The Elmhurst Learning and Success Academy (ELSA) is a four-year, post-secondary certificate program for young adults, ages 18-28, with differing abilities.
At Elmhurst College, we provide an inclusive environment on a college campus, with opportunities for students to interact with their peers in various activities. Students are able to participate in most clubs, organizations, events and other activities on campus along with their degree-seeking peers. While in the program, students may also seek paid part-time student worker positions. We want our students to continue to grow as individuals and build their skills for lifelong-learning opportunities, with the goal to work productively and live as independently as possible.
ELSA is an on-campus program following the academic calendar of the College. Students may take courses in the fall, January, spring and summer terms, and may attend on a full-time or part-time basis.
The program consists of three focus areas, challenging the personal growth of every student:
Students take courses to enhance their literacy skills and abilities in writing, mathematics, purposeful reading and reading for pleasure. Students job shadow, take career exploration courses, and have internships and other field experiences. Instruction in personal finance and use of technology are also integrated throughout the program. Additionally, students have the option to take ELSA electives, beginning in their second year of study, pending necessary approvals.
Students learn valuable strategies to enhance their skills in budgeting, menu preparation and cooking, shopping, use of public transportation, household management, personal care, and other functional life skills.
Students are part of the Elmhurst College community and participate in a wide variety of clubs, organizations and intramural sports on campus. Volunteers from other programs at the College can assist as peer mentors, job and life coaches, community advisors and education coaches, and engage students in a range of planned activities and encourage peer interaction and social skills.
Students have the opportunity for on-campus residential housing. To be considered, students must be their own legal guardian. An additional student assessment and housing application is required. Students approved for residential housing are required to have a life coach, at an additional cost.
On-campus housing is not required. Students have the option to commute or live independently by renting apartments or condominiums—many of which are within walking distance or a short shuttle bus ride from campus.
The ELSA program made me come out of my comfort zone. I have made lifelong friends in the ELSA program.Madison D. '20