For readers considering their college options or who are about to start freshmen year, this article provides tips and questions to help them best prepare.
Step 1: Find a school that fits.
As you’re scouring the internet in search of the “perfect” school, you may be discovering there are lots of schools to choose from! You have options, so find one that best fits your needs. Consider the following during your search:
- How close to home do I want to be? How much financial, academic, and daily support will I need from my family?
- What type of location am I looking for (urban, rural, specific geographical area)?
- What social aspects are important to me? Will a small community be comforting or challenging, will a large community be exciting or overwhelming?
- What do I want to study? Am I looking for specific programs for students on the spectrum?
- What am I hoping to get out of college? What are my goals?
…or a few different schools, if you are weighing your options. The following list includes points to consider that can help you form questions to ask the DSS advisor. Make your needs clear to the DSS office and be certain the school can efficiently meet your needs, before you commit!
- How willing is the school to accommodate dormitory options?
- What academic accommodations are available, and do they fit your needs?
- Voice recorders for lecture, note-taking, additional testing time, reduced course load, auxiliary aids, etc.
- What types of support services are available outside of academics?
- How does the faculty support and respond to students who need additional support?
- What are the success rates for students with disabilities in completing their college program?
- How does the school handle crises and other important matters that could negatively impact the college experience?
- How does the school enhance the opportunity of college success?
Step 3: Start planning!
Once you’ve decided where you’re going to go for school, congratulate yourself! To celebrate this exciting new chapter of your life, sit down with your family and start planning.
- Complete all essential and important documents related to:
- Tuition & Fees
- Forms for the Disability Support Services (DSS) Office
- Mandatory health forms
- FERPA – Permission to release student records
- Manage academic needs:
- Visit the DSS office
- Meet disability services advisor and declare disability with school
- Manage accommodations
- In-class accommodations may also require discussion with professors
- Discuss other academic supports on campus (tutoring, Writing Center, Communication Center, Math Help Centers, Tech Centers, etc.)
- Class schedule with times and room assignments
- Textbooks and other required material
- Dorm supplies (if applicable)
- School supplies (computer, notebooks, binders, pencils, pens, calculator, voice recorder)
- Visit the DSS office
- Start daily planning:
- Develop transportation plan (driving, public transit, biking, walking)
- Create daily schedule (incorporate classes, study time, free time)
- Create daily checklists with items to bring to classes and other locations