Take Your First Steps

Join our upcoming cohort

Getting admitted 

To be considered for admission, you must: 

  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent documentation. If you are still enrolled in high school please send us your current transcript with projected graduation date.
  • Have a diagnoses of cognitive, intellectual and/or developmental disability, applicant must have qualified for special education services under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 20 U.S.C. 1140, Section 760 (2)).
  • Independently demonstrate the desire to attend the Bear POWER Program at MSU and live on campus.
  • Have sufficient emotional and independent living skills to participate in college-level coursework and campus life.
  • Be able to remain unsupervised for a minimum of 8 hours.
  • Have a cell phone.
  • Demonstrate the ability to accept responsibility for their actions and maintain respect towards others and have no history of disruptive behaviors.
  • Have medical insurance and be independent in handling medications, dietary and/or medical needs. You will have access to existing resources within the Disability Resource Center on campus and in dining halls.
  • Can manage any medications independently
  • Participate in an interview with and without support from family/support person.
  • Agree to participate in all courses, sessions, internships and employment training, if accepted.
  • Successfully participate in the MSU Bear POWER Leadership Retreat, if selected to attend the Leadership Retreat. This is the final step of our admissions process.
  • Application materials due by December 1st at 5:00 pm of the year prior to starting. For example, if a student wants to come to MSU in the Fall of 2023, then they should apply by December 10th, 2022. This is for priority consideration. Applications will continue to be accepted after this deadline. Applications will not be accepted after June 1st. We have a maximum of 15 openings.

To apply for admission, you will need:

  • A complete Student Admission Application.
  • Copy of high school transcript. Your transcript does not have to be official but all students admitted to the Bear POWER program will need to have an official copy of transcript on file.
  • Current IEP (Individualized Education Plan) or ISP (Individualized Service Plan). This may also include a Person Centered Plan.
  • Behavioral Records – copy of Functional Behavior Assessments and/or Behavior Intervention Plan for past five years. If student has no records, we must receive a letter directly from school stating there is no record.
  • Documentation of intellectual or developmental disability. This can include Educational, Psychological and/or Medical documentation by a qualified professional. Cognitive or Intellectual assesments and adaptive assessments are required to determine eligibility for financial aid (intellectual disability).
  • Three recommendation forms from non-family members who have known the applicant for at least three years. This must include at least one educator. Send this link (recommendation form) to the people completing the recommendation for the student.
  • Copy of any guardianship agreement or documentation, if applicable.

What happens once my application is received: 

  1. Your completed application will be reviewed by the Bear POWER Admissions Committee.
  2. You will be notified via email if you have been selected for an interview. If selected, you will participate in an interview independently and with family/support person. You may be asked to complete a reading and writing sample during interview.
  3. Following interviews, you will be notified via email if you are selected to attend the Leadership Retreat. This will be a one day event via Zoom. You will be able to complete a variety of activities. Parents will attend informational meetings at a later date. This is the final step of our admissions process.
  4. If you are one of the students accepted into the program, you will be notified via email or letter.  All applicants will be notified via email or letter if they are or are not accepted to the Bear POWER program.

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