed the BRSS application process.
- Maintain contact with the DRES/Beckwith staff after your on campus visit to let us know of your interest, change in plans and answer any questions you might have about preparing for college during your high school year.
Criteria for Admission to Beckwith Residential Support Services (BRSS)
- Accepted to either the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, or Parkland Pathway Program (Illinois residents only).
- A student with a physical disability receiving assistance with at least one activity of daily living.
- Receive confirmation that you are registered with the Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES).
- On a scheduled toileting program with minimal incontinence.
- Submission of all application requirements (listed below), successful interview and appropriate space availability (gender specific).
1. Complete and submit each part of the application as oulined below. For an application to be considered complete, all supporting documents must be received prior to an invitation for an interview to be scheduled.
2. Upon review, applicants may be invited to complete an interview with the BRSS professional staff. After the interview has been completed, acceptance to BRSS program will be announced within one week of the interview, but not before February 15th. The decision will be based upon reviewing all of the application materials compared to the other candidates, and availability of rooms (gender specific).
3. Please note that the applicant must have been accepted to either the University of Illinois, U-C or the Parkland Pathway Program to be considered for acceptance into BRSS.
Complete and submit the following BRSS Application materials:
> Professional Reference Letter
Please provide a letter of reference written by someone close to the applicant (e.g., school counselor, special education teacher, case manager, job supervisor, therapist...).
The letter can be submitted to Paige Lewis, Associate Director, Beckwith Residential Support Services, by email, fax or mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org (email) (217/244-2116 (fax), 1104 Nugent Hall 207 E. Gregory Dr. Champaign, IL 61820. If the professional reference prefers, the letter can also be included in the student's application.
Instructions for Professional Reference Letter:
Please include your name, contact information, and position submitted on official letterhead.
Provide a clear, accurate, and honest assessment of the following:
- Applicant’s ability to transition and be actively engaged in a university residential community
- Maintaining their oversight of their disability management.
- Remark on their overall potential for college success and the areas they may need to continue to focus on
Lastly, we would appreciate any information on the applicant’s:
- Social interaction skills
- Strategies for problem-solving
- Mindset towards change/transition/overcoming adversity
- Any reservations that you may have that may impact their success
High School Mentoring Program
You are starting to plan ahead for college—good for you! The sooner in high school that you plan for what you want to do after you graduate the better. We have created a comprehensive resource for you to utilize as early as middle school, with the information and the work you must do becoming more in depth as you progress through high school.
- You can refer to the Transition Guide for Students and Families. Feel free to modify the template to be used as part of your own plan with your IEP team.
- You can also suggest that your HS Guidance Counselor and/or your IEP coordinator refer to the presentation on advising college students with severe physical disabilities, Promoting Transitional Success in Post-Secondary Education.
As you prepare for the next step . . . college, here are some resources that might make this transition easier and tie in with the HS Transition Guideline. The HS Mentoring program has four distinct modules for you to use. It will be best for you to review them in the "Slide Show" format:
- General overview of the HS Mentoring program—best to review this module first.
- Decision-making module—an introduction to problem-solving skills.
- PA module—focuses on strategies of hiring, training and managing staff.
- Self advocacy, time and stress management strategies—the final module.
Over the years, we have met with many students and families at various stages of their transition to college. During this time we've taken stock of the similarities and differences and tried to develop some resources that are general enough to be helpful regardless of where the student attends college. If you reference these resources along with the HS Transition Guideline, hopefully this journey will be more guided. We've even developed a presentation specifically for your Guidance Counselor and IEP team. Encourage them to view Promoting Transitional Success in Post-Secondary Education.