Smiling student looking off into the distance.

Transition to Independence

Under the umbrella of the Vocational Independence Program, the Transition to Independence Program is our anchor, 3-year academic-year program. Students focus primarily on the skills needed for independent adulthood including social skills, independent living skills, executive functioning skills and employment skills.

All academic-year students participate in the VIP curriculum, benefit from a strong support structure and experience what it is to live in a college residence hall and tend to many new responsibilities. Starting in their second semester, students will begin to choose between focusing primarily on credit courses (Pre-Degree Focus) or employment (Employment Focus).

Employment Focus

Students focused on employment will typically not take any NYIT credit courses (although there is an opportunity to do some of both). Students are provided with community-based internships with job coach support in conjunction with the comprehensive Employment component of the VIP curriculum. In classes, students study and practice skills including resume development, interviewing, and workplace self-advocacy.

VIP prides itself on the relationships it has with its employers and the quality of internship opportunities that are available. All students (including those with a Pre-Degree focus) accumulate work experience during the course of their VIP careers, and recent work placements include:

  • Children's Recreation
  • Clerical/Office Support (Medical, Corporate, NYIT, Non-Profit, etc.)
  • Food Service
  • Facilities/Maintenance
  • Hospitality Services
  • Retail

Pre-Degree Focus

The Pre-Degree focus is for students who would like to explore credit coursework and possibly pursue a college degree after VIP. Though students earn transferable credits for the NYIT courses they pass while with VIP, acceptance to NYIT undergraduate academics is not required, and students are not required to have taken the SAT or ACT exams.

Pre-college courses begin in a student’s first  semester, and are designed to prepare the student for college-level academics (i.e., MLA and APA style writing for college research papers).

Starting in their second semester of VIP, Pre-Degree students take between three and nine college credits (one to three classes) per semester in addition to the classes that make up the VIP curriculum.

Qualified students have the option of earning an Associate Degree in three years in either Business Administration or Communication Arts, through our Associate Degree Support Program.


Independent Living Skills

At VIP, all students get the experience of living in a real NYIT residence hall and engaging in NYIT campus life. Students are responsible for managing their own space and time in a genuine college environment. Each student is provided support in the form of an Independent Living Coach that will work with the him/her on skills like cleanliness, organization and laundry management. Students are also supported by a Banking Advisor who will help the student manage their personal checking accounts and meal plan balances. In the classroom, students are explicitly taught crucial skills that will help them towards their independent living goals such as Banking/Budgeting, Travel Training, and Apartment/Community Living.

Social/Communication Skills

VIP students are afforded many new opportunities for social engagement both within the program, and as part of the larger NYIT community. Students work towards successfully navigating campus life, managing new friendships and being good roommates/suitemates. Social Coaches at VIP work with students on a regular basis to capitalize on the social opportunities that are available. Coaches routinely provide social/emotional support to students in pursuit of a healthy and fulfilling social life. Depending on the student, that may mean increasing participation in activities or managing a very busy active experience. In the classroom, specific social skills are covered explicitly, and connections are made to the student's day-to-day experience in the program. Student are able to analyze and plan ahead for social situations in several different environments; in class, in the residence hall, at work, and in the community at-large.