CUSP Services

CUSP’s 5 year anniversary

Posted by admin on April 02, 2018  /   Posted in CUSP Services

Today is world autism day and also the 5-year anniversary of CUSP. I am not a huge social media posting-type of person but I would like to stop and thank all of the parents, schools, students, families and friends that helped make this business to what it is today. Thank you. I never could have dreamed that starting a business would have evolved this way and allowed me to meet so many great people and help others achieve their goals. Dreams can come true but quite often not how you plan.


If you or someone you know would benefit from an individualized coaching/transition plan contact CUSP Educational Services today for a free consultation. CUSP is located in upstate New York and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

CUSP’s guide to proper email etiquette

Posted by admin on October 10, 2016  /   Posted in CUSP Services

There are literally countless of things CUSP staff assist our clients with on a daily basis.  However, one thing that always comes up is how to communicate appropriately with different professionals.  Whether it is for college admissions, a professor on faculty member or to schedule a job interview, we are consistently working on how to advocate and represent ourselves in the best way possible.  Here are some tips on what to do (and not do) when crafting an email.


1. Grammar

While this may seem obvious, grammar is key. That means resisting the trigger finger urge to send right away and going through your email after it is written. Look for obvious misspellings and sentence structure errors, but also keep in mind that emails are not the place for abbreviations, nor are they the place for excessive punctuation (i.e. exclamation points and question marks) or capitalizations (you don’t want to come off as too aggressive).


2. Tone

Speaking of aggression, you don’t want your email to come off as hostile or rude. Penning a condescending email is not a way to get what you want, and it certainly won’t be appreciated by the recipient. For example, if you’re emailing a professor about an assignment misunderstanding, the email is not the place to make a comment about his/her clarity in class.You want to be persuasive, and being anything but polite will have an effect.


3. Politeness

No matter who you’re emailing, being polite is vital. It goes hand in hand with respect, and should be a lens through which you look at every component of your email.Make sure you have properly addressed your recipient with a greeting and their name to start off with, and if the situation permits, feel free to add a “hope all is well” or other cursory introduction before launching into your main point or request. Always sign off the email politely, with a variation of “Thank you for your time, [insert name]” or at the very least, a “Thanks/Best, [insert name].”


4.  Concise

While being polite may require a few extra words, it is still important not to belabor your point (or your appreciation – brown nosing is rarely appreciated) too much.  No one wants to read paragraphs in their inbox when your main subject can be summed up into a few clear sentences.  Utilize the subject line as a quick synopsis, as this will not only provide as a hook for your email, but also prevent you from having to waste too many words on introducing your point. All it will do is cause the reader to lose focus and skim, which is not ideal.  When proof reading, a good test is making sure that every sentence written has a purpose.


5. Be yourself – To a Certain Extent

Like my college counselor told me, “If you’re not funny, don’t choose your application to start trying.” The same thinking applies to email. It is not a good idea to crack jokes or try too hard to be witty, but if the correspondence permits, and there’s somewhere to add a more personal touch, go for it. It will make the email sound less robotic, and a little bit of a personal flair isn’t a bad thing.


Just remember these tips and you’ll avoid the post-email cringes and be able to confidently hit that send button like the email savvy person you are!

Choosing Between Your Associate’s Degree And Bachelor’s Degree

Posted by admin on September 10, 2015  /   Posted in CUSP Services

Your family has a tough decision to make when your child heads off to college. There are four-year schools that offer a Bachelor’s degree, but you may choose an Associate’s degree if your child wants to take a less rigorous program to start college. Choosing between these programs depends on the college transition services you choose, the colleges themselves and the course of study your child prefers. This article explores the degree program choice process for your child, and you will learn more about how your child can choose the right program.

#1: Bachelor’s Degree

Your child needs a Bachelor’s degree when they wish to go on to graduate school or work a job that requires some sort of certification. Pushing your child to get a Bachelor’s degree is only a good idea if you know that your child wants to go on to a career that requires the degree. The prospect of a four-year program can be daunting for your child, but it is better for your child to get the degree out of the way while they are still young.

College support services for students with disabilities can be used to help your child get through all four years of the program, and your child will have consistent support during school. Do not force your child to get a four-year degree when there are other options. Consider what a child with anxiety or major learning disabilities could do with a shorter degree program.

#2: Associate’s Degree

An Associate’s degree is a two-year program that helps people get certified in certain fields, continue on to a Bachelor’s degree or get a job that only requires a two-year degree. Your child may start with a job that requires a two-year degree, and your child can work their way through the rest of their four-year degree. The Associate’s Degree offers a sense of accomplishment that your child can use to continue on in school. Any child who is nervous about school in general may use the two-year degree to get the confidence they need.

#3: Choosing The Right School

Choosing the right school with your child is just as important as the degree they will pursue. You may choose a school that offers two-year degrees, but you must be certain that your child may complete their Bachelor’s degree at the same school. Continuity for your child is very important, and you should avoid two-year schools unless your child only wants to get a two-year degree. There are several different schools out there for your children, and you must look over each school to ensure your child would be happy there. You do not choose a school based on the name. You choose the school based on what it offers your child.

There are many ways to help your child get their education after high school, and the transition to college need not be scary. You can help your child choose between a Bachelor’s degree and an Associate’s degree that will help them find the job of their dreams.


For more information and advice that is right for you or your child, contact CUSP today!

Making the most of gaps in your schedule while in school

Posted by admin on August 30, 2015  /   Posted in CUSP Services

Starting college is a time-honored rite-of- passage, marking the beginning of adulthood. College transition programs will help to prepare you, but you yourself will be doing the work of studying, writing research papers and completing lab assignments. An essential aspect of college success is good time management and one advantage of a college schedule is that you will almost certainly have breaks between classes. Using this time wisely will benefit you in numerous ways. Here are some ideas:


Immediately after a class, review your notes. Be sure that you know what is coming up, if there is an assignment due at the next class or if an exam is looming on the horizon. If you have a question, contact your instructor as soon as you can.


Right before a class, review any notes and write down any questions you may have from the previous class. Questions do not always occur to us immediately. Sometimes we need to mull over new information and fit it into what we already know. Then the questions arise and the next class is the best time to get them answered before newer information causes you to forget what you wanted to ask.


If you have a long break, completely switch gears. Some physical exercise provides a nice change to sitting and studying. Go for a walk around campus. If there is a gym or pool and you have sufficient time, get in a workout. You will feel fresh and re-energized.


Grab a snack, especially if you had an early morning class and did not eat breakfast. You truly cannot learn on an empty stomach; that is not just an advertising slogan for cereal companies.


Join study groups. They are helpful for all students but especially students with learning challenges. Discussing the course material out loud will help you to comprehend and retain it. What you did not grasp, someone else will, and they can help you to understand. Check with the learning resources center on campus and join an existing study group or start you own. You may also end up making some good friends.


Find a quiet spot and just relax. Learning is exhausting and your brain needs down time to process and store what you have just learned. If it is safe to do so, you can even nap for a while.


Get a head start on assignments. Procrastination is your worst foe. You do not need large blocks of time to work on major assignments. In just half an hour you can start looking for sources for a research paper or sketch out thoughts to develop later. The advantage to this is that your subconscious mind will go to work and by the time you revisit these ideas your brain will have developed them with little effort on your part.


The road to a college degree or certificate is not easy. Making the best use of the time at your disposal is a tried-and-true strategy for success. So plan well and you will prevail.

The Importance of Being Social and Making Friends in College                                                              

Posted by admin on August 30, 2015  /   Posted in CUSP Services

When attending college, most people look at it as a time to prepare for their career. However, it is also a time to explore socially and meet the friends of a lifetime: You cannot and should not spend your entire time studying in books because the students who often succeed in academics will also have an easier time socially.


For example, when you feel stressed, a social life will provide relief that lets you return to your studies without feeling stressed. If you are someone with Asperger syndrome, ADHD or other developmental disabilities, this becomes especially important, but it can be hard for these students to adapt socially. Luckily, there are higher education disability services that can assist students to make that transition. When you socialize, you will receive more from the experience at college.


College offers students endless opportunities to grow and get involved. Learning takes place inside and outside the classroom. When you are involved, it builds a community on the college campus. Because many students left their friends and family behind, participating in activities will allow you to create new friendships and find people who share common interests and goals. In addition, this can help you to discover your strengths and passions. Have you gone to college without knowing the career path you want to follow? Socializing at college can help.


Socializing can also help you to build your resume. Even freshman year should not be considered too soon to position yourself for your future career. Oftentimes, the fraternities and sororities provide you with more than the opportunity to socialize and party. You see, every organization like this will be dedicated to a specific mission or purpose, biology for example. If you are considering a career as a marine biologist, your employer will see that you are a member of that fraternity, and you will have increased your chances of being hired. A lot of members report that belonging to a sorority or fraternity is the most rewarding experience of belonging to a college.


Another benefit of making friends in college? You will remember your college years as some of the best years of your life. When you are trying to find your niche on the college campus, sometimes it is easier said than done. If you are someone who struggles to make friends because of a disability, you may want to consider a transition services for special education. This type of service can help you to connect with an amazing group of people.


What are some of the best ways to get involved on a campus? First, use the campus resources. You will often find this information in the office or at the university website, but the majority of campuses will offer an involvement center that lists the activities because involved students create a positive environment that helps colleges to thrive. Second, try everything at least once. Reach beyond your comfort zone and look for different groups. While you may not think the engineering society is for you, college gives you the chance to explore new possibilities.

The CUSP Spring 2015 Semester in Review…

Posted by admin on May 20, 2015  /   Posted in CUSP Services

Spring 2015 Semester in Review:

To begin I have to say that this semester has been the most successful in the short history of CUSP Educational Services! We had 10 students enrolled in individualized coaching services for graduate and undergraduate programs in five distinct colleges across three states. At times this demographic was tricky to manage however….

• All 10 students have selected classes and are enrolled for the fall 2015 semester, thus our retention rate for the semester is 100%!

• But it gets even better ☺ …

• While some grades are not finalized out of the 10 CUSP clients, 9 students look to have earned a spot on their school’s Dean’s List, which is truly remarkable!

• A CUSP client has been awarded internship position at the IBM facility in Fishkill NY.

• A CUSP client will be going to the University of Alabama Birmingham to partake in material engineering research for the summer.

• One of the local CUSP clients will be interviewing this week for a Service Coordinator position at a local non-profit here in the Albany area.

• CUSP students have written a proposal for new laws in New York State regarding communication support services. The bill is expected to go into effect by the end of 2015.

• CUSP’s west coast client is currently collaborating with Temple Grandin on a new book scheduled for publishing by the end of the calendar year.

• CUSP’s Social Skills Groups in Troy and Utica NY have seen the highest rates of attendance in the group’s history. Students at the two schools are making friendships and connections to area resources that should last well beyond graduation. It also looks that the Social Skills Groups will be expanding to other local colleges for the fall 2015 semester.

• This was the first semester having CUSP interns. We were fortunate enough to work with students in the Business program at SUNY Albany to help with our social media and marketing efforts. Our keyword rankings are up significantly and we now have our own Twitter account, Google + account and YouTube channel!! If anyone has suggestions on what to put on these sites please feel free to send us your ideas.

• I am positive that I am leaving out many other triumphs (both big and small) and to the clients and families reading this please forgive me.

I have been involved in this type of coaching for several years and I can say without a doubt that the reasons for all of these successes is because each student/client was invested in reaching their individualized goals. Whether the goal was to make friends, find internships or earn an “A” in Organic Chemistry, all of the students bought into the CUSP philosophy and worked daily on the small successes that evolve into huge accomplishments. It has been a pleasure to be involved in the process this semester. The CUSP staff and I am truly humbled and blessed to do the work that we do and to assist students in strengthening their unique skills needed for a successful college experience and success after graduation! Thank you to all of the students, families, campus faculty, and other professionals to help make this semester the success that is was!!!

****For more information contact us today!

CUSP supports NYS Autism Communication Legislation

Posted by admin on April 27, 2015  /   Posted in CUSP Services

Today CUSP was privileged to be invited to the NYS Assembly in Albany NY for a press conference to support new Autism legislation.  NYS Autism Communication Legislation

The legislation, which was drafted by Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara with the help of two local CUSP students and could serve as a model across the country, is supported by the Schenectady ARC, the Autism Society of the Greater Capital Region, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership (GRASP). The proposal is a critical step in addressing the high unemployment rates for people with developmental disabilities.

At the press conference, many activists shared firsthand experiences about the importance of this legislation, outline the potential benefits and explain why this model should be adopted across the country.

The legislation is being sponsored in the state Senate by David Carlucci, the chair of the Senate Social Services Committee and former chair of the Senate Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee.

Thank you so much for allowing CUSP to partake in the afternoon’s activities.

How Special Education Students Can Prepare For College

Posted by admin on April 24, 2015  /   Posted in CUSP Services

There is no question that going away to college is a life-changing experience for any young person. However, for individuals with special needs, it can seem to be a bit out of reach. This does not have to be the case. Any student, with the help of special education transition services can attend college and be successful. Some ways they can prepare for this transition are highlighted here.

Create Strong Network of Support

It is important for high school students to work closely with the school personnel in order to determine how much support they will need when going to college. The support system should include the resident advisor, academic liaison, tutor, mentor and even staff psychologist if needed.

Consider the Different Living Arrangements

Many people who have special needs have their schedules managed by their parents. When attending college, this will all change. They are now going to be in charge of managing their very own schedule, including staying organized, paying bills and turning in their homework on time.

Visit the Potential Schools

When there are just a few school options you have in mind, then you should take the time to visit the programs during campus tours or during an open house. This will allow you to get a feel for the campus, the staff and the other students. Take some time to get to know the disability services that are offered, as well. While you may have to take some time to track these services down, they are offered and you can easily find them with a bit of digging.

Make Arrangements for Additional Help and Tutoring

Most students who have special needs will need additional tutoring or some type of supervised study session in order to ensure their successful academic progress. They can utilize the services of other students who are acting as tutors or mentors; however, in most cases it will be a better idea to work with a professional educator. Supervised study halls can be extremely beneficial for students with special needs and help them in taking clear notes and fully understanding the assignments they are given.
College is not an unreachable destination for students with special needs. However, it will take a bit of additional help and preparation. The tips here can help students with special needs reach all of their higher education goals.

Tips To Help You Get Ready For College

Posted by admin on April 18, 2015  /   Posted in CUSP Services

College is much more than just a higher education experience, it is a journey. It can be filled with obstacles and hardships, as well as opportunities, lasting friendships and new knowledge. However, prior to enjoying all college has to offer, students must prepare to enter into these institutions of higher learning. Some tips that will help you prepare for college are highlighted here.

Research the Various Schools

There are some situations where a school that you have never even heard of meets your educational needs. This means that you need to search both local and non-local options. When you are looking for a school, consider things such as the size of the classes, extra activities that are offered and location to where you plan to live.

Consider Financial Aid

You should never allow money to obstruct the chances you have to receive a quality education. There are a number of government and privately sponsored aid programs that are available to help you get the money you need to attend the college you really want to go to. Explore all of your options and you will be able to find that there are likely several options to consider in terms of financial aid.

Consider Seeking Transition Services

When you are making the change from high school to college, it can be a bit overwhelming. There are a number of college transition services in NY that are available to help. From counselors at your high school to others in the community, you can find tips on making this transition as seamlessly as possible. Knowing what to expect when you go away to college can minimize the impact of this transition and make the change easier for you to deal with.

Get Organized!!

Going to college is a huge endeavor, in order to ensure you make the most of this opportunity, you need to get organized. When you find colleges that you are interested in you should be sure you know any deadlines that may have to be met in terms of application deadlines and scholarship application deadlines.

When you are well-prepared for the college application process, you will be able to find what you want and be confident in the choice you have made. College is an experience that you don’t want to miss out on, but being adequately prepared is essential.

How to properly prepare for the transition to college 2015-2016

Posted by admin on March 31, 2015  /   Posted in CUSP Services

Going away to college is a life-changing experience for any young adult. For students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, attending school at a college or university can feel out of reach. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. Students with ASD can attend college just like their peers and experience the joys of living away from home, taking an assortment of courses and preparing for adulthood. The key is having support from family, friends and the community, similar to what is provided during the primary education years.


Though many support services for students with ASD disappear during the college years, there is a growing awareness of the importance of these programs. As students encounter new challenges with daily living, academics and managing their schedules, they need individualized life skills coaching, academic support and social skills workshops.


The few programs that are available at this time for college students with ASD recommend the following tips for preparing for the college experience.


Create a Strong Support Network


Students in high school should work closely with the school’s personnel to determine the level of support they will receive in their respective college. A strong support system will include people such as a resident advisor, a mentor, a tutor, an academic liaison and a staff psychologist that are available when needed.


Consider All Living Arrangements


Young people with ASD typically have their schedules managed by their parents. When they attend college, this changes. They may now be in charge of managing their own schedule, turning in homework on time, paying bills, keeping their room organized, etc.


Entertain all possible living arrangements that will suit your student best. Some find that it’s ideal to live on campus while others feel more comfortable living in an off-campus apartment. By knowing where your student will be residing, you can start giving them more responsibility at home.


Visit the Schools


When you have narrowed down your school selection, take the time to visit the programs during open houses or campus tours. This is the best time to get a feel for the campus, the students and the staff. Learn about the disability services that are offered on campus as well. Though these services often need to be tracked down by students, they do exist. Also take note of the logistics of the campus, such as how far the cafeteria is from the dorms, the layout of the buildings, etc.


Arrange for Additional Tutoring


Most students with ASD require additional tutoring or supervised study sessions to facilitate their academic progress. Other students can serve as mentors or tutors, but it’s best to work with professional educators. Supervised study halls are also beneficial and encourage students to take clear notes, understand the assignment and complete their homework on time.


Keep the Conversation Going


There is no better way to prepare your student with ASD for the college experience than by keeping the lines of communication open. Ask your child about their future plans, what careers interest them and the steps necessary for achieving their goals. This will help your family gain a better understanding of what will be involved in the process, how you can afford it and what support services will be available along the way.


The decision on where to attend is crucial.  If you have questions or concerns please contact CUSP today!



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    “Steve has seen me through the darkest days in my undergraduate program, and through the tunnel into the light of my graduate studies. As I prepare to apply for the doctoral program, I reflect on Steve’s uncanny knack for filling in my cognitive blanks. I sometimes can fix the world’s problems, but break down when

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