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Horizons

College Preparation Mentoring for High School Students on the Autism Spectrum

What is Horizons?

Horizons is a college preparation mentoring program for high school students on the autism spectrum who plan to go to college in the next year or two. Participants will meet with a trained UMass Lowell student who will be their mentor. The goal of Horizons is to help prepare these students for university life and to feel more confident about attending college in the future. 

What will we do in the meetings?

You will cover a curriculum where you will discuss various topics with your mentor such as:

  • Why go to university? Careers, future plans.
  • Applying for college. Check out websites.
  • Tour of UMass Lowell campuses (including lecture halls, halls of residence (if possible), sports facilities, etc.
  • Choosing courses; on-line courses; selecting a major; choosing professors; meeting with academic advisor.
  • Time management; stress management.
  • Attend a lecture. Discuss classroom etiquette, getting along with classmates.
  • Social life at university (residence halls, clubs and societies, social opportunities, avoiding loneliness).
  • Accessing support services at university (e.g. Disability Services Office, Academic support services, Counseling, Career Services, libraries etc.).

When and where are the meetings?

You will be matched with a trained UMass Lowell student who will be your mentor. You will meet once a week for an hour for 8-weeks at a time that works for you and your mentor. There are two versions of Horizons:

  1. In-person version where meetings take place at the UMass Lowell south campus;
  2. On-line version where meetings take place online using Google Hangout. 
Mentees are randomly assigned to one of these two versions and so must be willing to do either. The program runs in Spring and Fall.

What does Horizons cost?

There is a $75 fee to be in the Horizons program (scholarships are available for those who cannot afford the fee).

How do I apply for Horizons?

Please complete the Horizons enrollment form (fillable pdf) and email it to: ashleigh_hillier@uml.edu. Ashleigh will then review the form and get in touch with you. Please also contact Ashleigh with any questions.

What Else?

Mentors meet on a weekly basis with Associate Professor Hillier to provide an update on progress in the mentor partnerships. At these meetings she provides oversight, advice and guidance to the mentors. Hillier also runs a monthly social networking program for young adults on the autism spectrum.