Differences Between High School and College
The transition from high school to college brings opportunities for growth and challenge. For students with disabilities, this includes learning to manage his/her disability accommodations, which can be very different from his/her experience in high school. The chart below is a general guideline for understanding the difference between high school and college accommodations.
|The school district is responsible for evaluating and documenting student’s disability||The student is responsible for getting an evaluation to document disability|
|Free evaluation of disability||Student’s responsibility to pay for and get evaluation|
|The district develops Individual Education Program (IEP) focused on student access AND success||Accommodations (if approved) are focused on what provides student access to the learning experience; accommodations are not about guaranteeing success.|
|The school automatically incorporates accommodations into the student’s daily schedule once a disability is documented||The student must request accommodations each semester|
|Parents advocate for their child||Students are their own advocates|
|Parents are notified and must give permission for any decisions regarding their child||Parents are not notified unless the student grants permission for that information to be released|
|Fundamental alternations to program of study permitted as identified on IEP||The accommodations may not alter the fundamental nature of course or impose an undue burden on an institution|
Making the Transition
All students transitioning from high school to college will find themselves confronting new and sometimes unexpected circumstances.
These are likely to include:
- Higher workloads
- Less time spent in the classroom
- Significantly less supervision by parents or instructors
- More distractions from friends and extracurricular activities
- Living arrangements
- Sleeping and eating patterns
- Study habits are likely to be in flux for some time as students adjust to their new surroundings
Many students find this combination challenging, and struggle with issues of time management and focus. Students with disabilities may expect to have these challenges magnified — and at the same time will also find themselves operating in a very different legal and practical arena than they have experienced before.
Successful Transition Strategies
- Carefully plan your first semester by choosing courses that maximize your strengths
- Make and appointment and introduce yourself to the members of Accessibility Services team.
- Complete the documentation process to request accommodations. Learn about the procedures for requesting accommodations.
- Inform your adviser that you have a learning problem
- Inform each of your professors of your needs in the first week of classes
- Use available student support services such as peer tutors, or the Writing and Speaking Center
- Do not wait until you are failing to seek help
- Avoid drinking alcohol and drug use; alcohol and drug use can impair academic functioning in any student.