The College Support Program for Students on the Autism Spectrum (CSP) is a fee-based, comprehensive program dedicated to helping students who have been accepted and enrolled in a degree program at Rutgers University to develop academic and social skills and strategies to thrive in all areas of University life.  The CSP utilizes an integrative and collaborative approach to build on students’ strengths to establish and pursue individualized, behaviorally targeted goals to successfully navigate challenges faced at the University level.  Under the direction of Rutgers Student Health Counseling, Alcohol & Other Drug Assistance and Psychiatric Services (CAPS), the College Support Program provides community education to promote a University environment that is both supportive and inclusive.

The CSP works collaboratively with Rutgers University’s Offices of Undergraduate Admissions, Disability Services, Academic Deans, Learning Centers, Counseling Center (CAPS), Career Services, Student Employment,  Residence Life, Student Life, Deans of Students and as necessary, program advisors and faculty.

The CSP offers the following:

  • Weekly meetings with the coordinator
  • Assistance with defining academic, organizational, and life goals
  • Strategies to meet identified goals
  • Trained Peer Mentors
  • Social Events
  • Parent Workshops
  • Referrals & Follow-Up with academic and support services
  • Referrals for psychotherapy or counseling when requested

Services through the CSP also include:

  • Tours of Rutgers University
  • Individualized orientation to navigating campus transportation
  • Accessing campus resources
  • Learning to reside with room- and floor-mates
  • Managing life skills
  • Participating in on- and off-campus activities
  • Managing academic coursework
  • Planning and preparing for employment

If you feel that you can benefit from our services, please complete the application form to begin the process.

Watch our profile on mentor/mentee Paul and Brittany.
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The experience of being a peer mentor was not what I expected, it was better.
– Michael Nanfara ‘14, Peer Mentor

I think this is one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. Doing this has solidified what I’m going to college for and what I want to do with the rest of my life.
– Kimberly Hanks ‘16, Peer Mentor

This program has given me the opportunity to be a part of a great group of people. I am fortunate enough to learn more about autism and become more aware of the topic. This opportunity is once in a lifetime and I am learning more every day.
LaShawn Adams ‘15, Peer Mentor

The College Support Program surpassed our expectations! [Our son] has the most appropriate support for his anxiety and learning challenges since the start of his college career in 2008. The coordinator identified his issues and created appropriate strategies to address them. She was effective and tireless! The peer mentor program was also very successful for [him]. In the past, we relied on a tutor for a “point of performance” person, but here at Rutgers, the peer mentors served the same function while not making [him] feel frustrated about needing so much professional support. We are very grateful for the progress you have helped [our son] achieve! Thank you!
– Karen K., Parent/Guardian
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FAQs on the College Support Program (CSP)

Below are just some of the common questions asked about the CSP. If you have other questions not answered below, or would like further information, please contact us.

What is the role of the College Support Program at Rutgers University?

The program is designed to be a bridge for students on the autism spectrum as they learn to identify and access the community and support services of the university.

How are individual student needs met through the College Support Program?

The CSP coordinator and student have an initial meeting each semester to identify the student’s needs and interests. With support from the CSP coordinator, the student develops goals that will build academic, social, executive functioning, and/or life skills. The CSP coordinator and student meet once or more per week throughout the semester to review the student’s progress, build skills and address new areas of concern. In addition to meetings, the CSP coordinator, students, and peer mentors use email, text messages, and/or phone calls to keep in touch and monitor progress.

How do students with ASD's get connected with the resources of a large university such as the Office of Disability Services, Counseling Center, Residence Life, and Learning Centers?

The CSP coordinator will assist the student in identifying the services s/he may need, ensure student contact with the correct office and then provide follow-through support as needed.

Do you foster social integration into the college community?

Yes. This is done through matching with one or more peer mentors, interfacing with university faculty and staff, using course specific chat rooms, joining clubs and interest groups.

Who are the peer mentors?

They are typically sophomores, juniors and seniors at Rutgers University who are trained and supervised to assist CSP students in the program as they adjust to university life. Mentors have a wide variety of majors. CSP students may have more than one mentor.

Do students in the College Support Program interact with each other?

Yes. There are formal and informal opportunities for small and large group social activities.

Do you help students organize and manage their days?

Yes. Students are taught strategies and tools to plan their time and to prioritize their work by consulting with faculty members, academic advisors and systematically referencing both Rutgers University course and degree management software. Many students receive additional academic coaching through the Learning Centers. The coaches and CSP coordinators collaborate services.

How do you support a student who is anxious and resistant to approaching a professor, dean, administrator, or staff member at the university?

The CSP coordinator will support the student as s/he identifies the steps necessary to making the appointment. The CSP coordinator will then help the student prepare for the meeting and accompany the student if necessary.

Do you help students identify class environments that are conducive to their needs?

Yes. The CSP prepares and assists students to ask questions/seek information about class environments relative to their sensory concerns.

Do you help students adjust to living with others in the residence halls?

Yes. The CSP coordinator, peer mentors, and university staff work with students to build tolerance, negotiation and advocacy skills with peers, Resident Assistants (RAs) and people in related University offices.

Do you interact with parents?

Yes. Intake sessions usually involve the families, as does the end-of-year review season held at the end of the spring semester. Periodic workshops are prepared for parents and, with student approval, the coordinator will contact parents as needed.

Is application to the College Support Program part of the application process to Rutgers University?

No. They are separate processes. After a student meets Rutgers University’s admissions requirements, s/he may apply to the CSP, which is implemented through Rutgers Student Health Counseling, Alcohol & Other Drug Assistance Program and Psychiatric Services (CAPS).

Is there a fee for the program?

Yes. The services are funded by a per semester fee which is billed through the Rutgers Student Health business office.

Where can online information about the College Support Program be found?

The most direct source of information is to use the URL http://rhscaps.rutgers.edu/services/autism-spectrum-college-support-program.The College Support Program for students on the Autism Spectrum is part of Rutgers Student Health, Counseling, Alcohol & Other Drug Assistance Program and Psychiatric Services (CAPS). When going to http://rhscaps.rutgers.edu or the Rutgers New Brunswick homepage, search for “CAPS” to see a full range of clinical services.

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For further information on the College Support Program, please call 848-932-7884.