You just graduated from high school and are looking forward to starting college in the fall. At this point, it seems like it will be back to normal, on-campus classes. You may be excited and think you have months to prepare. It’s early, and you still have time. True, you do have time, but it goes quickly. If you are like most people, the summer comes on quickly, and engaging in other activities takes your focus away from really thinking about college. There are other priorities too such as financial aid, student loans, and school supplies. Yet, you’re a student with a disability. Waiting to request accommodations can be costly and even time-consuming. Think about what it would be like not to have what you need for your first classes or first tests. The following tips can help avoid this situation.
College transition tips.
Identify the person who can help.
Support with any important issue is key to success. Choose a person who has the time to support you, give you honest feedback, and hold you accountable to get things done. A good choice is a parent. Parents are easily accessible and want you to succeed and hold you accountable in a good way. Parents can remind you and follow up with you to make sure you follow through on your responsibilities. Parents are also good at getting the needed supplies, so support is essential. Make sure you ask for their help and show your appreciation too.
Let me be clear. Parents are typically the ones who initiate looking at accommodations. However, parents should not be the only ones. Once in college and taking classes, it will be the student’s responsibility to follow through on their responsibilities regarding accommodations. Both parties, parent, and student, need to be on the same page. It’s ok if you, as the parent, start the process and help guide them, but make sure to do this together. If parents know more about the accommodation process and student responsibilities, there is something out of balance, and that needs to shift.
Set aside time
Since it’s easy to get distracted by friends, family, and jobs, have a set time devoted to fall planning. The most important is requesting accommodations, but there are many other things to consider about starting college. While having a break from school is good and healthy, it is also beneficial to prepare. Time management matters. Make the time something you can do every week. An hour should be enough. Make a to-do list, pack lists, review what the school recommends, go shopping for sullies, etc. Use the time to go over your plans with your parents and get their feedback. The more you prepare ahead, the less stress and running around there will be as the start of college gets near. You can be more focused on family and friends and enjoying those moments rather than stressing about the details.
Locate the web page for the Office of Disability Services (ODS)
It seems obvious, but you can overlook this until the last minute. Then you are left rushing and scrambling to get things done prior to new student orientation. When this happens, it is easy to skim pages and information. Skimming leads to missing potentially vital information. It’s a real issue that I’ve seen time and time again. Students are reading little of the information provided. Not a good habit to start. Think about what happens if you skim through the rubric/directions for a class paper. Don’t let that happen to you. Read the information—all of it, then double-check it. Pay special attention to the following: description of the process, deadlines, forms, documentation requirements, and how to send paperwork.
Follow the process to request accommodations.
There is always a process to follow. Students need to read, learn about, and know the process and follow it as soon as possible. It ensures that the accommodations will be in place when you get to school. As stated in prior blog posts, get accommodations approved as soon as you can. You can read that article here: Not asking for Accommodations? Read this first. – Accessing College. There are too many students who wait until they get to campus to start that process. Waiting is not a good idea at all. The first semester of your first year in college is probably the most important. Your freshman year sets the tone for the rest of your semesters. Start off ensuring you have what you need for accommodations before your first year starts. The summer provides an opportunity to focus on the process and get the accommodations needed. If any issues arise and need additional meetings, there is enough time to get a resolution.
Looking back on my summer before college, it was a great time. Too great a time, as it turns out. I was not prepared at all and did nothing to check on what was going on. During my first school year, I had no housing, as it turned out, and could not live in the dorm room, an oversight by my parents., and there was no freshman orientation. It almost cost me to start on time. I let my parents do all the work. Bad plan. It was not their college application. It was mine, and I should have taken more of a role in planning for my college experience. So heed the warning, get involved, and stay involved. After all, accommodations are your responsibility, not your parent’s.
If you want an insider’s look at what to expect when requesting accommodations, get our free guide!