Classes

College and University Courses

Students will get a head start on their degrees and gain valuable academic experience by enrolling in college courses and earning transferable credits.

In the fall, students will attend one class through the Harvard Extension Program, which contains both on-campus and online components, and one online course through Hadley Institute. In both cases, students will select a course that matches their interests and career goals.

During the spring semester, students will manage their own schedules while taking two courses each week at a local college or university.

College Exploration Seminar

Students will explore colleges and universities that match their interests to determine where to enroll for spring semester classes and potentially apply for admission in the fall. For each college, they will identify any prerequisites and admissions criteria, including standardized tests like ACCUPLACER and the ACT/SAT, visit and tour the campus and meet with representatives from the admissions and disabilities offices.

In the spring, students will enroll in courses and prepare an accommodations portfolio before meeting with a representative from the college’s Disability Services Office (DSO) to review and request accommodations, obtain a syllabus and schedule and learn the location of classrooms.

Once they’ve been accepted to a two- or four-year college of their choice, students will reach out to the DSO to review and request accommodations, pick classes and make a preliminary schedule for the upcoming fall semester. They’ll also apply for scholarships and research funding sources for tuition and college expenses.

Career Exploration Seminar

Students will begin to research careers that are available to them and explore jobs that match up with their interests and skills. They’ll use tools like the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and perform a career discrepancy analysis, which matches their interests and abilities to job descriptions. Students will also research opportunities to gain crucial workplace exposure through job shadowing.           

Throughout the course, students will hear from guest speakers about topics related to college and career. They’ll also participate in group seminars to discuss topics like adjusting to college/the workplace, advocating for accommodations in college and on the job, disclosure and ADA issues and interviewing skills.

Technology

Students will benefit from both small group and individualized technology instruction based on their needs and interests. They’ll use their technology skills to access online courses and navigate the various online learning platforms needed to complete their course assignments, and use social media to stay connected with activities and events on campus. They’ll also explore new technology like ridesharing apps and other devices to help them increase their independence and improve their time management and organizational skills

College Living Skills

Students will get an authentic dorm experience by living on the Perkins campus where they’ll work on daily living skills like cleaning, cooking, organizing, laundry and dining out. In their dorms, they’ll explore various organizational methods like labeling, and learn to maintain a clean, healthy living environment by vacuuming, dusting and using household cleaners safely.

Students will be responsible for food shopping and preparing breakfast each morning along with three meals per day on the weekends. A lunch and dinner menu will be provided and served buffet style throughout the week. Small group and individualized instruction will be offered around basic meal prep and appliance use.

In preparation for college, students will learn to manage roommate relationships and share basic household responsibilities. They’ll also build skills needed to access a dining hall and practice dining at a restaurant independently by accessing the menu, arranging for transportation, communicating with the waitstaff and calculating a tip.

Health Seminar

In this seminar, students will learn how to access a college’s mental health services and review concepts like stress, coping mechanisms and the impact of stressors on our lives. They’ll explore healthy eating guidelines, nutritional concepts and strategies to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Each student will receive a membership to Boston Sports Club in Watertown and will learn to navigate the facility and access amenities. Group seminars will review drug and alcohol safety, safe sex practices and effective strategies to prevent abuse and neglect. Students will also participate in a three-hour course on understanding environmental safety issues, basic self-defense maneuvers and how to make good decisions around safety.

Money and Finance

Students will manage a weekly budget by anticipating costs related to meals, transportation and extracurricular activities and planning accordingly. They’ll practice using a variety of banking methods, including accessing an ATM and using online banking sites. They’ll also participate in group seminars on college tuition, supplemental security income (SSI) and health care costs, and learn to apply for financial aid and scholarships to defray the cost of college.

Know Your Rights Seminar

Students will learn how to navigate college disability centers and advocate for accommodations that they need to be successful. They’ll practice describing their disability and needs in functional terms, and learn to manage and disseminate personal information appropriately. Students will also evaluate community and workplace settings in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and explore their own strengths, challenges and learning styles while creating a comprehensive accommodations portfolio.

By the end of the course, students will be able to articulate their personal and professional goals and will have participated in their communities through service projects and on-campus activities. 

Orientation and Mobility

All students will receive individualized orientation and mobility instruction that focuses on safe and effective travel skills while promoting independence when traveling on college campuses and in the community. Students will participate in community travel sessions and use public transportation, cabs and ridesharing services to travel to a variety of destinations including local stores, restaurants, health club facilities and college campuses. Current applications and the latest in orientation and mobility technology will be explored.

Cultural and Social Activities

Students will make plans with their peers to discover Massachusetts and Boston-area attractions like museums, landmarks, historic sites, restaurants and shopping in areas like the North End, South End and Back Bay. They can choose to attend a Boston Red Sox baseball game at Fenway Park, visit the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown, or take a famous Boston Duck Tour.

In addition to accessing social and recreational opportunities in their community, students are encouraged to select and participate in several clubs or activities on campus each semester.

Electives

Elective classes are courses offered at Perkins School for the Blind that give students a chance to explore their interests and have fun learning with peers. Each student will choose two elective classes per semester. Some examples of elective courses include: home repair, dancing, photography, radio broadcasting, fashion and makeup, travel, gourmet cooking and sports.