Transition from High School to College

Making the Transition 

There are many things prospective college students need to do as they get ready to enter this new phase in their life. Students with disabilities should ask themselves the following questions: 

How do you describe your condition?

How do you describe your condition and how do you want it described to others? You may choose to keep information about your disability confidential. The disability services office will need to have enough information to evaluate the need for accommodations and services. Instructors need considerably less information and may be told only what accommodations are appropriate for that course.  

Even if your disability is not visible or obvious it is likely that at some point a few of your new friends and classmates will notice an accommodation; how will you describe your situation to them? 

What is the impact of your condition?

It is helpful to think about how your condition has impacted you in various situations in the past; then to consider how it is likely to impact the typical activities you can expect to encounter at college. You may want to pay particular attention to the following contexts: 

  • Classes (lectures, laboratory, physical activity, web based)
  • Assignments (reading, writing, calculating, keyboarding, library work)
  • Communication (speaking, listening, using phones, using email)
  • Evaluation (tests, papers, oral reports group presentations/projects)
  • Time constraints (timed tests, college deadline, assignment due dates)
  • Attendance (class, required activities out of class, residential requirements)
  • Campus (mobility; orientation/navigation, transportation)
  • Residence halls (roommates, food issues, climate control)
  • Co-curricular (clubs, organizations, events, athletics)

What have you tried in the past?

What accommodations, auxiliary aids, adaptive equipment, modifications and services have been provided in the past? Which ones work well? Which ones did not? Did you have accommodations in high school? Did you have an IEP or
504 Plan?

What do you anticipate needing at college?

Once a student with a disability has answered these questions for themselves, the student is better prepared to deal with their disability in a positive/proactive manner when entering college.