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Incoming Students

Transition Tips for Students with Disabilities

Self-advocacy and self-management are vital skills to develop in order to be a successful college student. Self-determined students exhibit a strong desire to succeed, know how to persevere, have clear goals and an understanding and acceptance of their disability.

Throughout grades 9-12 it is important to be involved in every aspect of planning for college. The checklist below may help you make successful plans:

College Preparation Checklist



Explore your aptitude and interests to determine potential areas of study and career goals.

Visit your high school guidance office or consult with transition specialist to complete interest surveys to narrow down academic interests and college search.

Understand the differences in laws and services between secondary and post-secondary education.

Research how laws impact your eligibility for services.

Check that disability evaluation records are up to date and fulfill college documentation guidelines.

Colleges set their own recency requirements.

Thinking ahead to graduate level exam accommodations is recommended.

Document the use of assistive technology as it applies to college-level academics.

Do your homework on devices, software, and applications that were beneficial during high school.

Explore agency resources such as adult career and continuing education services through vocational rehabilitation (ACCES-VR in NYS).

Check your IEP transition plan for continuity of services through outside agencies.

Become knowledgeable about your disability, its impact on learning, and your strengths and weaknesses as a learner.

Read your educational evaluations to understand your needs as a learner.

Develop a deeper understanding of your disability.

Research study strategies that promote success and meet your individual needs.

Make an honest self-assessment of your social/emotional readiness for college.

Speak with your health care provider to maintain a continuity of counseling services, if needed.

Reach a level of comfort in explaining your disability and need for accommodations to college advisers and instructors.

Be an active participant in your IEP or 504 review meetings.

Practice explaining your disability to high school teachers to gain confidence in self-advocacy.

Recognize when to ask for assistance.

Do not hesitate to seek out help.

Determine the most appropriate route to seek help.

Explore available campus resources; consider making an appointment to acquaint yourself with their services.

Exhibit self-motivation and self-management.

Work on independently staying on track so you will be less likely to fall behind.

Practice independent decision-making, and take responsibility.

Recognize that you are in charge and will live with the consequences of your actions (which may be expensive!).

If possible, consider taking a college course while in high school or attend a summer program sponsored by a college to better self-assess your readiness to make the transition to college-level academics. Be aware of the increased level of academic difficulty, increased workload, and pace of instruction.

Because most academic content is delivered by lecture, paying attention and having the note taking skills to identify main ideas for later review is vital for acquiring, expanding, and integrating knowledge. More weight is given to a limited number of assignments and exams that factor into final grades. Instructors are available during office hours, and students are expected to approach them with questions and solicit feedback to check for understanding.

Attribution: Transition of Students With Disabilities To Post secondary Education: A Guide for High School Educators and LD Online: College and College Prep