Special Opportunities

ELSA Certificate of Specialized Study

In addition to the ELSA Certificate of Completion, some students can choose to earn an ELSA Certificate of Specialized Study. After completing their first year, students select four Elmhurst College courses over two years from various areas of interest. Past areas have included English, Business, Art, Music, Theater, Geography and Information Technology. The courses can include two intro and two advanced courses and are determined on a case-by-case basis, with the help of the associate director and approval of the department chair. The goal is to create opportunities for ELSA students to enhance their education, improve prospects for employment and increase college integration.


Students with strong academic skills may consider enrolling in the ELSA+ program, taking Elmhurst College courses for credit. Upon completion, students will receive an Elmhurst College transcript that may be used to transfer as a dual-enrolled degree student at Elmhurst College. It is recommended ELSA+ students take one college course for credit in addition to three ELSA courses.

ELSA+ students will have access to standard college accommodations and must demonstrate academic ability and sufficient independence. Before enrolling in ELSA+, students must complete at least one semester of the ELSA program. Course selections will be approved on a case-by-case basis by ELSA advising staff.

The Advantage Program

Students enrolled in a degree program at the College, and interested in some support from the ELSA program, have the opportunity to enroll in one ELSA course alongside three degree courses at the College. Students must apply and be admitted into Elmhurst College first. Once admitted, students can submit an ELSA application along with their latest IEP and educational evaluations. ELSA staff will invite the candidate in for an interview to help determine which ELSA courses may best complement the student’s goals.

Students will work closely with the College disability coordinator for academic accommodations desired for degree courses. Students have pursued ELSA courses such as: Intro to College Life, Education Coaching, Self Determination, Individual Literacy Needs, and various career exploration courses. Students interested in the Advantage Program are strongly recommended to meet with the ELSA admission counselor, and the College access and disability coordinator prior to completing an ELSA application.

ELSA Alumni Continuing Education Program

The ELSA Alumni Continuing Education Program enables graduates to return to Elmhurst College and take any new courses that faculty have introduced since the student has graduated. The program gives alumni an opportunity to learn, reconnect with the College, and make new friends.

Alumni may take one free course each school year with approval from the program director. Alumni can register one week prior to the beginning of the semester and can choose to either audit the course or to receive a letter grade.

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