Some students ages 17.5 through 24 struggle to maintain the personal motivation and self control necessary to thrive in most colleges and universities. Students either needing to complete high school or who may have dropped or failed out of college respond well to schools that have been established over the years to work with this segment of the student population. These are called “Young Adult Programs”. They are often comprised of two or three levels of structure, areas of responsibility and autonomy. Students begin in supervised residential settings, attend peer-group counseling sessions throughout the day, adhere to a specific schedule that includes the introduction of basic life-skills such as nutrition, hygiene, fitness, personal finance, cooking, wellness strategies and academic planning. As students demonstrate the acceptance of structure and self-discipline they move into the next level through which additional privileges and opportunities are introduced and managed. This level includes attendance at the local community college, trade or technical school, supervised apartment living and part time work. Students needing to get drivers’ licenses take Driver’s Education and those needing other special programs leading toward independent living skills are often able to incorporate them into their overall school plan. Phase two introduces students to many of the variables in life that are essential to independent living. Each new “privilege” brings forth the responsibility of learning to balance and maintain progress and personal growth.
Phase three is comprised of an even greater amount of independence through which students are monitored as they demonstrate their ability to balance each of the areas of their lives necessary in order to live as independent adults.
Many students continue to live in the community in which they have established themselves and attended college or held jobs. Others return to four year universities nearer to home or become employed in a setting where the student has an established support system.