FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What is College Excel?
A: College Excel is a comprehensive residential college support program for young adults over the age of 18, located in beautiful Bend, Oregon. Founded in 2003 by Jeannie Crowell, College Excel was established in response to the growing need for alternative options for higher education, particularly for students with motivational challenges, executive functioning issues, and learning differences. While attending either Central Oregon Community College (COCC) or Oregon State University - Cascades and earning transferable college credits, students receive daily structure and support from College Excel staff that is personalized to their needs while living in our fully furnished, private student residences.
Q: When can I enroll in College Excel?
College Excel is open year round and once a student is accepted into our program he or she can enroll at any time. It is ideal if a student starts at the beginning of a college quarter, but not necessary. Our first term student curriculum is designed to accommodate students enrolling at any time.
Q: When do College Excel's academic quarters begin? (Please note that students are required to be at College Excel one week prior to classes beginning and one week after classes end.)
A. College Excel's academic calendar mirrors COCC's and OSU's academic calendar. The following dates represent the first day of classes for each academic quarter through Fall 2020.
2020 Summer Quarter Monday, June 22 - August 31, 2020
2020 Fall Quarter Monday, September 21 - December 12, 2020
2021 Winter Quarter Monday, January 4 - March 21, 2021
Q: Where will I live while attending College Excel?
A: College Excel students live in one of our fully furnished private residences on Bend's Westside with 1-4 other roommates. Most students are required to live in our residences for their first two terms, after which they may decide to find their own living arrangement. We do require a 30-day notice for students moving out of our housing.
Q: Do staff live in student residences?
A. No. To replicate a real independent living experience, staff do not live in housing with students. However, each house is checked weekly by a Student Success Coach who meets with the residents to address any issues and provide independent living skills training and conflict resolution, as needed. Per our student Housing
Agreement staff are allowed access to residences at any time.
Q: Is College Excel a therapeutic program?
A: No. College Excel is an academic and behavioral coaching program, not a therapeutic program. However, students may see a mental health professional of their choice while enrolled in our program and for our student's convenience we have therapists that provide services on the College Excel campus. Our coaches work closely with students to assure that all professionals are aligned and actively supporting the student's treatment goals. These services are billed directly by the provider.
Q: How many students are enrolled in College Excel's program?
A: Because our focus is tailored to each student's needs, College Excel is intentionally a small program. On average, our student population is 30 students.
Q: What is the average length of enrollment at College Excel?
A: Based on the scientifically-validated behavioral and neuro coaching models used at College Excel, transformational change takes at least nine months to solidify and most importantly, to be sustainable. On average, most of our students enroll in our program for 9-12 months.
The first term is intentionally designed to create high chances of student success through the close supervision of course work, the opportunity to take accredited college courses taught by our instructors and participating in our wellness program and community activities. The second term, students begin to assume more autonomy, choosing their own classes and schedule and working to apply the skills they learned in the first term. This term is often more difficult as students are taking on more personal responsibility and it is common for old habits and coping strategies to surface again. This is an important part of the change process and allows for our behavioral and neuro coaching process to identify and change students' unproductive and ingrained behavior patterns. The third term is intended for our students to have a “practice trial” to test whether they have successfully implemented and can maintain these new, productive behaviors and academic skill sets. We strongly recommend a three-term minimum based on the success of the hundreds of students we’ve worked with successfully over the past 17 years.
It is best if parents and students determine and set clear expectations about their length of stay in the College Excel program before enrolling. If needed, please consult our Admissions Director on how to establish clear, agreed-upon expectations before enrollment to prevent any miscommunication between you and your student.
Q: Do you offer post-College Excel support services?
Yes. Students may extend their stay at College Excel under our reduced services programs. After successfully completing nine months in the main program students will assess their continuing needs and may qualify for reduced services. The length and extent of services vary on a student's individual needs. For students leaving the area we offer transition coaching services via video conferencing or phone.
Q: Should I bring my car to College Excel?
A: Having a car at College Excel is not necessary given the proximity of the colleges, the availability of public transportation options and Uber/Lyft, and the walkable nature of Bend’s westside. We ask cars to be left at home until the student, parents and the student’s coach can determine if having a vehicle will support their growth as a college student. However, we also respect that the decision to bring or not to bring a car to the program is an independent decision for our families.
Q: How will I get to and from College Excel's scheduled activities without a car?
A: Our private student residences are located on Bend's westside and are no more than one mile away from our facilities, the college campuses, downtown and numerous restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, parks and the Mt. Bachelor Ski Shuttle. We encourage our students to walk or bike to our facilities and classes when feasible as part of their focus on wellness and holistic living.
College Excel and the City of Bend also provide these transportation services:
1. College Excel provides students living in our residences with a private, door-to-door shuttle service to and from our facilities. For all students, we provide transportation to and from all off-campus scheduled activities including grocery runs.
2. The shuttle to the COCC campus runs several times a day and stops in front of our facilities to pick up our students.
3. For non-scheduled activities such as medical appointments, individual therapy, and community events students can use public transportation, cab services including our favorite Green Cab or Uber and Lyft.
4. Bend is a big biking town, and there are dedicated bike lanes on many of the roads.
Q: What is the difference between "courses" and "seminars" at College Excel?
A: Courses are offered through the colleges, are for credit and become part of your college transcript. Comparatively, seminars are designed and taught by College Excel staff in our facilities, offering valuable supplemental information about how to create and sustain holistic collegiate success, both inside and outside of the classroom. The seminars are non-accredited but are a required for all first-term students to complete.
Q: Is College Excel on a quarter or semester-based system?
A: In alignment with COCC's and OSU Cascade's quarter-based academic calendar, College Excel also operates on a quarter-based (or "term") system. The COCC quarter system is split into three, 10-week quarters (fall, winter, and spring) for a total of 30 weeks of instruction, each with an additional finals week. COCC also offers an optional summer quarter of courses. Comparatively, a semester-based school year typically includes 30-32 weeks of instruction plus an additional finals week, split into two sessions each lasting between 15-16 weeks.
NOTE: College Excel operates year-round, including during COCC's and OSU Cascade's academic breaks.
Q: Do students get to pick their own COCC or OSU-Cascades courses while at College Excel?
A: First term students have a set schedule, which includes enrollment in our accredited COCC course Strategies for Life Management (3 credits), wellness activities, seminars, coaching appointments and community events. Students may also work with their advisor to enroll in additional courses of their choice. During the remainder of their College Excel program, students work with their Student Success Coach to choose their college courses and create their own schedules.
Q: What does a typical day look like during a student's first term at College Excel?
A. During the first term, students are enrolled in College Excel's Core Curriculum, which includes a accredited COCC course, College Excel seminars and daily wellness activities (such as weightlifting, cardio workouts, boot camp workouts, yoga classes, cooking classes and more). On a weekly basis, students meet one-on-one with their Student Success Coach and receive both academic and behavioral change coaching. A typical first term student's Monday - Thursday schedule is below:
9:30 a.m. - Academic check-in at "ACE."
10:15 a.m. - Class @ COCC
11:30 a.m. - Lunch on your own
12:30 p.m. - Seminar @ College Excel
2 p.m. - Daily community wellness activity and fitness coaching
3:30 - 5 p.m. - Formal one-on-one Student Success Coaching Sessions (one day per week)
5-9 p.m. - Optional study hours and one-on-one tutoring in College Excel facilities
On Fridays, a typical first term student’s schedule consists of:
10 a.m. - Weekly community brunch and meeting
11 a.m. - Weekly grocery shopping trip (first of two options offered weekly)
1 p.m. - Rotating wellness activity (basketball, kickball, rock climbing, hiking, etc.)
Q: How much free time will I have during my first term at College Excel?
A: Outside of the required activities listed above as well as a weekly community dinner on Sunday evenings, students have the remainder of the week to use at their discretion.
Q: What is the Integrated Coaching Model used at College Excel?
A: Integrated Coaching is a holistic approach that blends Academic and Life Coaching into one model. Our Student Success Coaches and are trained in Academic and Student Life Coaching, in addition to being Certified Behavioral and Neuro Coaches. Each student is assigned their own personal coach and in collaboration they create an individualized plan for the student to learn and practice the skills necessary for a successful collegiate experience. This model also allows our coaches to support students understanding that what happens outside of the classroom has a large impact on what happens inside of the classroom. Learning how to coordinate, balance and manage both aspects of collegiate life is key to increased academic performance.
Q: What does Academic Coaching provide College Excel students?
A: Academic coaching entails helping students understand, develop, and maintain an academic skill set that caters to their individual learning styles and sets them up for sustainable collegiate success. The coach helps students navigate campus and various college support services; oversee students' course selection and coursework; practice study skills and develop study habits; implement technological solutions and devices to improve performance; develop key relationships with students' instructors and professors; and co-create a viable transition plan for students' future academic success. Content specific tutoring is also available in the evenings through our Academic Department. Tutors work one-to-one with students to identify learning gaps, learn new content, break down assignments step by step, practice test taking strategies and acquire any additional academic skills necessary for their success.
Q: What does Student Life Coaching provide College Excel students?
A: Student Life Coaching focuses on supporting students to balance their academic, social, wellness, independent living, and other personal obligations. Having a coach helps students relieve the anxiety of trying to do everything on their own and provides the individual with a grounded, sounding board to discuss challenges, difficulties and successes. Coaches collaborate with the student to develop a personal action plan to meet their goals, build intrinsic motivation, tackle and overcome difficulties, change behaviors and create a platform for accountability while mastering the skills and mindsets to achieve sustainable personal success. Wellness and Fitness Coaches are also part of Student Life Coaching and provide education on topics such as mindfulness, eating right and managing anxiety. Fitness activities are offered five days a week and are a place where students and their coaches can work out together, have fun and challenge each other to achieve personal bests.
Q: Will College Excel help me manage my medication?
A: No, students need to be capable of taking medication on their own. However, we do contract with several local medication management professionals, and our coaches will help students set up medication management appointments.
Q: Do students have to prepare their meals at College Excel?
A: Yes. Outside of the two community meals that College Excel provides students with on a weekly basis (Friday community brunch and Sunday community dinner), students are responsible for their meal planning and preparation because that is an essential part of holistic living. Cooking classes are provided, students have fully furnished kitchens in their private housing and they are provided with a private shuttle service twice weekly for grocery shopping. We also keep our facilities stocked with snacks and easy breakfast options for students throughout the week. If desired, students can partner with their roommates for meal planning and preparation; purchase a meal plan at COCC; find cheap eats at one of Bend's many food trucks or dine at Elevation, the restaurant of COCC's award-winning Cascade Culinary Institute.
After enrolling at College Excel, Student Life Coaches assess each student's experience with meal planning, grocery shopping, and meal preparation to determine the level of support needed, if any. During their first term, all College Excel students take a series of independent living seminars, which cover critical life skills such as budgeting, meal planning and preparation, nutrition, and more.
During our Summer Program students are enrolled in a private for credit, college class offered through COCC's Culinary Institute designed to teach basic cooking techniques and meal preparation.
Q: Can students select the college or university that they want to attend while at College Excel?
A: Due to the structure and requirements of our first term Core Curriculum, all College Excel students are enrolled in one accredited COCC course. Students may complete their Associate's degree at COCC if desired. Students who meet the academic requirements and want to pursue their Bachelor's degree can apply to Oregon State University - Cascades or take classes as non-degree seeking students without going through the formal application process.
Note: Enrollment at OSU-Cascades is based on acceptance to the University, through its proprietary admissions process. Visit for detailed information.
Q: Is College Excel officially affiliated with either Central Oregon Community College or Oregon State University-Cascades?
A: No. We have close relationships with both institutions, but College Excel is a privately owned and operated company.