P2I—Path to Independence

If you have questions about the program or the application process, please contact Mary Bryant at 775-682-9057

Path to Independence

The Path To Independence (formerly Think College) is:

  • An inclusive, two-year, non-degree certificate program offering a college experience to students with intellectual disabilities.
  • A collaborative effort of UNR's Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities (NCED), the University of Nevada Reno Extended Studies Department, (UNR EXS), Sierra Regional Center (SRC), Rural Regional Center (RRC), the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation (BVR), Lyon County School District and Washoe County School District.

Student in Wheelchair taking a picture

Each student and their invited guests participate in Person Centered Planning (PCP) each semester. The results of the plan determines the level and direction of academic involvement. The STAR (Students Transitioning to Adult Roles) planning process is used, which includes the areas of Academic Enrichment, Independent Living, Self-Determination, Campus & Community Engagement, and Career Development & Employment.

In order to achieve outcomes of employment and independence, the project is structured into three areas:

  1. Academics & Campus Activities: P2I students take UNR college classes with typical peers. Classroom supports for students in this program are individualized based on need and come from a variety of resources, including SRC. Students have an educational coach assisting them in class, if needed. In addition, students in the Developmental Disabilities Minor program have the opportunity to earn three credits in an independent study class as tutors for Path to Independent students. Daily study sessions are offered for P2I students to get assistance with reading assignments and homework. In preparation for living a full, productive life, students are encouraged to participate in campus activities such as clubs/organizations and sports activities. Mentors assist them to become active members of the university community.
  2. Employment: Through its collaboration with Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), P2I students create an Individual Plan for Employment (IPE). During the four semesters of the program, students prepare for integrated, competitive employment. P2I's job developer takes the lead in these activities:
    • Semester 1: Person-centered planning, job discussion and exploration
    • Semester 2: Work experience in a rotation of three unpaid internships on campus
    • Semester 3: Paid/unpaid internship and/or a student job on campus in an area of interest to student
    • Semester 4: Paid/unpaid internship and/or a student job on campus in an area of interest to student; Work with job developer to find post-graduation competitive integrated employment in the community.
  3. Independent Living: An important aspect of college life for all students is learning to live independently. Path To Independence staff assists each student to access community services that will lead to the desired independent living outcomes in the PCP. Each semester, one independent living class is provided to P2I students and is open to others in the community. Topics include Relationships & Sexuality, Self-Advocacy/Self-Determination, Money Matters, and Soft Skills to Pay the Bills. In addition, public transportation travel training is available.

P2I Application Process

Path to Independence is now taking applications for admission for fall 2020 semester. Applications must be completed by 5:00 pm on January 31st. 

Successful candidates will be students who:

  • Have a diagnosis of intellectual/developmental disability. 
  • Are between the ages of 18-26
  • Have completed high school 
  • Have a minimum 3rd grade reading level
  • Have the ability to communicate through voice or assistive technology
  • Have basic safety skills in an unsupervised setting
  • Have the personal desire to gain the skills that will lead to competitive employment and independent living

To apply for P2I, please:

  • Complete and submit the application. This should be done by the student with assistance from family.
  • Complete and submit the Skills/Behavioral Assessment. This should be completed by a parent or someone who interacts with the prospective student on a regular basis. Note: Please complete this assessment honestly and without trying to make the prospective student more capable than he/she really is. We use this to measure the student's growth during the program.
  • Send out the reference link to three people for references. At least two of these should be from high school or school district teachers or other personnel. 
  • Complete the checklist form by...
    • Attaching high school transcript
    • Attaching student's most recent IEP
    • Attaching immunization documentation
    • Attaching a recent photo/head shot
    • Attaching an admissions essay, video or other media expressing why the applicant wants to attend P2I.

For current activities associated with Path to Independence, please visit our Facebook page

For more information, contact:
Mary Bryant