Student Support and Services


General Information
Diagnostic assessments are available at the Institute of Child Study for a nominal fee.  Reasonable accommodations, such as additional time for tests or coursework, are available through evaluation with a Mentor.  Many other services are available on an individual need basis.

Project Excel does not provide remedial or developmental instruction.  Specialized tutoring in all content areas including science, psychology, education and business are offered the the Learning Assistance Program on campus.  Through Project Excel, students can find "trained" tutors to assist with their academic studies.

Project Excel students are eligible for a minimum of one session per week of individual contact time with support staff, preferential registration for each semester, referral to campus services for tutoring, training for learning strategies, assistance with student advocacy with faculty, and peer mentoring.  Academic, career, personal advisement/counseling are available at our offices or students will be referred to other services on campus.  Our Mentors will develop a CEP that includes all reasonable accommodations required to enjoy success at the college level.

Project Excel Peer Partnership (PEPP)

A network of Peers offers information and support to Project Excel students.  These leaders have demonstrated both academic and personal strength and serve as role models for other students with learning disabilities.

Heroes of a Different Sort
In many aspects, a peer partner is no different from the rest of us. He or she is no more intelligent, good-looking or blessed than most people are. What makes a peer partner a unique individual is the desire to serve and make a difference in another person's life.  A peer partner is an individual who cares enough for another human being to want to help.

PE Peer Partner Leaders...
The peer partners of the Project Excel are such unique individuals. They are devoted to helping their newer peers succeed and their passion is matched only by their compassion. These peer partners are people who care enough to volunteer themselves to help change lives.

And after having gone through a part of their education at Kean and Project Excel, these peer partners are in an excellent position to help and inspire their newer peers who are still going through it. As the peer partners are simply normal people who wish to help, they stand out as real life examples of what their newer peers can achieve. The peer partners become believable role models with an added touch of intimacy.

Getting the Job Done
There are no hard and fast rules to peer partnering. Each of our new or transfer students is a unique individual with his or her unique personality. We are sensitive to the needs of different students and are aware that there is no such thing as a magical cure-all solution.

When our peer partners organize activities to help bring out the best in our new or transfer students, the nature of these activities may vary from student to student or time to time. But the underlying motivation is to create opportunities for our new or transfer students to become successful at Kean. We want to do everything we can to make their lives better and our mission is to ensure our means in achieving this goal. At the end of the day, we know we are getting the job done when we see our new or transfer students become more established and comfortable while pursuing their goals.


General Information

Successfully navigating the college experience can be facilitated by following some unwritten rules which we would like to share with you:

  1. Learn your teachers' names.
    • Addressing a teacher as Professor Smith is your best bet if you do not know if "Dr." is appropriate.
  2. Attendance is very important.
    • Do NOT miss class unless ABSOLUTELY necessary.
    • Do NOT arrive late for class.
      • That means you should be early.
      • That way you have time to get a cup of coffee, review your notes, and really be ready for class.
    • Do NOT leave early.
      • If you have to make a doctor's appointment, tell the receptionist that you can't leave campus until your classes are finished!
    • Do NOT leave the classroom during class unless it is an emergency.

      • Get a drink, go to the bathroom, etc. during the 15 minutes between classes.
      • Bring tissues with you if you have a cold or allergies.
  3. Accommodations
    • Meet with your Project Excel Mentor during the first few weeks of the semester to write and sign your Academic Accommodations forms.
    • Make an appointment or see your professors privately during the first two weeks of school or after you have your Academic Accommodation forms and explain to them what you might need and how it will be accomplished in that particular class.
      • Doing this early in the semester (before you need the accommodations) means any "wrinkles" can be ironed out.
  4. Take advantage of your professors' office hours to obtain any needed clarification of course material. 
  5. Assignments must be handed in complete and on time.
    • If your paper needs to be stapled, do it at home.  Professors move from room to room just as students do.  They do not have a desk where they can keep staplers, pencil sharpeners, etc.
  6. Successful students spend 2-3 hours studying outside of class for every hour spent in class.


At the post-secondary level, students with disabilities must self-identify and advocate for themselves.  There is no longer a Child Study Team to do this for them.. This often requires a significant adjustment on the part of the new college students.  Project Excel staff will work with students to help them become comfortable with this new role.  Here are several steps that facilitate effective self-advocacy:

Step 1: Accept your disability:
  Before you can advocate for yourself, you have to acknowledge to yourself that you really do have a learning disability.  You aren't dumb.  You aren't lazy. You have probably worked very hard to hide your learning problems (even from yourself).  Now is the time to take a realistic look at the impact your learning disability is likely to have on meeting the challenge of college work.
Step 2: Understand your strengths and weaknesses:
  If you don't have a clear understanding of how you learn best and where difficulties arise, now is the time to get this clarified.  A member of the Project Excel professional staff will be happy to discuss this with you if you would like.  You need this information to figure out the best way to approach your coursework and to discuss accommodations you may need.
Step 3: Be willing to discuss your disability with others when necessary.
  You cannot be a successful self-advocate if you insist on hiding your ability at all costs.  If you need to use your accommodations to do the best in your classes, you will have to discuss your needs with your professors.  You may also find it helpful to be able to casually explain to your friends.
Step 4: Know yourself.  Consider how to compensate for any tendencies you have that might interfere with being an effective self-advocate (e.g. very shy, impulsive).
  Are you too shy to clearly describe your needs?  Do you get angry and aggressive when embarrassed or frustrated?  Are you impulsive and tend to say things you later regret?  Practice with a friend or family member until you are comfortable describing your needs in a way that will be clear but non-threatening to your professors.
Step 5: Know what you need and be prepared (ahead of time) to explain it (not demand it) clearly.
 Your professor is your partner in the learning process but s/he doesn't know how your learning disability affects you until you explain it to him/her.  You want to work together with each professor to figure out the best way to meet your needs for a "level playing field."  You do not want an advantage over the other students--just an equal opportunity to learn and demonstrate your knowledge.  Speak with your professors early in the semester to avoid unexpected difficulties.  If you need help with the process in a particular case, speak with the Project Excel staff.  See our list of tips to make that meeting with your professor easier!

Tips to Make Self-Advocacy Easier

  • Have a very good idea of what you want and why you want it.

  • Rehearse what you will say...maybe with a friend or parent.
  • Speak clearly.
  • Maintain eye contact (as much as possible).
  • Take your time when talking and ask for time to think if you need it.
  • Rephrase what you hear to be sure you really understand.
  • Be respectful.
  • Be careful of your body language (you don't want to look or act angry or impatient).
  • Be flexible and ready to work out alternatives if initial expectations cannot be met.
  • If there is resistance, ask to have a follow-up meeting with a support person (from Project Excel)
  • Thank the professor for his/her time, interest, and cooperation.

Using Tape Recorders

Writing good lecture notes forces you to put classroom information into your own words, using words, expressions, and symbols familiar to you.  You might add notation on previous experiences, drawing on knowledge that is relevant to you, to help you remember the material and connect it with other information.  Note taking is the first step in processing information-analyzing it, synthesizing it, determining what about it is most important, and organizing it.

In order to get the same value from a tape, you would have to take notes from it as you listen.  Since you do not need a record of everything that was said, this can be a waste of precious time.  Thus, it is better to take good notes the first time you hear the lecture (in class) than to tape it and listen to it twice.

There is another problem with taping lectures.  If you put off listening to the tapes, then at the end of three or four weeks, especially if you are doing this in several classes, you may have so many hours of tapes that you will not have time to listen to them.  Then you will be entirely without notes.

Taping a lecture may, of course, be desirable under some circumstances.  If you are going to be absent from a class, it may be advantageous to have a friend tape the lecture so that you will not have to depend on someone else's note-taking abilities.  Remember to listen to the tape as if you were at the lecture; take notes on the tape.  Also, taping may be beneficial for a language class where drilling on pronunciation is an element of the course.

If you do use a tape recorder, always have your accommodation sheet signed prior to usage.  Some instructors feel that their lectures are "copyrighted" material and they do not want them taped.  Others feel inhibited by the presence of a tape recorder.