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DREAM Program

Program Description

Many young adults dream of going to college to...
  • learn new information;
  • meet new friends;
  • develop important skills for entering the workplace;
  • gain independence; and
  • learn more about themselves and the world.

For more information about the DREAM program, to request an application or to contribute to our scholarship fund, please contact:
Academic Student Resources
Mercer County Community College
P.O. Box 17202
Trenton, NJ 08690


At Mercer County Community College we believe in that dream and we are here to help. Our DREAM program (Developing Real Expectations for Achieving Mastery) was developed for students with intellectual disabilities who are looking for an inclusive, challenging educational opportunity with supports and services to help them achieve success.

Program Plan

The DREAM program is student-centered, which means that each student's course of study is determined by the student's goals and needs. Areas of study include:
  • Academic experiences, in which students build their skills in reading, writing and math and explore areas of interest such as cooking, computer skills and the arts;
  • Career-related experiences, in which students develop job-seeking skills such as resume writing, interviewing, and portfolio development;
  • Independent living experiences, such as self advocacy and personal safety; and
  • Socialization experiences such as joining clubs and organizations and participating in other college activities.
The DREAM Program is a transition and postsecondary program for students with Down Syndrome and other intellectual disabilities.


Most students have concerns about starting college '- it-s all so new and different! The DREAM program recognizes these feelings and has many ways to help our students with the transition from high school to college.

  • Peer Mentors, who are current Mercer County Community College students, are trained to help our new students with their needs, from finding their classrooms the first week of school to teaching note-taking skills.
  • Our Introduction to Student Success Seminar gives new students a chance to meet with each other to discuss experiences under the guidance of a counselor.
  • Our Academic Student Resources staff offers advocacy, accommodations, and referral to tutoring and other services to help students get the most out of their college experience.

About Mercer County Community College

Mercer County Community College is committed to inclusive education and the development of academic, economic and personal growth opportunities for all students. The college's vast array of academic and student services provide continuing support for all students, including those who need extra support to achieve success.

The DREAM program is a demonstration project and enrollment is limited. Applications for the next school year will be accepted beginning February 1. Admission decisions will be made as applications are received.

The DREAM Program acknowledges the generous contributions from the National Down Syndrome Society and the Riggio family.


Students in Mercer's DREAM program are pictured attending a "College Success" class. In September 2006, the grant-funded pilot program accepted nine students who are intellectually disabled, giving them an opportunity to explore their interests and test their abilities. These highly motivated students have achieved much success and are making their mark on campus in classes for credit and audit. All returned in the spring -' a 100% retention rate.

In September 2007, eight new students entered the program. They and their families attended a reception in June where they met with staff, faculty and current students to prepare for their new educational venture.