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Raven Scholars Program FAQ

Applications:

  • Does a student need to already be accepted to U of I to apply to Raven Scholars? No, a student may apply up to two years before they plan on attending U of I. However, we do not recommend a student apply until they are at least a junior in high school.
    • Raven Scholars accepts students on a first-come, first-serve basis, by when the application was received, so early application is recommended.
    • A student may not officially participate in the program until they have been accepted by U of I Admissions.
  • What if a student does not have an official diagnosis? Raven Scholars does not currently require a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or related diagnoses.
    • Enrolled students can request a screening for ASD through the Counseling and Testing Center (CTC), though they do not officially diagnose this condition.
    • If the student is seeking classroom or housing accommodations, they will need to provide documentation to the Center for Disability Access and Resources (CDAR), and that typically does require a diagnosis and recommendations for academic or housing accommodations from a licensed clinician.
  • What if it is a recent ASD diagnosis? Raven Scholars welcomes newly diagnosed students!
  • What if the student had an IEP or 504 in high school? The student will need to request classroom or housing accommodations through CDAR, and will need to supply documentation (usually beyond an IEP or 504), preferably completed within three years. Please be aware that not all accommodations available through an IEP or 504 will translate to college level accommodations, we recommend you reach out to CDAR to learn more, 208-885-6307. 
  • How will a student know if they have been accepted into Raven Scholars program? We will communicate that we have received the application through email. For fall semester we will reach out through email and phone during spring, March-April, to confirm a students intention to attend UI and participate in the program. We will confirm at that time that the student has been accepted or if there is an active waitlist.
  • What if there is a waitlist? We will inform the student of their placement on the waitlist and next steps. We communicate primarily through the students @vandals.uidaho.edu email and it is highly recommended they check it daily and no less than twice a week if they are actively on a waitlist.

Meeting Frequency:

  • Tier 1 (T1): Raven staff meet with T1 students for one-on-one meetings up to twice per week. T1 students are also required to enroll in the INTR 101 course, unless the program has waived this requirement (case-by-case basis). Students may stay in T1 until they graduate or are promoted to T2.
    • Students who will regularly need more than two one-on-one points of contacts per week may not be a good fit for our program.
  • Tier 2 (T2): Raven Staff will meet with T2 students one-four times monthly. They may also enroll in INTR, if desired. Most students stay in T2 until they graduate, though, they may graduate to T3 if they no longer need regular services.
  • Tier 3 (T3): This tier is only available for sophomores and above, who have graduated from Tier 2, and who no longer need regular support. Often, T3 students choose to remain in the program for its social perks or to have access to the Raven Lounge. T3 students are only required to check in with program staff once per semester but may request to meet monthly or as needed. Students may remain in T3 through graduation.
    • T3 students are eligible to apply to become Peer-Mentors.

Student Participation:

  • What does program participation look like? Each student will go through an intake process so staff may learn more about their strengths and goals. From this interactive process we will develop an action plan that will detail their Tier placement, meeting frequency, areas of strengths and need for support. This plan is reviewed and updated each semester for T1 and T2 students.
    • T1 and T2 students will have regular planning meetings with program staff (T1: 1-2 weekly, T2: 1-4 monthly). During these meetings staff ask about each class, self-care, use of accommodations (if applicable), and their social wellbeing. Staff will refer students to campus supports or schedule a follow up, if needed.
    • All Raven Scholars are welcome to spend time in the Raven Lounge Monday-Friday 9am-4:30pm, student may do homework, puzzles, play games, eat their lunch, etc. in this space.
    • We invite students to participate in monthly events, workshops, discussion groups, etc. We also encourage students to attend residence hall and campus events.
  • What if a student is struggling?
    • Staff will see academic system flags (early warning grades, poor mid-term grades, poor attendance) and we will intervene. Program staff may also assist students in navigating other system flags or holds placed by Advising, Housing, Student Accounts, Dean of Students, Conduct, etc.
    • We may prompt T1 students to check their email and/or to review courses on Canvas (or other applicable websites) to help students be proactive in preventing any problems from escalating. It is highly recommended T1 students be open to this, especially if they have received warnings or are on academic probation. 
    • We make referrals to many other campus offices and/or recommend instructor office hours. Students must follow through independently or request program advocacy.
    • Students may be required to complete an accountability agreement to participate in the Raven Scholars program. Some reasons we may request an Accountability Agreement:
      • Returning from an Academic Disqualification, Probation and/or other academic concerns
      • Reapplied for program support after being dismissed
      • Frequent no-shows for regularly scheduled appointments
      • Conduct or legal issues
      • Mental health, social or self-care concerns.
  • What if the student is reluctant to accept support? The Raven Scholars program honors the autonomy of students and their choice in accepting program services is entirely voluntary. If a student does not respond to our communication attempts after several tries, we will assume they are no longer interested and dismiss them from program services.
    • We do not recommend parents apply on behalf of students for this service. We strongly prefer the student's direct and voluntary involvement in the application and intake process.
    • We view and treat our students as fully autonomous adults and will respect their wishes, even if that means not participating in the program or accepting accommodations.
  • What if the student doesn’t adhere to the program policies? The Raven Scholars program has a three-strikes no-show policy, and a policy and participation agreement. While program staff will do our best to communicate and problem solve, students can and will be dismissed at the Associate Director’s sole discretion. We will make a CARE report to the Dean of Students Office, if we have concerns for the students academic, social or mental wellbeing.
    • Students are expected to participate as agreed upon in the program action plan, including enrollment and attendance in INTR 101, weekly planning meetings and following other program recommendations. Staff will communicate clearly and support students in making informed decisions with knowledge of natural logical consequences (e.g. program dismissal, receiving a D or F, accountability agreement, etc.).
  • What are the goals of an accountability agreement? The agreement is designed for the student to reflect on obstacles, behaviors and circumstances that led to poor outcomes and to identify values related to their academic and social goals. It is also a tool to express expectations for a student's participation in the program and to realign the responsibility for effort towards positive personal outcomes onto the student with a growth mindset. Refusal to complete an accountability agreement may result in a permanent dismissal.
  • Is there a grievance policy? The Raven Scholars program is a voluntary, donations-based program, it is not a federally mandated accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Access to the program is voluntary and is not guaranteed under any U of I policy or federal or state law.
    • If a student needs accommodations to participate in the program, they may request those from CDAR.
    • The Associate Director reports to the Director of CDAR, and you are encouraged to bring any grievances to them.

Program Availability:

  • Staff are available during business hours, Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • The program is closed on all U of I holidays, and hours may be limited on breaks (fall recess, winter break, spring recess). There are no services over the summer term.

  • Is there a fee for participation? Raven Scholars is a free, donations-based program and there are no costs currently associated with student enrollment. 
  • How do I donate to the program? Thank you for your generosity! You may donate here, please be sure "Raven Scholars Program" is in the Designation field. We also participate in Vandal Giving Day. 
  • How are donations used?  We use gifts to develop fun, interactive student events: social events, workshops, discussion groups and to update program materials like workbooks, crafts, sensory tools, etc. Additionally, they may fund program promotion and recruitment materials, technical equipment, training materials and professional development opportunities for our staff and interns.
  • What other contributions can I make to the Raven Scholars Program? Please reach out to Leslie Gwartney, Raven Scholars Associate Director, for information on volunteer opportunities or other ways you may support the program, leslieag@uidaho.edu or 208-885-9107.
  • Does Raven Scholars offer scholarships? No, Raven Scholars is a free academic and social support program, our funds are used for staffing and program operations. However, there are many scholarships available on the Financial Aid Scholarship webpage. We're also aware of some additional resources or scholarships related to ASD or other disabilities you may want to look into, and there are many more online:

  • Can a student get Housing accommodations? Yes, CDAR does provide Housing Accommodations, and the program can assist in advocating for a student's needs. However, the student must have supporting documentation from a doctor or clinician stating the need for that accommodation related to their diagnosis and it must be approved by CDAR.
    • Housing buyout options are also available for those who want a single unit but are unable to obtain supporting documentation related to a disability.
  • What about dietary restrictions in the Dining Hall? A student would either work through CDAR or directly with Housing to address any allergies or food sensitivities. Raven Scholar staff could help a student navigate those processes or advocate with a student if their needs are not being met. 
  • Does Raven Scholars have a dedicated dorm? No, Raven Scholars does not have a designated Housing building, dorm, or wing. Our students live in Residence Halls, apartments on and off campus, in Fraternities or Sororities, or even in a parent's home. It is up to the individual to determine the best fit for them. We recommend a campus tour to view all Housing options.
  • What if an assigned roommate or suitemate is a poor fit? We can help a student go through the proper channels to request a room reassignment or to advocate for a student’s needs, but they are ultimately responsible for self-advocating and abiding by terms and conditions of their Housing contract.
  • Do Raven Scholars ever room up with each other? Raven Scholars does not provide a roommate matchmaking service. However, if multiple Raven Scholar students wanted to be roommates with other program enrollees, the program could connect those interested parties to work it out on their own (without further program involvement).
  • Does Raven Scholars provide any Housing services? No, Raven Scholar students must have independent living skills sufficient to live on campus (with roommates or by themselves).  
    • The program does not provide any personal care or in-home services such as cleaning, monitoring personal hygiene, wake up calls or bedtimes, distributing medications, etc. If a student is not able to manage these tasks independently, the program is not sufficient to meet their needs.
    • Raven Scholar staff do not have access to the Housing buildings

 

  • How do students meet with Peer-Mentors? Peer-Mentors schedule their regular hours (between Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) in the Raven Student Lounge, and they will be posted. Peer-Mentors schedule between 3-9 hours in the Raven Lounge per week, depending on their credit load.
  • Students may drop in to visit with Peer-Mentors or may be scheduled to focus on a specific task. Peer-Mentors also often attend our social events, as they are able.
  • Are Peer-Mentors on the spectrum? Not necessarily, but they certainly can be! In fact, we have had several students ‘graduate’ from the Raven Scholars to go on and become Peer-Mentors themselves, and we love and encourage that. Other Peer-Mentors may identify as neurodivergent, but are often neurotypical students going into Education, Psychology and Pre-Health fields, (any major is eligible to apply).
  • Can a Peer-Mentor be assigned to a dorm? No, Raven Scholars Peer-Mentors are not assigned to intern in Housing and are only available during scheduled hours or program events
  • Are Peer-Mentors Tutors? No, they are junior or senior interns with a 3.0+ GPA who can help students with time management, study skills, social skills and to navigating campus supports. Often, they are happy to help a student organize or explore ambiguities in assignments, but they are not intended to be tutors.
  • Can the program assign a "buddy" to a student? The program provides opportunities and places for students to interact with other Raven Scholars and Peer-Mentors during our hours of operation, and we recommend Raven Scholars share contact information with each other to socialize outside the program, but it is up to them to follow through. 
    • Peer-Mentors are in a professional internship role, and are only available during their assigned hours or program events. We do not permit Peer-Mentors to share person contact information with students, as we view this is an ethical boundary while they are in that role.

Non-Degree Seeking Students:

  • Can a non-degree seeking student be in Raven Scholars? The program is intended to support students on a traditional four or five-year degree-seeking track, and that is where our staff and resources are focused. Raven Scholars can provide services to non-degree seeking students who wanted to see if college is a good fit, but only for up to two semesters. Degree seeking students are given priority and non-degree seeking students are more likely to be waitlisted if the program is full.
    • If a non-degree seeking student wanted to continue with program supports after two semesters, they would need to enroll in a degree program.
    • We recommend looking at alternatives, such as the ROAR program at Washington State University, if seeking a degree is not the long term goal.
  • Can non-degree seeking students take INTR 101? While we do cover some lessons on social and independent living skills, INTR 101 is intended to support students in their other courses (e.g. planning and time management). It is strongly encouraged at a student take at least one three-credit UI course in addition to INTR 101.

Part-Time Students:

  • Can a part-time student enroll with the program? Raven Scholars is intended for full-time, degree-seeking students. However, if a Raven Scholars student has a CDAR accommodations for part-time enrollment, they will be allowed to participate in the program as a T1 or T2 student, and the program will defer to the first-come, first-serve policy in a waitlist situation.
    • Fulltime students will be given priority enrollment over part-time students who do not have a CDAR accommodation, and are choosing a less than fulltime course load, (only if a waitlist is active).

  • After hour support: Raven Scholars is only available during business hours, Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The program is closed during holidays, U of I closures, and only available by appointment during winter, fall and spring recess.
  • Summer Term Services: Raven Scholars staff are out on leave from mid-May to late-July and no program support is available for typical summer course schedules.
  • Transportation: Raven Scholars does not provide any kind of transportation services, however, there is a free bus service, the SMART Transport Bus, which has routes through campus and the Moscow community.
    • Students with mobility issues may also qualify for assistance through the Vandal Access Van, requested through CDAR.
    • The U of I also offers a Vandal Break Bus which offers transportation to some surrounding cities and airports during term breaks.
  • Counseling and Mental Health Services: Raven Scholars does not provide counseling, but all U of I students may access mental health support for free through the CTC, including a 24/7 crisis hotline 208-885-6716.
  • Tutoring: Raven Scholars does not directly provide tutoring, though we can help connect students to the Writing Center, Academic Coaching, Tutoring and Academic Support and Academic Peer-Mentors. All are free services.
  • Classroom/Housing Accommodations: Raven Scholars program can advocate for accommodations to CDAR with a student, but we do not make the final decision on what accommodations are assigned. It is recommended that you communicate with CDAR to learn more about accommodations available at the college level, as not all will translate from an IEP or 504 plan in high school.
    • Students are expected to self-advocate and communicate the use of their accommodations to their instructors, if necessary, or to schedule exams with CDAR.
    • On occasion Raven Scholars can mediate or advocate on behalf of a student to an instructor, but the goal is to empower students to advocate for themselves and become more independent.
  • Time Monitoring and Prompting: Students are expected to regulate their sleep schedules, wake up on their own to attend classes and meetings on time. Raven Scholars program can help students identify tools and techniques, but the program does not provide wake up calls or regulate sleep schedules, provide prompts to attend classes, etc.
  • Meal Planning Services: Raven Scholars does not generally manage food services or accommodations, though we can work with CDAR and Housing to communicate needs.
  • Escorts/Chaperones: Raven Scholars does not provide this service and it is not considered to be a reasonable accommodation at the college level; the program is not recommended for individuals needing this level of redirection or supervision.
  • Legal or Conduct Issues: Raven Scholars program may advocate on behalf of a student and to ensure that they fully understand the situation. However, Raven Scholars is not a legal service, nor do we provide any protection from consequences for a student’s violation of state or federal laws, classroom or housing rules, or the U of I Code of Conduct.

Contact Us

Bruce M. Pitman Center, Suite 127

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS-4257
Moscow, ID 83844-4257

Phone: 208-885-6307

Fax: 208-885-9404

Email: cdar@uidaho.edu

Web: Strategic Plan

Meet the Staff Map

Bruce M. Pitman Center, Room 056

Physical Address:
CDAR Testing
Bruce M. Pitman Center, Room 056

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS-4257
Moscow, ID 83844-4257

Phone: 208-885-9004

Email: cdar-testing@uidaho.edu

Idaho Student Union Building Room 330

Mailing Address:
CDAR #4257

Phone: 208-885-9107

Email: ravenscholars@uidaho.edu

Web: Raven Scholars Program

Meet the Staff Map