WinthropLIFE Program

Frequently Asked Questions


    The mission of Winthrop University's WinthropLIFE Program is to provide an inclusive post-secondary education experience to students with intellectual disabilities to prepare them for competitive employment and active participation in local communities with as much independence as possible.

    Eligibility for admission includes the following:

    Does not display significant maladaptive behaviors that would require extensive behavioral support from others
    Must be able to transverse the university campus with minimal adult supervision
    Age 18-25 at the time of admission with a documented intellectual disability with IQ between 45-75
    Demonstrates communication skills adequate to interact on the WU campus
    Demonstrates socially acceptable behavior that allows a favorable experience on the WU campus
    Motivated to learn and benefit from participation in the WinthropLIFE Program
    Transportation to and from campus is the responsibility of the participant and his/her caregivers
    Caregivers support the individual's interest in living and working as independently as possible in their community after completing the WinthropLIFE program.

    If you have a standard high school diploma, we encourage you to apply to colleges or technical programs in the traditional way since you may meet the required admission guidelines. However, if you completed high school and received special education services that did not lead to a standard high school diploma (e.g., occupational course of study diploma or certificate of completion) then we would encourage you to apply to the WinthropLIFE Program.

    Interested applicants must apply for admission by January 15th each year if they are seeking admission to the university in the next year's fall semester. Application packets can be obtained through the WinthropLIFE website. After a thoughtful review process, applicants will be notified whether or not they are accepted into the program by April 1st.

    Participation in the program lasts two academic years or four semesters.

    We accept up to 10 students per academic year. We have a maximum total capacity of 20 students per year.

    No, we only admit new students in the fall.

    We look for students who are motivated and enthusiastic about attending college. Students must want to learn how to navigate a college campus and city landscape with minimal support, use time management strategies to attend class and work reliably, actively engage with peers, communicate wants, desires, and needs, demonstrate basic safety skills, exhibit basic reading and math skills, and abide by the University's Code of Conduct.

    No, students enrolled are full-time, non-degree students. They must have exited from the K-12 public school system to be enrolled in WinthropLIFE.

    No, students participate in all Winthrop courses under the audit status. Taking courses for credit is not an option by reason of admission status.

    Audit means that the student is participating in some or all of the class activities with or without accommodations and modifications, but is not receiving a grade from the instructor or receiving traditional course credit. Each WinthropLIFE student audits 1-2 classes each semester on a space-available basis. Classes are selected based on WinthropLIFE program requirements and each student's person-centered plan. WinthropLIFE staff complete the registration process for all WinthropLIFE students. While parents and caregivers may meet with WinthropLIFE staff in regards to information or progress in audited courses, professors of these audited courses should not be directly contacted by parents. WinthropLIFE staff assist in all communication with course instructors in regards to WinthropLIFE program requirements and areas of focus for each student auditing traditional courses. 

    Yes, students who successfully complete the program requirements for WinthropLIFE will participate in the May commencement ceremony.

    Yes, attending sporting events is a central part of the college experience. As part of your university fees, students are provided seats in the student section of all Winthrop University sporting events.

    A peer mentor is an enrolled Winthrop student who consistently provides academic and social support to a WinthropLIFE student. It is a paid position. Peer Mentors can also serve as Residential Peer Mentors.