Tips for Successful Transition for Students with Disabilities to College
- The student should be involved in their IEP meetings and decisions in high school.
- The student should start career exploration early in their high school career. Ask the school to provide career assessments.
- The student should research college requirements (contact college admissions about college requirements) in eighth grade in order to take the appropriate college preparation courses in high school.
- The student should do research (on the internet, in the library, etc.) about their disability. The student should know how their disability will affect them in a college setting (classroom, dormitory, activities, etc.)
- The student should begin utilizing appropriate college academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services (accommodations) and begin to wean off of accommodations that are not realistic in future settings.
- The parent should begin to look at financial aid, costs of college, and affordability of colleges that the student has chosen to apply.
- The parent should give the student permission to apply to the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), if appropriate.
- The parent should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ at the same time the student applies for college(s).
- The parent and student should go the education planner web site at: http://www.educationplanner.com/education_planner/ This site provides valuable information for planning for college.
- The student should make an informed decision about choosing the right college environment (e.g., class size, rural vs. city, climate or temperature, large student body vs. medium/small). Students should know as much about the college environment as possible prior to filling out applications (talk to other students, talk to faculty/staff, research the college web site, etc.) to find an appropriate match.
The students should tour the college campus prior to filling out an application. The disability office should be included in the tour.
- The student should be aware of application dates and deadlines.
- The student should research the disability services provided at the college (go to the disability services web site or call for information).
- The student should have a face-to-face appointment with the disability office.
- The student should submit documentation to the disability office in the fall or winter before graduation to determine eligibility for services at the college.
- The student should have an assistive technology evaluation if utilizing technology in college.
- The student should make sure that all documentation submitted to the disability office meets the documentation guidelines of that specific college.
- The student should make a follow-up appointment with the disability services office prior to arriving on campus to ensure that services will be in place upon arrival.
- The student should make an appointment during the summer or at least by the first week of classes to meet with the disability services office to obtain academic adjustment letters and take care of last-minute details regarding their academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services.
Student Disability Resources
Penn State University