Horizons Plus: A Mentoring Program for Neurodiverse College Students.

What is Horizons Plus?

Horizons Plus is a mentoring program for neurodiverse university students (e.g. autistic individuals; those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities) designed to support students as they navigate through their college degree. Students meet as a group online via Zoom with trained UMass Lowell student mentors to guide and support them through a semester at college/university. Mentees may be freshmen, sophomores, juniors or seniors. The group works together on a range of topics tailored to their needs and questions. 

Meetings run in:

  • Spring (Session 1: February-April; 12 meetings)
  • Fall (Session 2: September-November; 12 meetings) typically Tuesdays 5-6 p.m.

There is a $100 fee for each Spring and Fall session.

Mentors are trained and overseen by Ashleigh Hillier, UMass Lowell Psychology professor.

Each week the mentees/students decide what topics to discuss for that session, with guidance from the mentors. Break out rooms are utilized to make sure all questions are answered and to provide more tailored mentoring.

What will we do in the meetings?

Your meetings will vary each week depending on what has come up for the group that week. You will come with questions or just to share how your week has gone and to plan ahead. These are some topics that often come up in the group:

  • Helping find out answers to questions you have about your college / university
  • Helping find out answers to questions you have about your course requirements and / or assignments
  • Accessing supports and resources at your college
  • Setting up a system to track deadlines for assignments, and other organization strategies
  • Time management
  • Problem solving and self-advocacy
  • Facilitating outreach to advisors
  • Communicating professionally with professors and staff
  • Connecting with other students and socializing
  • Taking good notes in class
  • Study strategies
  • Strategies for midterm and final exams
  • Reducing stress and increasing self-care
  • Classroom etiquette, getting on with classmates, successful groupwork
  • Increasing independence
  • Internships, careers and future plans

When and where are the meetings?

You will meet with other neurodiverse college students and trained UMass Lowell students as a group online via Zoom typically Tuesdays: 5-6 p.m. You do not need to be attending UMass Lowell to participate.

What does Horizons Plus cost?

Meetings run in Spring (Session 1: February-April; 12 meetings) and again in Fall (Session 2: September-November; 12 meetings) typically Tuesdays: 5-6 p.m. There is a $100 fee for each Spring and Fall session.

How do I apply for Horizons Plus?

Please email: Ashleigh_hillier@uml.edu to join or with any questions.

What Else?

  • Mentors meet on a weekly basis with Ashleigh Hillier, Ph.D. for training, oversight, and guidance to the mentors.
  • We have been running mentoring programs for neurodiverse university students since 2012.
  • Our programs are evidence based. We have published a number of papers about our mentoring programs in peer reviewed research journals and have presented at numerous academic conferences.
  • Ashleigh also runs a social networking program for neurodiverse adolescents and young adults, The Network.