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Applying to CarolinaLIFE

Your college experience begins here!

Admissions Criteria

Applicants must:

  • Be between the ages of 18 – 26 upon enrollment to be considered for residential programming. Students over 26 may still be considered for admission as commuter students.
  • Have completed high school (a high school diploma is not required).
  • Have a documented intellectual disability.
    • Prospective students who demonstrate support needs reflective of our current student population but who do not specifically have an intellectual disability will be considered if spots are available. Students without a diagnosis of ID are not eligible for federal financial aid or state funds for needs-based scholarships and/or grants.
  • Demonstrate a desire to attend CarolinaLIFE and work toward independence while utilizing natural supports and adhering to the policies and procedures of the University of South Carolina and those specific to the CarolinaLIFE program regarding attendance, participation, grades, and conduct.
  • Work to achieve their desired post-college goals and outcomes by:
    • Maintaining respect for self and others.
    • Attending all university and program classes, employment commitments, and academic lab sessions.
    • Undertaking activities of daily living without direct supervision (e.g., personal hygiene, self-administering medication, basic first aid and safety needs, etc.)
    • Navigating campus independently (cross roads independently, ask for assistance when needed, communicate needs effectively).


Admissions Process

CarolinaLIFE is a non-degree certificate program. Transfer credits from other colleges or postsecondary programs do not apply. The application for the 2025 -2026 CarolinaLIFE cohort will open on August 1, 2024. It is to your advantage to plan ahead and apply early, as applications will be reviewed periodically (for details on this review process, see bulleted list below). Applications with missing items, or those submitted after October 13, may not be considered. In addition to submitting the required documentation, qualified candidates will be invited to participate in a 1:1 virtual interview with a CarolinaLIFE staff member. Based on committee review, final candidates will be invited to an on-campus interview. Admission to CarolinaLIFE is selective. Meeting basic requirements does not guarantee admission to the program.


Admissions Materials

  • Completed CarolinaLIFE online application
  • Most current IEP
  • Psychoeducational Evaluation (including WISC/WAIS and WIAT/Woodcock Johnson scores) completed within the last 3 years
  • 3 completed reference forms


Fall 2025 Cohort Admissions Calendar

All application materials must be completed by the APPLICANT. Applications completed by family members or support personnel will not be considered. Applicants may have support in physically typing responses, however responses must be their own. We are interested in learning about the applicant in the applicant's own words.

  • Applications Open: August 1, 2024
  • Primary Wave Application Deadline: October 13, 2024
  • Primary Wave Zoom Interviews: August 12 - October 18, 2024
  • Primary Wave On-campus Interview Invitations Sent: October 21, 2024
  • Primary Wave On-campus Interviews: November 8, 2024 & November 18, 2024
  • Primary Wave Admissions Decisions: December 2, 2024
  • Waitlist Decisions: no later than March 21, 2025


  • Secondary Wave Application Deadline*: January 31, 2025
  • Secondary Wave Zoom Interviews*: October 21 - February 7, 2025
  • Secondary Wave On-campus Interview Invitations Sent*: February 10, 2025
  • Secondary Wave On-campus Interviews*: February 21, 2025
  • Secondary Wave Admissions Decisions*: February 28, 2025
  • *Admissions priority is given to primary wave applicants. Continued available cohort capacity will determine if secondary wave applications are reviewed. The secondary wave is not guaranteed.


How to Apply

Our application for the Fall 2024 Cohort will open on August 1, 2024 at 8:00 am EST. Use this link to apply.


Application Checklist

The required supporting documents can be attached directly to the Jotform CarolinaLIFE application, OR can be submitted via email to supporting documents include:
  • Most recent IEP
  • Psychoeducational Evaluation (including WISC/WAIS and WIAT/Woodcock Johnson scores) completed within the last three years

To submit a reference form, please copy and paste the following link and send it to your references to complete.  You will need three references:

CarolinaLIFE WILL NOT review your application until ALL THREE reference forms are received.  References should not be family members or friends.  References may be contacted by CarolinaLIFE to ensure that their form is reflective of their true opinion of the applicant's ability and/or drive to be successful in college.  Falsification of this information is subject to immediate loss of consideration.  Applicants are responsible for ensuring the completion of reference forms.  CarolinaLIFE will confer with the applicant once all materials are received.

The reference form must be completed in one session.  The form cannot be saved and reopened.

The reference form will open on August 1, 2024 at 8:00 am EST.


 Please Note

  • All application materials submitted will be destroyed immediately after final decisions are made for those students who are not accepted.
  • Students are required to complete the application process in full if they are resubmitting an application.

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