The transition from high school to college is difficult for many students. Students with disabilities have to deal with the same issues all students face, but they also have added challenges in how accommodations and services are requested and arranged. Students must assume more responsibility and play a much more active role in obtaining disability services than they did in high school. High school accommodations and services are geared toward guaranteeing “success” for all students, while college accommodations and services provide “access.” A college student with a disability must become a self-advocate; s/he should be able to communicate what the disability is, how it impacts and limits major life activities, as well as identify and justify requested accommodations.
The Office of Disability Services (DS) has compiled the following resources for students, parents, and educators preparing for the transition from high school to college.
- Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities
This letter to students by the Office of Civil Rights explains some important information about your rights and responsibilities as a student with a disability in postsecondary education.
- Dear Parent Letter
This letter to parents by the Office of Civil Rights explains some difference between high school and college regarding accommodations of disabilities.
High School Educators
- Transition of Students with Disabilities to Postsecondary Education: A Guide for High School Educators
This letter to educators by the Office of Civil Rights reviews some frequently asked questions regarding the admission process, documentation of disability, and obtaining services in postsecondary educations for students with disabilities.
- Legal Rights and Responsibilities for Students [pdf]
This document produced by Project CONNECT at Henderson State University outlines the differences between college and high school responsibilities and laws regarding disability services.
- The Virginia Department of Education Transition Services website provides support, information and resources designed to improve the outcomes of students with disabilities in transition from middle/secondary education to postsecondary education and employment.
To facilitate a smooth transition between high school and college, students are encouraged to contact Disability Services as soon as possible, and before June 1, to discuss accommodations and plan for a smooth transition.