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Your place to grow and call home.

Join an innovative college experience offering a comprehensive education for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through BUILD, you’ll receive career-focused instruction and specialized mentorship all within a supportive Christian environment.

Start Your Application

How to Apply

Submit your online application.

Applications are due December 1 one year before you plan to attend the BUILD program (Example: Those wanting to start in the fall of 2028 need to complete the application by December 2027). 

To help you prepare, here’s the essay prompt you’ll see in the application:

  • Describe 1. your relationship with Jesus Christ, 2. why you want to attend Bethel University.

Also included in the online application is the Covenant for Life Together, which all students must review and agree to honor.

Submit your Transcript/IEP/Evaluation Request Form (pdf) and supporting documents.

If you have the most recent IEP and Evaluation Report, these can be emailed to build-program@bethel.edu. Transcripts must be submitted through a secure online portal or in a sealed envelope to the BUILD program.

Complete a Physical Form (pdf).

Through our partnership with Minnesota Special Olympics, we use the Application for Participation in Special Olympics to prepare students to join Special Olympic sports if they choose to do so. 

Mail your completed form to the BUILD program. This information is also shared with Health Services to be sure we have a complete health history on file.

Admissions Deadlines

Fall Term

  • December—Deadline for completed applications
  • January—Admissions interviews, if selected 
  • February—Admissions decisions mailed 

Spring Term

  • Due to the nature of the BUILD program, all students start in the fall.

To be considered for the program, all admissions materials must be received by the application deadline.

Program Requirements

  • Meet the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) definition of Intellectual Disability (ID)
  • Are 18-25 years old when starting the program
  • Have completed high school with a diploma or equivalent
  • Complete a comprehensive application process including an independent assessment and interviews
  • Can function with support in a college setting
  • Can articulate and demonstrate faith in God
  • Are able to safely get around campus during class transitions, mealtimes, and other extracurricular activities
  • Have practical reading and math skills
  • Demonstrate interest and motivation in attending the program
  • Have family support and desire to gain skills for employment and independent living

As part of the criteria for BUILD, students must meet the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) definition of Intellectual Disability (ID) including having a documented IQ score in the 70s or lower and demonstrating limitations in adaptive functioning.

IQ scores and adaptive functioning limitations are typically documented through either a school evaluation report or medical evaluation. Adaptive functioning limitations are also noted in the BUILD Application Functional Skills Assessment.


Innovative programming

Our 2-year BUILD program offers a unique college experience not found at most universities.

On-campus living

Live on campus in a supportive, Christian environment.

Career-focused instruction

Build skills to live as independently as possible and maintain meaningful employment.

College credentials

Earn an Certificate in Applied Studies with your choice of concentration.

Ask the BUILD team

Questions about admissions? Contact our BUILD team to get your questions answered and learn about the next steps. 

Contact the BUILD team

It is the policy of Bethel not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, gender, or disability.