Prospective Student Resources

So, you are thinking about Illinois for your college career and Beckwith Residential Support Services and Nugent Hall for your living accommodations. This section has two main areas that are important for you to review. Do you want to meet current Illinois students with severe disabilities who are achieving their academic goals? Then become part of the Beckwith High School Mentoring Program which is described below.

Are you wondering how to set up an appointment to meet staff for a tour, get your questions answered, or how to go about applying to the University of Illinois?  Is so, the section entitled Exploring the University of Illinois and Beckwith Residential Support Services will provide you with important information to get started.  Of course, if you have further questions you can email them.

Exploring the University of Illinois and Beckwith Residential Support Services

Beckwith Residential Support Services (BRSS) at Nugent Hall is the BEST place for you to live and learn on the University of Illinois campus if you are a student with a severe physical disability and need assistance with activities of daily living.  However the number of rooms is limited.  Rooms on the first floor of Nugent Hall are given to incoming residents on a first come first serve basis.

How can you have the best opportunity to get a room on the first floor of Nugent Hall and receive BRSS?

  • Come for a day long campus visit as early in your high school career as possible, planning to do the following:
    • Take a campus tour.  These can be arranged through the Admissions Office.
    • Call to set up an appointment to meet with a Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) academic resource facilitator to discuss the type of academic accommodations you might need at Illinois.  You will be directed to the best person to meet with by calling the main DRES number at (217) 333-1970 and asking for assistance.
    • Call the Beckwith Disability Specialist, Paige Lindahl-Lewis at (217) 333-3315 to set up a time to meet with the Beckwith administrative staff, tour Nugent and learn about the variety of support programs and services available.
  • If you decide that Illinois is where you want to pursue your college dream it is recommended that you apply during the Priority Filing Period between September 1 and November 1 if you are applying as a freshman.  Transfer students need to get their application materials completed as soon as all University requirements are met.
  • While you are waiting for the University's admission decision, complete the DRES application to be a registered DRES student and gather all necessary medical documentation.
  • On the day that you receive your acceptance email from the University, immediately fax the DRES application and supporting documentation to DRES—Attention: Student Services at (217) 244-0014.
  • Email the Beckwith staff you have met sharing your good news and that your documentation has been submitted to DRES.

Open spaces for the BRSS are based on the number of residents who graduate and/or move to other living environments in any given year.  There could be as few as 1 or 2 spaces or as many as 8 open spaces.  New residents are assigned open rooms or put on the waiting list based on the "time stamp" of the faxed documents to DRES.

  • Maintain contact with the DRES/Beckwith staff after your on campus visit to let us know of your interest, change in plans and answer any questions you might have about preparing for college during your high school year.

Criteria for Admission to Beckwith Residential Support Services (BRSS)

  • Accepted to either the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, or Parkland Pathways program (Illinois residents only).
  • A student with a severe physical disability receiving assistance with some level of activities of daily living.
  • Receive confirmation that you are registered with the Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES).
  • On a scheduled toileting program with minimal incontinence.
  • Submission of application, successful interview and appropriate space availability (gender specific).

Application procedures

(For an application to be considered complete, all supporting documents must be received).

1. Complete and submit the following:

     > Application Form

     > Applicant Personal Statement

Attach a typed personal statement about your academic, social, and personal strengths and weaknesses. Discuss your goals for college, what you are looking forward to in college and what some of your concerns may be. Also clearly describe why you want to be a resident of BRSS and what motivates you and how you stay motivated. (Minimum word limit 750 words).

     > Professional Reference Letter

Please provide a letter of reference written by someone close to the applicant (e.g., school counselor, special education teacher, case manager, job supervisor).

The letter can be submitted to Paige Lewis, Disability Specialist, Beckwith Residential Support Services, by email, fax or mail.                                                                                                                                                              plewis66@illinois.edu (email) (217/244-2116 (fax) 1104 Nugent Hall  207 E. Gregory Dr. Champaign, IL 61820

Instructions for Professional Reference Letter:

Please include your name, contact information, and position. Your letter should provide a clear, accurate, and honest assessment of the applicant’s academic strengths and weaknesses as they pertain to his or her disabilities. To the best of your ability, please also give us your opinion regarding the applicant’s transition to independent living within a large-size university campus like Illinois, and their potential to succeed in college. We would also appreciate any information you can provide about the applicant’s motivation, initiative, attitude, and social interaction skills.

2. Upon review, applicants will be invited to complete an interview with the BRSS professional staff. Acceptance to BRSS program will be made after the interview.

3. Please note that you must apply for admission and be accepted to either the University of Illinois or Parkland Pathways.

Contact Paige Lewis at 217/333-3315 or plewis66@illinois.edu with any questions or clarification.

High School Mentoring Program

You are starting to plan ahead for college—good for you!  The sooner in high school that you plan for what you want to do after you graduate the better.  We have created a comprehensive resource for you to utilize as early as middle school, with the information and the work you must do becoming more in depth as you progress through high school.

As you prepare for the next step . . . college, here are some resources that might make this transition easier and tie in with the HS Transition Guideline.  The HS Mentoring program has four distinct modules for you to use. It will be best for you to review them in the "Slide Show" format:

  1. General overview of the HS Mentoring program—best to review this module first.
  2. Decision-making module—an introduction to problem-solving skills.
  3. PA module—focuses on strategies of hiring, training and managing staff.
  4. Self advocacy, time and stress management strategies—the final module.

Over the years, we have met with many students and families at various stages of their transition to college.  During this time we've taken stock of the similarities and differences and tried to develop some resources that are general enough to be helpful regardless of where the student attends college.  If you reference these resources along with the HS Transition Guideline, hopefully this journey will be more guided.  We've even developed a presentation specifically for your Guidance Counselor and IEP team.  Encourage them to view Promoting Transitional Success in Post-Secondary Education.