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Process Overview


The OLS Prospective Student:

OLS students are "tweeners”. These are adults with a disability that are often overlooked as potential college students. Some take a couple of college courses and drop out because a traditional college classroom did not work for their learning styles, while others are in a pattern of being hired and then fired, because they may not “fit in” to the work culture of that business. Most are having difficulties finding employment and might be struggling with what to do next.  This particular group of potential college students want and need access to a college education such as OLS!

Prospective Student Characteristics:

  • May have attended college classes, but did not succeed in the traditional college environment
  • Work or volunteer
  • Difficulty with soft skills in everyday life
  • Desire to obtain a college education
  • Can critically think and problem solve
  • Participates in conversations
  • Makes personal decisions
  • Technology savvy - including MS Word, internet, and e-mail use
  • Communicates personal knowledge and personal opinions

Types of Disabilities:

Most OLS students have multiple disabilities.


Examples of disabilities include:

  • Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities (NVLD)
  • Generalized learning disabilities
  • ADHD, anxiety disorders
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Sight impairment
  • Asperger's Syndrome
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder


The type of learner at OLS is more important than the disability to our instructors and staff.  The type of learner directs our specialized instruction and universal design of our curriculum.

Program Facts:

  • OLS is an Associate's Degree in Occupation and Life Skills (AOLS)
  • Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Bellevue College Professional Technical degree is non-transferable to other colleges
  • Completion of 90 credits is required for degree
  • 52 total courses, 43 required to graduate
  • OLS courses are for admitted students into OLS
  • 2 Cohorts of 12-14 students admitted each fall quarter
  • Early application due date is April 15th, regular application due date July 15th   
  • Selective admissions process
  • State and federal financial aid is available, which is completed through Bellevue College.