College is challenging and for many students, getting started is the most difficult part of the process. At NorthBridge, services begin well before the first college course. Upon enrollment at NorthBridge, the staff works with parents and students to develop an individualized plan for success.
NorthBridge staff help students make an informed and individualized decision regarding community college or a four-year university, as well as helping students review vocational options.
NorthBridge staff guide students through the college enrollment process to ensure that students have all required materials and follow the necessary procedures to quickly and efficiently enroll.
NorthBridge staff assist students as they prepare for and complete college placement tests to determine which courses they will take. The NorthBridge team helps familiarize students with sample problems as well as the test format and the overall placement test experience. NorthBridge staff also support students in arranging accommodations for placement testing.
NorthBridge personnel understand that there are many crucial variables that need to be taken into consideration when students create a course schedule. NorthBridge staff support students in choosing the number of courses to take each semester as well as thoughtfully considering the combination of courses and time of day they are taken. These decisions are based on the students’ individual learning style. Another key component of student success is choosing the right professor. NorthBridge maintains a database of professors in the Maricopa Community Colleges system and at Arizona State University. As a result, NorthBridge staff can recommend professors who provide prompt feedback, utilize technology, and most importantly, are familiar with disability services, and work with students who learn differently.
NorthBridge College Success Mentors are dedicated to supporting students’ academic success and personal development.
Northbridge students meet weekly with a College Success Mentor who helps them keep the big picture in focus. Mentors provide individualized assistance with educational planning, goal setting, time management, organization, and learning strategies. During mentoring sessions, students receive guidance with the transition to the college environment in addition to improving skills in communication, self-advocacy, and learning.
Students and Success Mentors develop strong, collaborative relationships through positive communication and pro-active problem-solving. Through these mentoring sessions, NorthBridge creates a supportive environment where students are encouraged to share their accomplishments, pursue their dreams, and are empowered to overcome their barriers to success.
During mentoring sessions, the Ideal College Student Plans (ICSP) are developed and updated to best support students’ unique strengths and learning differences.
Plans focus on growth in NorthBridge’s four college success areas:
Mentors also support students when registering at disability services offices. These offices provide accommodations that can help students succeed. Mentors will review documentation and help students fill out the required paperwork as well as preparing students for intake meetings with disability services staff. In addition, NorthBridge personnel will follow up with students to make sure that accommodations are being provided.
Success builds upon success, which is why we help our students develop academic confidence by creating an environment where they can develop skills and discipline.
NorthBridge builds a personalized academic support session schedule for every student and they receive up to four hours of one-on-one support every week. Meeting consistently with an Academic Specialist allows both to become familiar with each other, which allows each session to incredible productivity as trust and a routine is established.
During these sessions Academic Specialists support students by reinforcing effective executive functioning strategies, developing and refining study skills, building reading comprehension, editing, and proofreading essays and creating organized and efficient study plans. We’re not just college tutors, we are academic success specialists.
Assistive technology has made great strides in recent years. It has been proven to dramatically enhance the learning and productivity of students with learning differences. At NorthBridge, we realize the crucial role assistive technology has in the success of our students. All of our students have access to our two computer labs which are equipped with all-in-one Dell computers. Our students are provided with a personalized Google accounts and trained to effectively utilize all of the Google Applications.
Additionally, we support Maricopa Community College Students in securing a Kurzweil 3000 (text to voice) account if it is part of their accommodations. We also train and support students to take advantage of the plethora of mind mapping, timeline, and flashcard applications now available.
College should be more than just lectures, papers and finals. College is an exciting time where students develop lifelong friendships, explore the space outside of their comfort zone and become their adult selves.
Students do not just enroll in NorthBridge, they join the NorthBridge community. The college experience is about more than just attending classes; our program offers a variety of ways for students to experience valuable social interactions. Students are encouraged to utilize the office above and beyond their scheduled sessions, either to complete assignments in a structured setting or just to socialize with their friends. Additionally, Northbridge sponsors at least two social events a month that provides a forum for students to participate in social opportunities with their peers. Examples of our social activities include video game night, trips to sporting events, movie trips, and bowling excursions. These events are organized and supervised by NorthBridge staff. The friendships and social experiences our students enjoy are an important part of being a young adult in college.
NorthBridge students are encouraged to attend workshops throughout the school year that focuses on specific areas that can help students succeed. Workshops are designed to build skills in order to achieve academic and social success. Examples of our workshops include independent living, financial literacy, self-advocacy and study skills.
Community service and philanthropy are important components of a well-rounded college experience and NorthBridge students have opportunities to help others through service learning. NorthBridge students can join our New Global Citizens Club where they learn about current challenges our world faces and how students can make a difference. This club is student-led which provides a vehicle for individuals to develop valuable leadership skills. NorthBridge coordinates a trip to Feed My Starving Children (http://www.fmsc.org/) each semester to provide students with an opportunity to help those in need.
NorthBridge empowers young adults with learning differences to move from lives of dependence to independence by giving them the skills and support to succeed in college and beyond. When it comes to learning, we favor a multi-layered, holistic approach. We focus on both academic success and personal development.