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. those with autism, ADHD, learning disabilities) designed to support students as they navigate through their college degree. Mentees will be paired with a trained UMass Lowell student and will meet once a week to guide and support them through a semester at college/university. Mentees may be freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors or transfer students. Meetings can be in-person (at UMass Lowell) or online. Mentees do not need to be at UMass Lowell to participate.

Meetings are friendly and relaxed and guided by the mentee depending on their questions and needs. The relationship is designed to be like a partnership with mentees and mentors learning from eachother.

What will we do in the meetings?

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

  • 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 be matched with a trained UMass Lowell student who will be your mentor. You will meet once a week for an hour for the whole semester (Spring or Fall) at a time that works for you and your mentor. You will meet online through Zoom or in-person at the UMass Lowell campus. You do not need to be attending UMass Lowell to participate.

The program runs each semester.


What does Horizons Plus cost?

There is a $75 fee for the Horizons Plus program (scholarships are available).


How do I apply for Horizons Plus?

Please email: Ashleigh_hillier@uml.edu for an enrollment form or with any questions.


What Else?

  • Mentors meet on a weekly basis with Ashleigh Hillier, Ph.D. to provide an update on progress in the mentor partnerships. At these meetings she provides 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 autistic adolescents and young adults, The Network.