A college journey at the University of Iowa embraces meaningful academic experiences and the development of a host of important skills that includes independence, social-emotional maturity, effective communication, and career readiness. The Belin-Blank Center's Academy for Twice-Exceptionality is a new program that partners with neurodiverse college students to foster and support these experiences and skills and enhance community engagement as an Iowa Hawkeye.

Through the Academy for Twice-Exceptionality, we strive to ensure that neurodiverse students have a positive and fulfilling college experience through a focus on nurturing students’ talents while also creating a sense of community and helping students connect with resources from the Belin-Blank Center, the University of Iowa, and the broader community.

About the Academy

The Belin-Blank Center, founded in 1988, is built upon a comprehensive mission grounded in leadership, advocacy, and research. The Center is nationally and internationally known for its support of talented and gifted students and their educators. The reputation of the Center was earned through research symposia; staff presentations at state, national, and international events; collaborative efforts with other leaders in the field; and a premier assessment and counseling clinic for gifted and twice-exceptional students. We have an impressive history of cutting-edge research related to talented and gifted students with a focus on diversity, including neurodiversity, academic acceleration, and twice-exceptionality.

Our student programming, clinic services, and research expertise are the foundation for the programming and services that are being developed for this pilot year of the Academy for Twice-Exceptionality. We are uniquely qualified to develop and administer this newly-formed academy. In fact, much of the research on twice-exceptionality, particularly of students diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, has been conducted at the Belin-Blank Center.

One aspect of our mission is offering specialized educational opportunities for students. You will find that the Academy for Twice-Exceptionality has been established as such, but with the unique needs of twice-exceptional students kept in the forefront. It offers friendship, in addition to academic, community, and psychosocial support. As a student-centered institution, the Belin-Blank Center aims to provide structure, support, and understanding for talented and gifted twice-exceptional first-year students at the University of Iowa through the Academy for Twice-Exceptionality.

When students feel connected to a campus community, success follows. The Belin-Blank Center will foster a sense of community within the Academy while here at the University of Iowa. Because of our rich research agenda that includes twice-exceptionality, the expertise at the Center is a key benefit for the participants. Other key benefits focus on offering academic, psychosocial, family, and/or community support. Highlights include:

  • Automatic acceptance into the Honors Program
  • Collaboration with the Student Disabilities Services
  • Weekly connections with Belin-Blank Center staff
  • Guidance with self-advocacy and communicating with professors
  • Assistance with connections to university-based supports, resources, and clubs/organizations
  • Cohort-based university housing arrangement
  • Skill and strategy guidance (e.g., organization, problem solving, working with a group)
  • Fostering of coping and relaxation skills
  • Initiating participation in the aspects of a community

Benefits of the Academy also extend to its families. Families will be afforded the opportunity to meet and partner with specific members of the Belin-Blank Center team who will work with your child. It is our hope that this makes the campus seem a bit smaller to you and the students. Parents/guardians will receive regular communication and updates on student progress.

July 15 - Rolling application review (note: 2021-2022 is a pilot year and cohort size is limited)
July 22-August 15 - Interviews (candidates and families)
August 16 - Decisions finalized
August 22 - Welcome events for first-year students
August 23 – First day of fall classes

How to Apply

Am I Eligible?

To be eligible to apply you must:

  • Possess a high school degree
  • Entering your first semester at the University of Iowa
  • Be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder or identify as Autistic
  • Have an academic profile commensurate with the Honors Program at the University of Iowa
  • Be registered with Student Disabilities Services at the University of Iowa
  • Be committed to the acquisition of new content, skills, and understandings while at the University of Iowa
  • Be interested in your academic and personal growth

The Application Process

The application process for the Academy for Twice-Exceptionality consists of an on-line application and an interview. The interview will include the individual students and their parent(s)/guardian(s).

The Matching Process

Each applicant will be considered individually. The stated eligibility requirements and preferred characteristics will serve as the framework for our staff as they review and discuss each application. The guiding question during this process will be, “Is the Academy for Twice-Exceptionality the best match for an individual student’s profile, scholastic plans, and interests?” Because we are seeking a true working relationship with you and your family, the applications will be subject to a comprehensive process conducted with an individual student-centered approach.

Within two weeks of receiving your application, you will be contacted about its status and arrangements for a possible interview.

After You're Accepted


Because 2021-2022 is a pilot year for the Academy for Twice-Exceptionality, there are no additional fees associated with the services, programming, and staffing. You will receive information from the University of Iowa regarding the fees associated with tuition and room/board.

Daily Life

In addition to the unique components of the Academy for Twice-Exceptionality, its participants are afforded all of the benefits, services, and opportunities of being on campus at the University of Iowa. These are highlighted and detailed during your “Orientation Day for Incoming Students” experience.

More information on student life here at the University of Iowa can be found here: https://admissions.uiowa.edu/student-life

Program Requirements

Students who are accepted into the Academy for Twice-Exceptionality are expected to participate in the support features that set it apart from the typical first-year student experience. These will be detailed more fully in the “Welcome Packet” students and families receive upon acceptance into the Academy. The Academy for Twice-Exceptionality's special features include:

  • Attend bi-weekly sessions to focus on individual academic workload
  • Attend planned lunch connections and social events
  • Attend weekly group seminar facilitated by Belin-Blank Center staff
  • Attend weekly individual meetings with a graduate student
  • Participate in one university or community-based extracurricular
  • Reside on the B-BC Academy residence hall floor (Daum Residence Hall) as a first-year student

Apply Now!

Ready to shape your own college experience? Get in touch at 2eacademy@belinblank.org to take the next step.

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