CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — College-bound sophomores, juniors and seniors at Illinois high schools and new graduates who are on the autism spectrum and interested in attending the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are encouraged to apply for an upcoming virtual summer camp.
The I-Ready Summer Camp, offered by The Autism Program at the U. of I., is a weeklong online experience designed to promote college readiness in students with autism.
Participants will learn about what to expect from college life and receive tips on maximizing their social and academic success. They will have opportunities to interact with one another and learn about the support that will be available to them as U. of I. students.
Current students will lead panel discussions on their experiences at the university and answer campers’ questions.
“While navigating post-high school options is tricky for any student, it’s particularly difficult for students on the autism spectrum who may have social barriers that make the transition harder for them,” said Jeanne L. Kramer, the director of TAP. “This camp gives students a better idea what college is like and helps them and their parents prepare and decide if a competitive university is the right choice for them.”
On the first and last days of the camp, Kramer meets with parents in special sessions that include tips on planning and preparing their students for the transition to college.
The fee for I-Ready will be $125 per person. Kramer said the camp is accessible to all families, and the fee can be waived on request.
The virtual camp will meet July 17-21 from 1-2:30 p.m. CDT. Campers also will have the option of visiting the U. of I.’s Urbana campus on August 4 to meet the other participants in person and tour the campus.
This is the third year the U. of I. has offered the I-Ready Summer Camp. Kramer said about 30 Illinois high school students attended the camp in 2021, and 10 participated in 2022. The lower attendance last year was due to the more selective admissions process that was implemented, she said.
Applicants must demonstrate the intent and academic ability to attend a competitive university program.
Interested students should apply online at https://go.illinois.edu/IReady2023.
In addition, a staff member from their high school who is willing to act as a reference should submit an online school support form assessing the student’s capabilities and their interest in postsecondary education.
The deadline for applications and school support forms is June 15.
“Past campers had a great time, especially when they got to meet and interact with current U. of I. students who were on the spectrum. That was their favorite part because it helped them imagine themselves at college and reassured them and their parents that there would be support and services to help them succeed,” Kramer said.
Funding for the camp is provided by TAP of Illinois and the Illinois Department of Human Services.